If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area that has access to an exit, and not in the bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.
Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell would be best.
Have a packed bag ready and keep it in an undisclosed, but accessible, place in order to leave quickly.
Identify a neighbor you can tell about the violence and ask that they call 9-1-1 if they hear a disturbance coming from your home. Devise a code word to use with your children, family, and neighbors when you need help.
Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home.
Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he wants to calm him down. You have the right to protect yourself.
Safety: When Preparing to Leave
Open a saving account in your own name to start to establish your independence.
Leave money, an extra set of copies of important documents, and extra clothes with someone you trust so that you may be able to leave quickly.
Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
Leave the shelter phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times.
Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave. Remember that leaving is the most dangerous time.
Safety: In Your Own Home
Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devises to secure your windows.
Discuss a safety plan with your children.
Inform your children's school, day care, etc. about who has permission to pick up your children.
Inform neighbors and the landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call 9-1-1 if they see him near your home.
Safety: With a Protective Order
Keep your protective order on you at all times. Keep a copy of the order at the house for babysitters, etc. should your children be involved.
Call law enforcement if your partner breaks the order.
Think of alternative ways to keep safe if law enforcement does not respond right away.
Inform family, friends, and neighbors that you have a protective order in effect.
Safety: On The Job and In Public
Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security.
Arrange to have someone screen your calls if possible.
Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your transportation. Use a variety of routes if possible. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home.
Your Safety and Emotional Health
If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so.
Plan to attend a women's or victim's support group for at least six to twelve weeks to gain support from others and to learn more about yourself and the relationship.
Domestic Violence outreach counseling is provided free of charge at Haven. (352) 787-5889