Making a safety plan

Making a safety plan

If you have fears for your safety and have decided to leave, it is important that you make a safety plan to help you and your children stay safe.

It is vitally important that you do not let your partner see your safety plan or suspect that you are making one. It is, however, a good idea to talk to someone you trust about the plan. Try to stick to your usual routine so you do not alert your partner to any changes.

There are many women — like you — who are living with or have lived with a violent or abusive person. It is common for many women and children who experience abuse to feel totally powerless. You are not alone.

Your Safety Plan

Before you leave

  • Advise relevant trusted friends, family members, colleagues, children’s schools, etc of your current situation and request their assistance in protecting your safety i.e transport, accommodation, or screening phone calls at workplace etc.
  • Plan where you would go if you felt unsafe and how you may get there.
  • Keep important emergency telephone numbers with you; your Social Worker, Legal Aid, accommodation, DV Connect, Domestic Violence Resource Service Mackay etc.
  • Teach your children to call 000 in an emergency and discuss what they would need to say (their full name, address and telephone number).
  • Assess if there is a neighbour that you could trust and you could go to in an emergency? Can you inform them of what’s going on and ask them to call the police if they hear unusual noises etc?
  • Rehearse an escape plan.
  • Pack an emergency bag for yourself and your children and hide it somewhere safe (i.e at a neighbour or friends house).

Things to pack in your emergency bag:

  • Some form of identification
  • Birth certificates for you and your children
  • Passports, visas, work permits
  • Money and bank cards
  • Keys for home, car, work- you could get an extra set of keys cut and leave them in your emergency bag
  • Centrelink cards
  • Medications
  • Copies of documents relating to your house — mortgage or lease details
  • Address/phone book
  • Irreplacable personal items; photos, your diary, jewellery
  • Non –perishable food
  • Clothing and toiletries for you and your children
  • Children’s small toys

Make preparations for after you leave

  • Try to keep a small amount of money on you at all times — including change for a phone and for bus fares.
  • If you can afford to, open your own private bank account and put emergency funds in it.
  • Keep your phone on you at all times and know where your nearest public phone is.
  • Obtain legal advice on separation and protection orders.
  • Make sure your address does not appear on any court papers — discuss with your solicitor if required.
  • Contact Centrelink to discuss crisis payment options.
  • Purchase new SIM card or a prepaid mobile and block the number from showing on outgoing calls.
  • Discuss housing options with the Department of Housing
  • Use the internet at a public library or the Womans Centre to avoid your abuser seeing your previous searches.

READ: How to stay safe online

Protecting yourself after you have left

  • Advise friends, family members, children’s schools, your employer and colleagues of your situation so they do not inadvertently give out any information to your abuser and can put safety mechanisms in around you and your children.
  • Try not to place yourself in a vulnerable position or isolate yourself.
  • Try to avoid any places such as shops etc that you used to go to when you were with your abuser.
  • Try to alter your routines as much as you can.
  • Reschedule any regular appointments you have that your abuser may know about or change the location of these.
  • Try to choose a safe route, alter the route you take or change your transport.
  • Try to avoid using joint bank accounts as your abuser may see transactions you have made and change any passwords that your abuser may know.
  • Make sure your address does not appear on any court papers — discuss with your solicitor if required.
  • Have mail sent to a PO Box rather than your new home address if you move.
  • Talk to your children about the need to keep your address and location private.
  • Keep a record of all incidents and record any evidence relating to your abuser (i.e. text messages and report to police).

Safety at home

  • Change the locks on all doors, have security chains on all entry doors.
  • Puts locks on all windows.
  • Install smoke detectors on each floor.
  • Install an outside sensor light.
  • Inform the neighbours that your abuser no longer lives there and ask them to tell you or call the police if they approach the house.
  • Change your telephone number and contact your phone company to make it a private number.
  • Use voicemail to screen calls.
  • Keep copies of all court orders, together with dates and times of previous incidents for reference if you need to call the police again.

REMEMBER: Leaving could be your most dangerous time – be cautious and have a safety plan!

The Domestic Violence Resource Service offers support and information to women, adolescents and children.

Phone 07 4953 1788 (Mon-Fri 8.30am-4.30pm) or email admin@domesticviolenceservice.com.au.