Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
If You Are In An Abusive Relationship...
...there are some things that you must do for yourself.
- MAKE A SAFETY PLAN. SHARE IT WITH OTHERS, ESPECIALLY YOUR CHILDREN.
- Believe that you don't deserve to be abuse. No one has the right to put you down or hurt you.
- Find a friend or relative who likes you and makes you feel good about yourself, and spend time with them whenever you can.
- Take care of yourself. Eat well, sleep well, find things you enjoy and can do well, and do them often.
- Improve yourself, through education, by reading, or by volunteering, to prepare for a day when you might have to take care of yourself alone.
Additional assistant with Safety Planning is available through the YWCA Domestic Assault Program.
For Your Children...
- SHARE YOUR SAFETY PLAN FOR YOUR CHILDREN. MAKE THEM SAFE AT SCHOOL AND DAYCARE.
- Take care of your children.
- Find some outlet for your anger other than your children.
- Don't cover for the abuser. If the abuser doesn't love them or spend time with them, don't tell the children how much he/she loves them. That will confuse them or make a liar out of you, or both.
- Encourage older children to make a good life for themselves outside of the home; find other couples as role models.
- Don't complain to the children about the abuser, and don't expect them to intervene; find someone else to unburden to, a close friend, a counselor or a relative.
- MAKE A SAFETY PLAN. USE IT. REVIEW IT. SHARE IT WITH FRIENDS AND CHILDREN.
- FOLLOW THE SAFETY PLAN!!!
- Pay careful attention to behavior signals that mean your mate may explode soon. Watch for them: don't ignore them, and don't forget what has happened in the past.
- Remember that your safety and the safety of your children counts above all else. Don't stay to pack records, clothes, and belongings unless you feel safe doing so.
REMEMBER: YOU CAN'T CHANGE THE ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR OF ANOTHER; ONLY THEY CAN DO THAT.
As long as you stay there and take it, that person has no incentive to stop. In fact, they are encouraged to continue if the violence is successful. Also remember that you may return to a shelter if things do not work out as you hoped. Returning is not a sign of failure, but instead a sign that a person needs safe time to rethink decisions.
- Develop a safety plan and talk to your children about it. Review the plan as often as possible.
- Change the locks and install devices to secure the windows.
- Tell your neighbors and landlord that your abuser no longer lives there and ask them to call the police if they see them near your home.
- Before you resume a potentially abusive relationship, discuss alternatives with someone you trust.
- Design a code word with friends to trigger them calling 911.
At School or Daycare
- Let the school or daycare provider know who is permitted and not permitted to pick up your child. Give them photos.
- Change the route taken to transport children to and from school or daycare.
- Consider changing schools or daycare provider.
- Provide your child with a list of important phone numbers to call in case of emergency. Have it laminated at the store so it won't get all crumbled at the bottom of their bag.
- Let teachers and daycare providers know to call police if the abuser comes near your children.
- Teach your child to call 911 and review safety plans with them routinely.
At Work and in Public
- If you have a Personal Protection Order, keep it with you at all times.
- Inform building security and coworkers you trust of the situation. If possible, provide a photo of your abuser to building security.
- Vary your routes to and from work and arrange for someone to escort you to your car, bus, or train.
- Park in a way so that your abuser cannot block you in.
- Have telephone calls screened or use voice mail.
- Document any harassing behavior, i.e. date, time, place, event, witnesses.
- Plan what to do in various situations if the abuser confronts you.
During the Assault
- If the argument seems unavoidable, move to a room or area with easy access to an exit/not a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.
- Identify which door, stairwell, or elevator offers the quickest way out of the home - and practice your route.
- Find neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance.
- Use the code word to use with your children, family, and friends when you need the police.
- Decide where you will go if you have to leave, even if you do not think it will come to that.
- You have a right to protect yourself if you are in danger. You do not deserve to be battered or threatened.
- Have a bag packed and ready.
Keep it in an undisclosed but accessible place where you can retrieve it easily. Here's what to
consider taking with you:
- Money, Checkbook, Passbook, Retirement CDs, Credit Cards
- ID - Driver's License, Social Security Card, Passport, Green Card, Public Assistance Papers
- Order of Protection
- Birth Certificates - Yours and Your Children's
- Lease, Rental Agreement, House Deed, Mortgage
- Insurance Papers and Medical Records - Yours and Your Children's
- Child's Vaccination Papers
- Keys to House, Car, Office
- Medications and Prescriptions (Medical and Optical)
- Jewelry/Saleable Objects
- Photos of Sentimental Value (Abuser may Destroy Them)
- Address Book
- Divorce Papers
- Abuse Logs
- School Records
- Toys and Child's Favorite Items (Blanket, Doll)
- Children's Schoolwork/Books
- Car Registration
- Payphone Change
ALWAYS CARRY A COPY OF YOUR PPO!!!
Should I Go to the Shelter?
Domestic Violence shelters can provide safe, short-term housing, information, and assistance in considering all the options available to victims. They can also help break down the isolation victims experience in abusive relationships and provide support from others who have been through similar experiences. Shelters provide a variety of supportive services which are confidential and free of charge:
- Confidential Crisis Hotlines
- Shelter for Victims and their Children
- Crisis Intervention
- Information and Referrals
- Legal Advocacy
- Housing Assistance
- Child Care
- Individual Counseling and Support Groups
- Assistance in Developing Safety Plans
- Assistance in Obtaining Protection Orders