* If an argument is unavoidable, stay in an area where you have access to an exit.
* Practice getting out of your home safely.
* Keep a packed bag at your relatives’ or friends’ home.
* Tell trustworthy neighbors about the violence. Ask them to call the police if they hear or see any disturbance.
* Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and trustworthy neighbors when you need the police.
* Plan where you will go if you have to leave.
* Trust your instincts and judgment. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
II. Safety When Preparing to Leave
* Establish your independence. Open savings and credit card accounts in your name only.
* Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents, extra medicine and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
* Determine safe people you can stay with or borrow money from.
* Keep hotline phone numbers and change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls. Most crisis lines do accept collect calls and 911 is free.
* Review and rehearse your safety plan.
III. Safety in Your Own Home
* If possible, obtain a restraining order.
* Change the locks on your doors.
* Install locks on your windows. (Renters check with your landlord first.)
* Discuss and practice a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
* Inform your children’s caregiver who has permission to pick up your children.
* Inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and to call the police if they see him near your home.
IV. Safety with a Restraining Order
* Keep your protective order on you at all times, and give a copy to a trusted neighbor, friend or family member.
* Call the police if your partner violates the protective order.
* Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
* Inform family, friends, neighbors and health care providers that you have a restraining order in effect.
V. Safety on the Job and in Public
* Decide who at work you will inform of your situation, include building security.
* Provide a picture of your batterer.
* Screen your telephone calls.
* Devise a safety plan for leaving work.
* Have someone escort you when leaving and wait with you until you are safely en route.
* Use a variety of routes to go home.
* Rehearse what you would do if something happened while going home.
VI. Your Safety and Emotional Health
* If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss alternatives with someone you trust or call our crisis line at 503.469.8620 or toll free 1-866.469.8600.
* If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so.
* Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs. Read books, articles and poems that help you feel stronger.
* Decide who you can freely and openly talk to who can give the support you need.
* Attend a support group to gain support from others and to learn more about yourself and your relationships.
VII. Internet and Computer Safety
Remember that all computer and online activity may be monitored. Abusers may monitor your emails and internet activity. This may include more than just websites like ours; if you are planning to flee to a particular location, don’t look at classified ads for jobs and apartments, bus tickets, etc. for that place. It is safer to use a computer in a public library, at a trusted friend’s house, at an internet cafe, or any other public terminals.
Checklist: What You Should Take When You Leave
* Driver’s license
* Children’s birth certificates
* Social security card
* Welfare identification
* Money and/or credit cards
* Checkbooks and/or ATM cards
* Medical records for you and your children
* Work permits/green card!
* Restraining order/stalking order
* Lease, rental agreement, house deed
* Car registration
* Health and life insurance cards
* Divorce papers
* Custody papers
* House and car keys
* Address book
* Phone card
* Small toys for children