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Staying Safe

SAFETY PLANNING

We understand that when you are living with abuse and/or violence from your partner, former partner, or another family member it is often difficult

to make decisions about what to do. It can sometimes take a long time. The following suggestions are designed to help you keep yourself as safe as

possible.

 

We also know that each individual situation is different, and you know your own situation the best. Do only what you feel will help you. Following

these suggestions won’t guarantee your safety, but it may help to improve it and help you to feel more in control.

 

IF YOU FEEL YOU ARE IN DANGER OR IN AN EMERGENCY ALWAYS CALL 999

Safety Planning if you are in an abusive relationship:

• Plan an escape route – think about how you can get out as quickly and safely as possible by planning an escape route from every room in your

home.

• Think about where you can go when leaving quickly so that you can call the police.

• Plan a place to meet with your children if you get separated.

• Develop a ‘code word’ or ‘sign’ so that family and friends know when to call for help.

• If possible and without letting your partner know, starting putting away some money in case you need to leave in a hurry.

• Plan where you would go in an emergency, such as to your neighbour or close friend, but always have an alternative.

• Keep a list of useful numbers and safe people to contact, in a safe place; for example, Staffordshire Women’s Aid, your local police, a close friend

or family member, and other support services.

• Pack an emergency bag so that it is ready if you need to leave in a hurry. This should ideally include; money, change of clothes, extra house/car

keys, copies or originals of passports, marriage/birth certificates, any legal documents (especially showing jointly owned property and details in

relation to immigration status), credit card and bank details, medication and any documents in relation to children. Keep them in a safe place such

as with a friend or relative or hidden somewhere.

• Don’t hesitate wherever possible to call 999 in the event of an emergency and you feel you or your children are in danger.

 

Safety planning if you’re planning to leave

A planned escape is the safest way to leave a relationship. You can do this with Staffordshire Women’s Aid or another local support

service if possible.

• Have an emergency bag packed, kept in a secret place, that is accessible so you can leave quickly.
• If possible, get important documents such as passports, bank statements, birth/marriage certificates copied and see if you can leave them

with a trusted family member, friend. Do this before you plan to leave.

• Where possible arrange a safe place (a refuge or a trusted friend/family member) for you and your children to stay.

• Plan the time for leaving carefully and allow enough time to get away safely. For example, plan to leave for when you know your partner is at work

or away from the home for a long time.

• If possible discuss matters with a solicitor prior to leaving in relation to child access or financial arrangements.

• Talk to someone you can trust about your plan, for example a trusted neighbour who can call the police if they hear a disturbance. If you do not

know anyone ring a support service they may be able to help, you think things through and will provide you with practical and emotional support.

• Only tell people you trust where you will be and what you are planning.

• If the last number you called was a refuge, taxi or the place you are going to stay, dial another number.

 

Safety planning if the relationship has ended

After you have ended the relationship with the abuser, the following may help you stay safe:

• If staying in the home, secure the premises e.g. changing locks, window locks, burglar alarm, and movement sensitive lights. You can get help

to do this from your LA housing team and or call our helpline.

• Getting an injunction from the court can increase your safety. Keep a copy with you at all times; ensure that one has been issued to the police.

• Tell people who take care of your children the names of those who have permission to pick them up. If you have an injunction that names your

children, give their carers and their schools a copy of the order discussing safety plans for your children with them. This is important, but especially

so in times when they are not with you.

• Tell trusted neighbours that your partner no longer lives with you and ask them to contact the police if s/he is observed near your home or your

children.

• Tell someone at work about your situation and ask for your calls to be screened.

• Change your telephone number.

• Where possible avoid using the same shops, banks or other businesses that you used when you lived with your partner and change the routes you

use to take your children to school.

• Access support services. Staffordshire Women’s Aid offers Power to Change which can help you feel less isolated and rebuild your self-esteem.

 

Staying safe online

• Block or change numbers (only when it is safe to do so)

• Turn off location services such as ‘find my iPhone’ on smart phones.

• Ensure that location services are also not activated on apps – for example facebook attaches a location to posts

• Delete and/or block your abusive partner on social media sites and don’t add anyone unknown.

• Ensure your social media sites are managed safely; for example changing your facebook settings so you can’t be found by using the search

function/setting up new accounts which you only give to safe friends or family.

• Cover cameras on tablets/computers/phones in case perpetrators are able to hack them.

• If you can’t afford a new device you can restore the device to factory settings. Going in store to your provider can help you with this to check it’s

done correctly.

• Get screenshots to keep a log of any threats occurring through social media where safe to do so.

• Delete any apps you don’t recognise.

• Routinely change passwords to emails and social media accounts

 

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