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The following steps represent my plan for increasing my safety and preparing in advance for the possibility for further violence. Although I do not have control over my partner’s violence, I do have a choice about how to respond to him/her and how to best get myself and my children to safety. STEP 1: Safety during a violent incident. Women cannot always avoid violent incidents. In order to increase safety, women may use a variety of strategies.
I can use some of the following strategies:
If I decide to leave, I will _______________________. (Practice how to get out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells, or fire escapes would you use?)
I can keep my purse and car keys ready and put them (location) ___________________ _________________ in order to leave quickly.
I can tell _____________________________ about the violence and request that she or he call the police if she or he hears suspicious noises coming from my house.
I can teach my children how to use the telephone to contact the police, the fire department, and 911.
I will use ______________________ as my code with my children or my friends so they can call for help.
If I have to leave my home, I will go to _____________________________. (Decide this even if you don’t think there will be a next time.)
I can also teach some of these strategies to some or all of my children.
When I expect we’re going to have an argument, I’ll try to move to a place that is low risk, such as ____________________________. (Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, near weapons, or in rooms without access to an outside door.)
I will use my judgment and intuition. If the situation is very serious, I can give my partner what he/she wants to calm him/her down. I have to protect myself until I/we
STEP 2: Safety when preparing to leave. Women frequently leave the residence they share with the perpetrator of violence. Leaving must be done with a careful plan in order to increase safety. Perpetuators often strike back when they believe that a woman is leaving a relationship.
I can use some or all of the following strategies:
I will leave money and an extra set of keys with _________________________ so I can leave quickly.
I will keep copies of important documents or keys at _____________________________.
I will open a savings account by ___________________, to increase my independence.
I will check with _________________________ and _________________________ to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.
I can leave extra clothes or money with __________________________
I will sit down and review my safety plan every _______________ in order to plan the safest way to leave the residence. ________________________ (domestic violence advocate or friend’s name) has agreed to help me review this plan.
I will rehearse my escape plan and, as appropriate, practice it with my children.
STEP 3: Safety in my own residence. There are many things that a woman can do to increase her safety in her own residence. It may be impossible to do everything at once, but safety measures can be added step by step.
Safety measures I can use:
I can change the locks on my doors and windows as soon as possible.
I can replace wooden doors with steel/metal doors.
I can install security systems including additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, an electronic system, etc.
I can purchase rope ladders to be used for escape from second floor windows.
I can install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers for each floor of my house/apartment.
I can install an outside lighting system that activates when a person is close to the house.
I will teach my children how to make a collect call to me and to _________________ (name of friend, etc.) in the event that my partner takes the children.
I will tell the people who take care of my children which people have permission to pick up my children and that my partner is not permitted to do so.
The people I will inform about pick-up permission include: _________________________________ (name of school
_________________________________ (name of babysitter) _________________________________ (name of teacher) _________________________________ (name of Sunday-school teacher) _________________________________ (name[s] of others)
I can inform ________________________ (neighbor) and ________________________ (friend) that my partner no longer resides with me and that they should call the police if he is observed near my residence.
STEP 4: Safety with an Order of Protection. Many perpetrators obey protection orders, but it is difficult to predict which perpetrator will abide by the order and which will breach an order:
The following are some steps that I can take to help the enforcement of my protection order:
I will keep my protection order _________________________ (location). Always keep it on or near your person. If you change purses, that’s the first thing that should go in the new purse.
I will inform my employer, my closest friend, and ___________________________ that I have a protection order in effect.
If my partner violates the protection order, I can call the police and report the violation, contact my lawyer, and/or call an advocate.
STEP 5: Safety on the job and in public. Each woman must decide if and when she will tell others that her partner has abused her and that she may be at continued risk. Friends, family, and co-workers can help to protect women. Each woman should carefully consider which people to invite to help secure her safety.
I might do any or all of the following:
I can inform my boss, the security supervisor, and _______________________ at work.
I can ask ____________________________________ to help me screen my telephone calls at work.
When leaving work, I can ________________________________________________________.
If I have a problem while driving home, I can _________________________________________.
If I use public transit, I can ________________________________________________________.
I will go to different grocery stores and shopping malls to conduct my business and shop at hours that are different from those I kept when residing with my battering partner.
I can use a different bank and go at hours that are different from those kept when residing with my battering partner.
STEP 6: Safety and drug or alcohol use. Many people use alcohol. Many use mood-altering drugs. Much of this is legal, although some is not. The legal outcomes of using illegal drugs can be very hard on women experiencing family and domestic violence, may hurt her relationship with her children, and can put her at a disadvantage in other legal actions with her violent partner.
I can enhance my safety by some or all of the following:
If I am going to use, I can do so in a safe place and with people who understand the risk of violence and are committed to my safety.
If my partner is using, I can ________________________________________________________ and/or ________________________________________________________________________.
To safeguard my children, I might __________________________________________________.
STEP 7: Safety and my emotional health. The experience of being physically and verbally abused by violent partners is exhausting and emotionally draining.
The process of building a new life takes much courage and incredible energy. To conserve my emotional energy and resources and to avoid hard emotional times, I can do some of the following:
If I feel down and am returning to a potentially abusive situation, I can ___________________________________________________________________________________________.
When I have to communicate with my partner in person or by telephone, I can ____________________________________________________________________________________________.
I will try to use “I can ... ” statements with myself and be assertive with others.
I can tell myself, “______________________________________________________________” whenever I feel others are trying to control or abuse me.
I can read __________________________________________________ to help me feel stronger.
I can call ____________________________ and ____________________________ for support.
I can attend workshops and support groups at the domestic violence program or _________________________________________ to gain support and strengthen relationships.
STEP 8: Items to take when leaving. When women leave violent partners, it is helpful to take certain items. Beyond this, women sometimes give an extra copy of papers and an extra set of clothing to a friend just in case they have to leave quickly.
If it is safe to do so, place these items in one location (in order to grab them quickly) When I leave, I should take:
*Identification for myself
*Social Security Card
*Checkbooks, ATM card
*Keys (house, car, office)
Driver’s license and registration
*My birth certificate
Court documents/restraining order
Medical records (for all family members)
Lease/rental agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book
Small sellable objects
Items of sentimental value
If I have kids, I should take:
*School and vaccination records
*Children’s birth certificates
Children’s favorite toys/blanket, etc.
What is important to you:
Items with asterisks (*) are the most important to take. If there is time, other items might be taken, or stored outside of the home.
Organizations I can call for help: Emergency: 911 Glenn County Sheriff: (530) 865-1111 Orland Police Station: (530) 865-1616 Willows Police Station: (530) 934-6431 Westside Domestic Violence Hotline: (530) 865-4899 National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233 People I can call for support: Family: ___________________________________________________ Friend(s): __________________________________________________
Preparations I can make as part of my action plan:
Pack a bag with clothing, toiletries, and medication for myself and my children – keep it in a safe place or with someone I can trust
Have extra money, keys, identification, and copies of important papers in a safe place in case I need them
Alert my neighbors to call 911 if they any suspicious sounds coming from my home.
Practice making an emergency escape (with children) and traveling to the location I have chosen as a safe place
Join a support group or talk with a counselor
Read about domestic violence and learn about my legal rights