Safety plan for staying
Some women decide that they are not yet ready to leave the relationship. They may want to give their partner another opportunity to change or just give the relationship ‘one more go’. Only you can decide what is best for you, but there are a number of things you can consider to enhance the safety of yourself and your children.
The ideas contained in this safety plan are only a guide to assist you. You need to trust your instincts. You know your partner better than anyone else. Only you can decide what will be the safest course of action for you and your children.
- Make a plan in case you need to leave suddenly.
- Talk to your local women’s domestic violence service. They can give you confidential information specific to your situation.
- Find out what emergency numbers you may need and keep these with you (eg police, doctors, lawyers, schools, friends, domestic violence services).
- If possible, get a mobile phone and keep this charged and with you at all times. Even if you do not have credit, you can call 000 or 112 at all times in an emergency.
- If you can, tell friends and family that you fear for your safety. If it is safe, tell your neighbours so they can watch out for you and call police if needed. You could set up a code word with your neighbours that tells them you are in trouble.
- Open your own bank account and try to save some money for emergency purposes. Make sure you send the statements to some else’s address.
- Leave an extra set of car and house keys with family or friends.
- Photocopy personal documents (such as birth certificates, marriage certificate, children’s records) and keep them with you or with someone else who is safe.
- See Computer Safety for ideas to enhance your safety when using computers.
Keep notes of violent incidents, including descriptions of the abuser’s actions, the date and where this happened. This may be useful later if you need to apply for an intervention order. You could also photograph any evidence of damage the abuser has done to you or your property. Keep any abusive emails, letters or notes. It is vital that you keep this evidence in a safe and secret place. For example, digital photos will remain in your camera unless you delete them. If you upload them onto your computer, your abuser may be able to find them. If you can upload them onto a friend’s computer, or have them developed and then delete them from your camera, this may be a safer option. You could then store your notes and evidence in a safe place, such as with a trusted friend or family member.