Safety Planning

Non-Emergency Preparation & Planning

 
  1. Make an extra set of car keys and hide them in an easy place to reach.

  2. Prepare clothing needs – clothing for self and children. Store in a suitcase in home and hide in a secure location. Or, store them at a trusted friend’s home. Try to avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members, or mutual friends.

  3. Prepare for financial needs (place in accessible location):

    1. Extra Cash

    2. Checks and Savings Books

    3. Other Valuables (i.e. jewelry, coins, etc.)

 

  1. Prepare for children’s needs (where children are involved):

    1. Take something meaningful for each child (blanket, pillow, etc.)

    2. Discuss what is happening if you must leave the home.

    3. Identify a safe place for children to go and plan with them.

 

  1. Prepare for possible legal action. Keep all documents in a safe place:

    • Financial Documents:

      • Pay Stubs: yours (if you are working) and spouse’s

      • Household Bills (including mortgage payments, utilities, etc.)

      • Stocks, bonds, and any other joint financial holdings

    • Identification (driver’s license, birth certificates, social security cards)

    • Copies of restraining orders, evidence of past abuse

    • Copies of medical and doctors’ records, police reports, evidence of physical abuse such as photographs

    • Names of any witness(es) to present or past incidents

    • Keep handy a record of critical phone numbers

Emergency Action Plan (when living with the abuser)

  1. Plan an escape route from home before it is needed.

  2. Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled.

  3. Make a list of situations in which violence may occur or escalate.

  4. Carefully explore the layout of your house and access to telephones.

  5. Develop and rehearse a plan for leaving the home if violence occurs.

  6. If violence occurs away from home, develop a plan for escaping the abuser.

  7. Notify trusted neighbors to be on alert to suspicious noises and to call the police.

  8. Develop a code word with children when you want them to call for help.

  9. Teach children how to use the phone to contact police.

    • Know safe places you can go to leave a dangerous situation.      

      • (AVOID KITCHENS, BATHROOMS, GARAGE OR ANY OTHER ROOM CONTAINING POSSIBLE WEAPONS. REMOVE POSSIBLE WEAPONS, SUCH AS KNIVES, FROM ANY EASY ACCESS.)

  10. Don't run to where children are, as your partner may hurt them as well.

  11. Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you or otherwise hurt you.

  12. Keep the number of DASACC in a safe place.

 

When a Violent Incident Occurs:

 
  1. Leave the home immediately.

  2. If leaving is not possible, move ASAP to a room of low risk.                     

    • TRY TO AVOID ROOMS OF HIGH RISK.

  3. Call 911 for the police.

  4. Have children scream to alert neighbors.

  5. If able to leave by car, LOCK CAR DOORS IMMEDIATELY.

Action Plan with a Restraining Order:

 

1. Keep a copy of the restraining order on or near you at all times.

2. Give copies of restraining orders to local police departments, children’s schools, trusted family and friends.

3. Inform as many neighbors, relatives, friends, and your co-workers as soon as possible that the restraining order is in effect.

4. If the abuser violates the restraining order: 

  • CONTACT THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY.

  • CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY/ADVOCATE AND ADVISE THE COURT.

5. If your abuser is charged with a crime:

  • STAY IN CONTACT WITH THE POLICE AND/OR VICTIM WITNESS COORDINATOR TO BE ADVISED IF THE ABUSER IS BEING RELEASED FROM JAIL.

  • Use the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) service to be notified automatically of the abuser’s release from jail.

6.When the final restraining order is in effect, CHANGE ALL LOCKS TO YOUR RESIDENCE.

Once You Leave

 
  1. Consider renting a post office box or using the address of a friend for your mail.

  2. Be careful to whom you give your new address and phone number.

  3. Change routines whenever possible:      

    • Work hours.

    • Routes you travel to work, children’s schools or any other place you frequent

  4. Change place of worship.

  5. Alert school authorities of situation.

  6. Consider changing your children’s school.

  7. Reschedule appointments of which the offender is aware.

  8. Use different stores and go to different social spots.

  9. Tell people at work to have phone calls screened.

  10. Tell people who take care of your children which people are allowed to pick up your children. Provide them with a copy of the restraining order.

  11. Request caller ID. Ask that your phone be blocked so that your new number does not appear on anyone’s display.

Safety Planning AFTER making a DCP&P report:

 
  1. Are you safe? Are the children safe?

    • Often, it is not the best or safest environment for the children to be interviewed with the abuser around:

  2. Would it be more safe to talk when the children are at school?

  3. Is there a safe time for the children to be interviewed at home?

    • If a DCP&P worker asks questions about (blank), will your danger elevate?

    • How will the abuser react to DCP&P involvement in the past, how has s/he reacted?

  4. Will the children’s danger elevate once the disclosure is made?

    • Once the call to the hotline is made, DCP&P will investigate.

  5. What if the caseworker appears at your house? Will danger increase?

  6. What can you do to stay safe when the caseworker arrives?

    • And when they leave?

  7. What is a safe phone number DCP&P can reach you at? Is it safe to leave a message?

  8. When is the safety time for a phone call and a home visit? 

    • It may be a good idea for caseworkers at DCP&P to know the client and abuser’s schedules so that if they are unable to get a hold of client before going to the home, they can try to schedule going to the home when s/he is away. 

If you or someone you know is being hurt, we can help.   Call our 24/7 helpline/hotline: 908.453.4181 or 888.988.4033

The Mission of the Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault Crisis Center is to help, serve, and advocate for those impacted by interpersonal violence, to be proactive regarding its prevention, and to create positive change.  DASACC is a registered 501(c)(3).

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