making a safety plan
while many of us suffer abuse at the hands of partners who do not live with us - and this is valid and just as serious - there are women for whom a safety plan becomes necessary. this is a way of helping you to protect yourself and your kids. it’s a way to plan for the inevitability of future violence, and to provide you with an escape route if the situation gets to the point where you are no longer safe in your home.
it should never be your responsible to stop the violence. this is not on you. it isn’t fair that you should have to consider these options, especially in order to keep your children safe. but nevertheless, it is useful to have a plan for when things escalate.
women’s aid offers some information on creating safety plans. i have adapted that info to provide this following list of things to consider.
- plan different scenarios. these don’t have to be for specific events, but just generally - what do you do if the situation is mildly dangerous compared to what do you do if the situation becomes a crisis which requires immediate escape.
- keep a note of important/emergency phone numbers - for example your local police authority’s domestic violence unit, if there is one; your GP; your social worker if you have one; your children’s school; your lawyer; the 24hr national domestic violence helpline (0808 2000 247); emergency contact numbers of people you can trust
- are there people you can confide in, in order to turn to them in an emergency situation? someone close by is even better - for example a neighbour. you can also let them know to call the police if they overhear serious violence
- if you can’t find someone nearby, plan a way of getting you & your kids away safely - are you well-acquainted with the local public transport? do you have a car that you can access - and will the keys be in your possession if your partner gets violent? do you have a taxi number saved to your phone?
- teach your children to call 999 in an emergency - and what they should say to the operator, for example their full name, address, phone number
- keep an emergency bag packed and hidden in a safe place - a neighbour/friend’s house etc
- keep a small amount of money on you at all times, including change for a payphone/bus etc
- keep your mobile phone on you at all times if possible, otherwise know where the nearest phone you can use is - neighbour’s house? payphone?
- women’s aid suggests that if you suspect your partner is about to attack you, you should aim to go to a lower-risk area of the house - for example somewhere that you won’t be trapped (bathroom or a room with cupboards/wardrobe), avoid rooms like the garage/kitchen where there are potential weapons, and try your best to be near a way out
- be prepared to leave in an emergency
in an emergency, always call 999.