Develop a Safety Plan
Specialised help centres will help you to come up with the individual safety plan. These are organisations that provide help to women, victims of their partner violence (see SHC chapter). Once you contact them, the staff of the centre will provide you with the confidential support by phone and together with you will come up with the plan that most suits your situation.
Few steps that you could take to feel safer:
- Always have emergency phone numbers: general emergency number (112), specialised help centre number that is closest to you, the crisis centre number, the number of your social worker, the member of staff at the Children Rights Protection Service, family doctor, community elder, the administration of the school that your child is going to, your lawyer.
- Teach your children how to call the emergency number 112 and what they should tell (name, last name, address and phone number).
- Together with your children come up with a code word which means that you are in need for help and that they should contact the police. Teach your children to never call the police when the perpetrator sees or hears.
- If you trust the neighbours nearby, tell them about your situation. Tell them that upon hearing violence, they should call the police.
- If you feel the approaching fit of violence, go to the safest place at home with an exit. Avoid the kitchen or the garage where knives or other weapons are kept. Avoid going to small, closed premises, such as the bathroom, with no exit.
- Teach your children not to interfere into the outburst of violence even if they want to help.
- Be ready to leave in the case of emergency quickly and have the most essential belongings packed.
- Think through different options where to go and who could help you – to look after your belongings, lend you money.
- Think through how you could leave home in a safest way, for example, when taking out trash, taking your dog for a walk, going shopping, etc.
- Always have some money with you to buy a bus ticket or to pay for a taxi.
- Think through how you could take your children in a safe way. In some cases, your life or the life of your children might be in danger. Think who could help you to protect your children.
If you decided to leave
- Plan leaving very carefully. If the perpetrator realises that you are preparing to leave him/ her, the violence might intensify. The perpetrator most probably will not leave you in peace. The time just after you left might be the most dangerous.
- Plan leaving when the partner is not at home. Take everything what you or your children might need as there might be no second chance to come back.
- Take your children with you. If you do not do this now, it could be very difficult to get them back. Tell the teachers and the school administration about the situation you are in and inform about who could take children from school from now on.
- Save some money for moving out – each week put aside some cash or open a bank account that the perpetrator is not aware of.
Things to take when leaving
Once you plan to leave, pack your most essentials and that of your children, keep them in a safe place and within an easy reach. What should you take?
- House, car, work keys
- Your and your children personal documents
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s license
- Car insurance documents
- Debit, credit cards
- Bank card generator or your security code
- Personal insurance documents
- If the divorce is ongoing – documents related to divorce
- Notebooks/ address books
- Photos, jewellery and other belongings that are very important to you
- Hygiene items
- Toys, blankets, children clothes
How to protect yourself after ending violent relations
If you left abusive relations not so long ago, think whether you’d like to tell about it to other people – your family, relatives, children’s school administration and teachers, colleagues at work. This may make you feel safer as the people around you will be ready to offer help at critical times and they would know that they should not disclose any information to the perpetrator about you.
If you are staying in the same city, do not forget that you need to be very careful as the risk of violent attacks increases after you leave.
- Contact the police as regards your and your children’s protection. The police may issue a restraining order to the perpetrator banning him/ her to approach or contact you or your children.
- Think about acquiring an alarm system.
- Change your phone number or block the perpetrator’s number. If you suspect that the perpetrator might stalk you by using mobile applications on your phone from the times when he/she had access to it, make sure you disable or uninstall such applications and replace your phone.
- Block the perpetrator on the social media. Do not share your location, new address or contacts on the internet.
- Do not use debit or credit cards that are your joint property.
- Change your habits – go to other stores, sports clubs, cafes, bank subsidiaries and other points of service than the ones that you used to go previously.
- Try to change your routine as much as possible – if you, for example, meet your therapist each week, change the time of meeting and, if possible, the venue.
- Change the route and the means of transport you use to go to the places where you need to go, for example, work and your children’s school.
- Tell about it to your children’s teachers and school administration and warn them about the people who do not have the right to pick up the children from school, also ask not to disclose your new address and phone number.
- Think whether not to tell your employer and your colleagues – the perpetrator might want to contact them wishing to get information about you and trying to damage your reputation at work by telling false information.
- Talk to your children, explain why they should not disclose your new address and contact data.