Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

Safety Planning Information for Victims

Be sure to contact your local Domestic Violence Program, where an advocate can help you personalize a safety plan that is tailored to your specific situation

Safety Planning Information

  • Think of where in your home you can go in case a fight starts (avoid areas with no escape, such as bathrooms, avoid areas with weapons, such as the kitchen)
  • Precautions (what are your abusers triggers- what makes he/she angry and abusive?)
  • List of safe people you can call
  • Keep money with you at all times
  • Memorize important telephone numbers, in case you need help
  • Establish a code word or sign so family, friends, teachers, or co-workers know when to call for help
  • Think about what you will say to your partner if he/she becomes violent
  • Make a survival kit that includes money, clothing, documents, phone numbers and extra sets of keys to your car, home, sentimental items, medications, etc.

Child Safety Plan

  • Talk to a trusted adult about what to do if grown-ups start arguing or fighting
  • Don't try to break up a fight between grown-ups- you could get hurt
  • Don't be afraid to call 911, if you need help, be sure to go to a safe place to use the phone (like a neighbor's house or apartment).

Leaving the Abuser

  • Documents to take
    • Documentation of past incidents of abuse such as photos, police reports, medical records, etc.
    • Social security cards
    • Birth certificates for you and your children
    • Marriage license
    • Leases or deeds in both your name or both you and your partner's names.
    • Your pet's license(s), proof of vaccinations, veterinarian receipts
    • Checkbook, charge cards, bank statement, charge account statement
    • Proof of income for you and your partner (pay stubs or W-2's)
    • Prescriptions
    • Insurance policy
  • Safe places to stay
  • Helpful numbers to have such as those for a friend, family member, safe shelter.

What to do After Leaving the Abuser

  • Screen calls
  • Change phone number (but keep your victim's advocate informed in case they need to contact you)
  • Save and document all contact abuser makes such as messages, phone calls, or injuries caused by abuser
  • Obtain a protection order, no contact order, or civil restraining order
    • Report each violation of this order to law enforcement and then your victim's advocate.
    • Keep a copy of this order on your person at all time, put a copy in your car and at your work place.
  • Avoid staying alone
  • Change the locks on your home, Victim's Compensation may be able to reimburse you for the cost
  • Change your routine
  • Notify school, work, neighbors, family, and childcare about the situation
  • Plan on how to get away if confronted by your abuser
  • Ask your Victim Witness Specialist or any victim advocate about the "Address Confidentiality Program".

When the Victim is Male

  • Remember, you are not the only man who is a victim of domestic violence
  • For stories of other abused men, ways to cope, and what to do: http://www.menweb.org/battered/gjdvstor.htm
  • Record all incidents of violence
  • Talk to your family and friends, make them aware of the situation
  • Call the Domestic Abuse Helpline (1-888-743-5754) or any local domestic violence agency

Protection Order

  • Reasons to obtain one:
    • Abuser cannot be in a certain range of you
    • Must leave a location (such as restaurant, grocery store, your place of employment, etc) if you are there, regardless of if he was there first
    • Abuser is not allowed to call or make contact
    • Abuser cannot contact you through a third party
  • If abuser violates no contact order, call the police and he/she can be arrested

What to do if you have Pets

  • If you leave, take your pet's license(s), proof of vaccinations, veterinarian receipts
  • Talk to neighbors or relatives to see if you can leave pets with them
  • Crossroads Safehouse has a program called Crosstrails that can provide emergency shelter for pets of victims staying a Crossroads Safehouse (970-482-3502)
  • Check into kennels for your pets if needed

Example Safety Plan

(A safety plan does not guarantee anyone's safety; the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when he/she decides to leave to abuser.)

  1. Where can I go in case a fight starts?
    • What is the safest room for me?
    • What is the safest room for my kids?
  2. Develop a safety word with your kids, inform other people of the safety word, in case you need assistance from others during a situation
  3. Decide on a safe place with your kids in case a fight occurs, so they can leave the situation and you will know where to find them. Tell them not to tell anyone where the safe place is.
  4. Create a survival kit, include money, including change in case you need to use a pay phone to call for help, all important documents such as medical and financial documents, any important toys that belong to your children and help them feel safe, extra sets of keys, medications, possibly extra clothes.
  5. Figure out where you can hide important documents in case you leave, such a safe deposit box at your bank or at a close friend or relatives house who can protect the items. You may even want to think about leaving a survival kit there.
  6. Determine which calls you will make if you leave, such as numbers for shelters.
  7. If you have a pet, decide if you will take the pet and where you can go if you do.
  8. Inform others of the situation.
  9. If you leave, determine if you want a protection order against abuser or if you want to press charges.
  10. If the abuser follows you in your car after leaving, determine where you will go, such as a police department or hospital. Do not drive to the location you were initially intending to go to.
  11. If you leave and have children, let the school or day care know about the situation and tell them who has permission to pick your child up from those places.

*For more ideas on a Safety Plan/Guide as well as a template, go to this website: http://www.aardvarc.org/dv/plan.shtml

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.