What Is Abuse? > Safety Planning
It takes an average of 5 to 7 attempts to leave an abusive relationship. Consider safety planning while in or out of the relationship. Your safety and the safety of loved ones is essential. Safety planning is always recommended. HAWC advocates are available to support you through this process. Please call our 24 hour hotline at 1(800) 547-1649.
For increasing safety when you are in the relationship:
- Have important phone numbers available to yourself and your children. (i.e. police, hotline, friends, shelter)
- Be able to identify people you can tell about the abuse and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noise coming from your home.
- In case you need to leave your home, know places you can flee to.
- Designate a person or safe place where you may leave extra money, clothing, car keys and documents on the "Important Items to Take" checklist (below).
- Keep change for phone calls or have a cell phone with you at all times; open your own individual savings account; and rehearse an escape route and safety plan with a support person(s).
Increasing safety when the relationship is over:
- Change locks, install steel/metal doors, a security system, smoke detectors, and an outside lighting system.
- Inform others (i.e. neighbor, coworkers, school officials, family, friends, etc.) that your partner no longer lives with you and ask them to call the police if the abuser is observed near your home, workplace or children. Make sure your children’s caretakers are aware of those who have permission to pick up the children, and your coworkers should screen your calls.
- Avoid stores, banks, etc. that you went to when living with your abusive partner.
- Know how and where to obtain a restraining order. If you have an order, keep it with you at all times.
- If you begin to feel down and ready to return to a potentially abusive situation, identify people you can call for support or attend workshops and support groups to gain support and strengthen your relationships with other people.
Items to Take Checklist:
- Personal identification
- Birth certificates for self and children
- Social security cards
- School and medical records
- Money, bankbooks, credit cards
- Keys - house/car/office
- Driver's license and registration
- Change of clothing
- Welfare identification
- Passport(s), Green Card(s), work permits
- Divorce papers
- Lease/rental agreement, house deed
- Mortgage payment book, current unpaid bills
- Insurance papers
- Address book
- Pictures, jewelry, items of sentimental value
- Children's favorite toys and/or blankets
***Adapted from Domestic Violence: The Facts; Peace At Home, Inc., 2000