Safety at Home
- Keep a telephone in a room that locks from the inside. If possible, purchase a cellular phone and keep it in a pocket or in an accessible hiding place. Pre-program 911 or the number of a safe friend or relative into the phone’s directory.
- Plan to take your children. They are probably terrified by the current or coming violence. They may be less frightened at getting up and being rushed away from a threatening person than finding out in the morning that you have disappeared without saying goodbye. Even if the abuser has never battered the children, you can’t be sure he won’t start now, especially when he discovers you have left the house.
- Plan how you will make your escape with your children. It is more complicated than making it alone, but good preparation can make things easier. If the events happen so fast that you have to leave without the children, arrange to go back for them as soon as possible with a police officer.
- Ensure the children’s physical safety. Let them know you have not abandoned them. You are also protecting your right to custody by getting them as soon as you can.
- Plan with your children. Talk with them periodically about the importance of safety. Make sure they know a safe place to go (a room with a lock, a neighbor’s house). Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you. Plan and practice an escape route out of the home. Teach the children not to let the batterer in the home. Prepare the children to respond to a batterer who comes to their school or childcare facilities.
- Keep a bag packed and hidden in a safe place at home (or locked in a car trunk with only one key), or with a safe relative or friend, in case of flight. The bag should include: money for phone calls, transportation, food, clothing, diapers, court documents, identification, birth certificates, school and medical records, necessary medicine, credit cards, checkbooks, bank books, telephone/address books, car/house keys. See “Checklist” for a complete list of items to take.
- Gather up the possessions that have special sentimental value, such as family photos, heirlooms, children’s drawings, and jewelry. Vengeful partners often destroy a woman’s property when she leaves. Also consider pets – abusers often turn on them.
- Make a plan so you know what you can do if the phone wires are cut or if you find yourself without electricity. Keep flashlights handy and batteries fresh. Know where the closest pay phone is located and how to get there by either walking or driving. Locate the closest all night store and other places you could go where there are people.
- If there are guns in the house have someone teach you how to safely unload them. Keep ammunition in a separate place, or if you anticipate coming violence get rid of it. Lock it in a file drawer or put it in some out of the way place. Unload any and all firearms.
- Try not to wear scarves, long necklaces, loose clothing, or jewelry. Clothes can be grabbed and anything around your neck can be used to strangle you.
- Keep a good supply of gas in the car and try to have it in working order at all times. Learn to drive if you do not know how.
- Develop the habit of backing your car in the driveway. Leave the driver’s door unlocked but be sure to lock the other doors. Make sure your abuser doesn’t block you in—in that case, park on the street and make up an excuse.
- Write a letter in your handwriting to someone you trust detailing what your abuser has done to you, his full name, when incidents occurred, and sign and mail it. It may be useful later as evidence.
For further information please contact the Residential Service Coordinator at
419-228-4357 or 877-228-4357