Safety planning is the most critical resource to help someone who is in a dangerous situation.
A safety plan is a plan of action designed to help keep you and your children as safe as possible when there is violence.
To be safe, plan ahead. A detailed safety plan is important to have in place before there is a violent situation and includes the following:
- Know The Laurel Center’s 24-hour hotline (540-667-6466) that offers problem-solving, information & referral, phone counseling and emergency shelter.
- Try not to let the batterer trap you in the kitchen (too many potential weapons) or the bathroom (no space to dodge blows and too many hard surfaces to be pushed or knocked against).
- Stay out of a room or area where there are known weapons such as guns. Do not attempt to threaten him with a weapon–it can easily be turned against you.
- Think through all possible escape routes–not only doors, but first floor or basement windows you might go through. If you feel an attack may be about to begin, make your exit before it starts. Try not to leave without your children.
- Think through now, before the attack, just where you will go. Will it be a safe place? If you have no safe friends or family, consider The Laurel Center. At the very least, go to a public place such as McDonald’s, the library, a hospital lobby or a shopping center. If he should follow you, go to the closest police or fire station–know where they are.
- Now, before the abusive incident, get an extra car key made and hide it in or on the car. You can purchase a magnetic key holder. Then, should you be able to leave the house during an attack, you will have the means to drive to safety. Hiding a little extra money in the glove compartment is a good idea.
- Pack an extra set of clothes for yourself and children. Include diapers, toilet articles, and a bit of spare change. Store these with a neighbor, a friend or at a church if you are not planning to leave immediately.
- Gather important documents you might need such as birth certificates and social security numbers, marriage license, medical insurance information, family and friends’ phone numbers, children’s school records, and other information that might be necessary.
- If you are able to escape the violent episode, he might not let you have access to the papers later, so try to take them with you. If possible, have important documents photocopied and keep copies in a safe place, perhaps with the extra clothes you stored.
- Treat financial records in the same way as important documents. Try to take your rent, mortgage, and utility receipts; checking and savings account information; paycheck stubs, credit cards; account numbers; and significant canceled checks. Keep an extra blank check with your extra clothes.