Suggestions for Safety Planning
Filing for Protection
- Obtain an Order for Protection
- If you have an Order for Protection, inform employer, neighbors, minister, friends, daycare, and family that you have one, and ask them to call 911 for you if they observe your abuser breaking the order.
- If you have an Order for Protection, keep a copy with you at all times.
- File a Classified Information Request with the Department of Transportation, so your abuser cannot track you through your driver’s license.
- Consider filing a Good Clause Claim with the county, so they won’t notify him of where you are living.
If you have remained in the common home
- Replace wooden doors with metal/steel doors.
- Purchase rope ladders to be used for escape from second floor windows.
- Install outside lighting system that lights up when a person is approaching the house.
- If there are guns in your home, take necessary precautions (e.g., make sure they are not loaded, dispose of ammunition, give guns to a trustworthy friend).
- Inform the school that you don’t want them to release your children to the abuser.
- Use the Visitation Center or have a third person pick up or drop off children for visitation.
- Discuss with your child(ren) only what you think they need to know about the situation and what is appropriate for their age.
- Develop a code word with your children so they know when they need to run or call for help.
- Teach children how to make emergency phone calls and have a list of numbers (shelter, friend, relative, 911, etc.) posted next to the phone, and a list in your purse.
- Change your phone number and request that it be unlisted.
- Install Caller ID on your phone so you can screen calls.
- Install an answering machine and let it answer all your calls – preferably the kind that has tapes that allow you to save the threatening messages you may get from the abuser.
- Purchase a cell phone to have with you at all times, or ask your advocate for a free cell phone that will dial 911.
- Keep keys and purse in the same handy place at all times so you can be ready to leave quickly.
- Hide a set of car keys outside of the house so that you have an extra set in the event the abuser takes your set away from you.
- Ask that co-workers screen your calls at work.
- Request that someone at work escort you to your car each day.
- Use different grocery stores, shopping malls, gas stations, banks as well as other places of business and utilize these at different hours than those when you resided with the abuser.
- Have a plan for transportation – day or night. If you leave suddenly, let someone you trust know your plans, and notify them when you arrive safely at your destination.
- Join a women’s group for support and information.
- Trust your intuition and do whatever you feel is necessary to protect yourself.
Suggested items to put in one handy location in case you need to leave quickly and seek shelter:
- Address book
- Bank account numbers
- Birth certificates (for you and your child[ren])
- Car ownership papers
- Credit cards
- Children’s favorite toys
- Divorce papers
- Driver’s license
- Green card
- House deed
- Insurance papers
- Items of special sentiment
- Keys – house, car, office
- Lease or rental agreement
- Marriage license
- Medical records
- Mortgage papers and payment book
- School and vaccination cards
- Social Security Card(s)
- Welfare identification
- Work permit