Making a safety plan
Having a personal safety plan is a way of thinking through some ways to protect yourself and your children. Doing this in advance of a crisis situation can really help a lot. It can also be a big help to think through how you might be able to increase your safety within the relationship, as well as if you decide to leave. If you are in an abusive relationship, remember that reading or researching online can also present risks – for more on web safety, go here
You can’t control your (ex)partner’s violence
But there are things you can do to increase your own safety as well as your children’s safety. You are undoubtedly already doing many things to protect yourself and your children. Often women develop safety practices without even realizing that this is why they do what they do.
Here are some ideas to help you think about safety:
- Plan in advance how you might respond in different situations, including crisis situations.
- Be prepared to leave your place quickly.
- Practice leaving quickly with your children. Think of it as a fire drill.
- Keep a small amount of money on you at all times for things like bus fare or phone calls.
- Know where phones are, and if you have a mobile phone, try to keep it charged.
- Have an emergency bag packed for you and your children at a safe place, like a neighbour’s house or someplace you can trust.
- Keep with you any important and emergency telephone numbers. Here are a few ideas: Elizabeth Fry emergency numbers, police, doctor, social worker, children’s schoo, lawyer.
- Show your kids how to use the phone and how to dial an emergency number. You might want to practice with them how to give important info over the phone like their full name and address or phone number.
- Think of neighbours you could trust or places you could go in a crisis. Talk to these people in advance.
- Ask neighbhours that you can trust to listen and pay attention to your household and ask them to call the police if they hear sounds of violence.
- Try to think about escape routes in your home and the various risks inherent in different rooms. For example, some rooms, like kitchens, often have knives and other possible weapons in them, and some rooms have multiple exits where as some rooms might present the risk of getting locked in, etc.
- Remember that you are not to blame for the abuse.
- Learn as much as you can about violence against women and abusive relationships.
- Join a support group