15

Escape Plan

Did you start thinking how you can plan your safety and happiness? Nothing will change if you are waiting for your abusive partner to change and you are trying to please him more. Get informed on what services are available for people experiencing domestic violence. When it is safe and your abusive partner is not present call the helpline 1440. Talk about all that has been going on, learn your rights and explore the available options to protect yourself.

  1. Identify your partner’s use and level of force so that you can assess the risk of physical danger to you and your children before it occurs.
  2. Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.
  3. Don’t run to where the children are, as your partner may hurt them as well.
  4. If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target. Dive into a corner and curl up into a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.
  5. If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help. If your life is in danger, call the police.
  6. Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.
  7. Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.
  8. Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.
  9. Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.
  10. Plan for what you will do if your children tells your partner of your plan or if your partner otherwise finds out about your plan.
  11. Keep weapons like guns and knives locked away and as inaccessible as possible.
  12. Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled.
  13. Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you.
  14. Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night.

 

Safety planning with Children

If you are in an abusive relationship, a safety plan should include ways that your children can stay safe when violence is happening in your home. It’s key to remember that if the violence is escalating, you should avoid running to the children because your partner may hurt them as well

Teach your children when and how to call 199 or 112.

Instruct them to leave the home if possible when things begin to escalate, and where they can go.

Come up with a code word that you can say when they need to leave the home in case of an emergency — make sure that they know not to tell others what the secret word means.

In the house:

Identify a room they can go to when they’re afraid and something they can think about when they’re scared.

Instruct them to stay out of the kitchen, bathroom and other areas where there are items that could be used as weapons.

Teach them that although they want to protect their parent, they should never intervene.

Help them make a list of people that they are comfortable talking with and expressing themselves to.

Enroll them in a counseling program. Contact your Municipality for information and the Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family.

Planning for Unsupervised Visits

If you have separated from an abusive partner and are concerned for your children’s safety when they visit your ex, developing a safety plan for while they are visiting can be beneficial.

Brainstorm with your children (if they are old enough) to come up with ways that they can stay safe using the same model as you would for your own home. Have them identify where they can get to a phone, how they can leave the house, and who they can go to.

If it’s safe to do, send a mobile phone with the children to be used in emergency situations — this can be used to call 199, a neighbor or you if they need aid.

Planning for Safe Custody Exchanges

Bring a friend or relative with you to the exchanges.

Emotional safety plan as well – figure out something to do before the exchange to calm any nerves you’re feeling, and something after to focus on yourself or the kids, such as going to a park or doing a fun activity.

Let your child know that what’s happening is not their fault and that they didn’t cause it.

Let them know how much you love them and that you support them no matter what.

Tell them that you want to protect them and that you want everyone to be safe, so you have to come up with a plan to use in case of emergencies.

It’s important to remember that when you’re safety planning with a child, they might tell this information to the abusive partner, which could make the situation more dangerous (ex. “Mom said to do this if you get angry.”) When talking about these plans with your child, use phrases such as “We’re practicing what to do in an emergency,” instead of “We’re planning what you can do when dad/mom becomes violent.”

Pregnancy is a time of change. Pregnancy can be full of excitement but also comes with an added need for support. It’s natural to need emotional support from a partner, as well as perhaps financial assistance, help to prepare for the baby and more.

If your partner is emotionally or physically abusive toward you, it can make these months of transition especially difficult. Pregnancy can be an especially dangerous time for women in abusive relationships, and abuse can often begin or escalate during the pregnancy.

How can you get help

If you’re pregnant, there is always a heightened risk during violent situations.

If you’re in a home with stairs, try to stay on the first floor. Getting into the fetal position around your stomach if you’re being attacked is another tactic that can be instrumental in staying safe.

Doctor’s visits can be an opportunity to discuss what is going on in your relationship.

If your partner goes to these appointments with you, try to find a moment when they’re out of the room to ask your care provider (or even the front desk receptionist) about coming up with an excuse to talk to them one-on-one.

For more information you can look at the category ‘Programs’ of our website.

Preparation, before you leave:

Because violence could escalate when someone tries to leave, here are some things to keep in mind before you leave:

  1. Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures of injuries.
  2. Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made, if possible. Keep your journal in a safe place.
  3. Know where you can go to get help. Tell someone what is happening to you.
  4. If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
  5. Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them, like a room with a lock or a friend’s house where they can go for help. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
  6. Acquire job skills or take courses at a college as you can.
  7. Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.

When you leave:

Make a plan for how and where you will escape quickly. Before you leave make sure you have the following:

When you leave the house it is necessary to go to the nearest police station of your area and report that you are leaving your house with your children because of domestic violence.

Identification

  •  Birth certificate and children’s birth certificates.
  •  Money and/or credit cards (in your name).
  •  Social security cards.
  •  Driver’s license.

 

Legal Papers

  • Protective order.
  • Work permits /visa.
  • Passport.
  • Marriage license.
  • Divorce and custody papers.
  • School records.
  • Health and life insurance papers.

 

Emergency Numbers

  • Your local police station.
  • Friends, relatives and family members.
  • Your local doctor’s office and hospital.
  • Your local domestic violence shelter.

 

Other

  • Medications.
  • Mobile phone.
  • Clothes for you and your children.
  • Emergency money.

 

After you leave:

  • Change your locks and phone number.
  • Change the route taken to transport children to school or consider changing your children’s schools.
  • Alert school authorities of the situation.
  • If you have a restraining order, keep a certified copy of it with you at all times.

For more information, visit the section SERVICES of our website.

The above text is taken from the website http://www.thehotline.org/help/

@Copyright – The National Domestic Violence Hotline

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