Domestic Violence Safety Plan:
Keeping Yourself and Your Children Safe
The following suggestions are provided to assist you in considering alternatives to keep yourself and your children safe.
- Try to be in a place that has an exit and not a bathroom, kitchen or room that might have weapons.
- Know ways to leave your home safely such as doors, windows, elevators and stairwells.
- Try to find a neighbor that you can tell about the violence. Ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Develop a code to relay to children, family, friends, or neighbors when you need someone to call the police.
- Think ahead about where you will go if you ever have to leave your home.
- Always use your instincts and judgment in a dangerous situation.
- Try to keep the abuser calm until you are able to reach a safe place.
Preparing to Leave
The following is information about what you can choose to do if you want to prepare to leave.
- Open a checking account or savings account in your own name.
- IF IT IS SAFE FOR YOU TO DO SO – leave money, keys, copies of important documents, extra clothes, medicines, and phone numbers in a safe place or with someone that you trust. Do not do this if you think the abuser might find the belongings and retaliate against you.
- Have your own Post Office Box.
- Find a safe place for you and your children to go.
- Contact a friend that you feel comfortable borrowing money from if you have to.
- Keep the shelter phone number, change for making a call, or a phone card on you for emergency phone calls.
- Arrange for family pets to be cared for in a safe place.
Always remember that leaving your batterer is the most dangerous time for you and your children.
Obtaining a Protective Order
- If you or your children have been threatened or assaulted, you can request a protective order from the County Attorney’s Office.
- Always keep a copy of your protective order with you.
- Call the police if your partner violates the protective order.
- Inform family members, friends, and neighbors that you have a protective order in effect.
- Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond immediately.
If you stay in your own residence:
- Lock your windows and change the locks on your doors.
- Teach your children a safety plan for when you are not with them.
- Confirm with your school and daycare about who has permission to pick up your children
- Never call the abuser from your home. They will know where you live and that you are at home currently. Never tell anyone that might tell the abuser where you are living.
- Request an unlisted number from the telephone company.
At work or in public:
- Decide who at work you will trust to inform of your situation. Consider the office building security if possible. Provide this person with a picture of your batterer.
- If possible, have someone at work screen your telephone calls.
- Have someone escort you to and from your car or bus.
- Use several different routes when coming and going from your home. It reduces the chance of someone learning your routine.
What To Take With You
The following suggestions are for items that you might want to take with you if it is safe to do so. *Remember – ALL of these items CAN be replaced, YOU cannot be!*
Children’s birth certificates
Social security cards
Credit cards in your name. Remember that credit cards can be traced.
Checking or savings account books
Lease, rental agreement, house deed
Car registration and insurance
Health and life insurance papers
Medical records for you and your children
Work permits, green cards, visa
Divorce or custody papers
House and car keys
Pictures and sentimental items
Change of clothes for you and your children
Warning Signs and Red Flags
from The National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Telling you that you can never do anything right
- Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members
- Embarrassing or shaming you with put-downs
- Controlling every penny spent in the household
- Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
- Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
- Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Preventing you from making your own decisions
- Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
- Preventing you from working or attending school
- Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
Signs of Child Abuse
from Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas
- Unexplained injuries
- Changes in emotional behavior
- Returning to less mature/younger behaviors
- Fear of going home
- Changes in eating
- Changes to sleep patterns
- Changes in school performance or attendance
- Lack of personal care in hygiene
- Risk-taking behaviors
- Inappropriate sexual behaviors