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Safety Planning

Safety During an Explosive Incident

  • 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 obvious weapons. Try to be in an area where others can hear you.
  • Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell would be best.
  • Have bags already packed. Keep them 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 the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
  • Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need the police.
  • Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you don’t think you will need to).

When Preparing to Leave

  • Open a savings account in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
  • Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes for you and your children with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
  • Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you money.
  • Keep shelter and helpline phone numbers close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.

When You Leave Take With You:

  • Identification
  • Driver’s license
  • Birth certificates
  • Money
  • Lease, rental agreement, deeds
  • Bank records and checkbook
  • Insurance papers
  • House and car keys
  • Medications
  • Medical records for all family members
  • Address book
  • Social security cards
  • DSHS information, medical coupons
  • School records
  • Work permits
  • Green card
  • Passport
  • Immigration paperwork
  • Divorce papers
  • Pictures
  • Jewelry
  • Children’s small toys
  • Military Identification

Your safety and the safety of your children are the first priority. Even if you can’t find everything on the checklist, don’t let it interfere with your safety.

In Your Own Home

  • Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. The YWCA Hotline can provide assistance to do this. You can contact the hotline at (253) 383-2593. Buy additional locks and safety devises to secure your windows. Make sure all smoke detectors are working.
  • Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
  • Inform your children’s school, daycare, etc. about who has permission to pick up your children.
  • Inform neighbors and your landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see him/her near your home.

Getting a Protection Order

  • Get an Order for Protection .
  • Keep your Order with you at all times.
  • Call the police if your partner breaks the Order.
  • Think of alternate ways to keep safe if the police are unable to respond right away.
  • Inform your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and employer that you have a Order for Protection.

At Work

  • Decide who at work you will inform of your situation; this should include office or building security. Provide a picture of your batterer and a description of their vehicle, if possible.
  • Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls when possible.
  • Use caution when choosing a place to park your car, use parking lots that provide good lighting and security. Cars are easy targets for vandalism.
  • Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your car or public transportation. Use a variety of routes to go home by 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 (public place or with a trusted witness).
  • Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs.
  • Read books, articles and poems that make you feel stronger.
  • Decide whom you can talk with freely and openly to give you the support you need.

Plan to attend a women’s or victim’s support group for at least two weeks to gain support from others and learn more about you and the relationship.

For more information on safety planning and other resources, please contact the YWCA or call the YWCA 24-Hour Hotline: (253) 383-2593.