Planning for your safety is a process of looking at your situation and assessing what you might need in place to help you and or your children feel safe. Leaving an abusive situation is the most dangerous time therefore planning your safety is essential to your families’ wellbeing.
Your safety plan must be relevant to your needs and be adapted if your situation changes. It needs to incorporate an escape plan as well as strategies to improve your home and personal safety and security.
Safety planning is not about focusing on living in fear; it’s about taking proactive steps to improve you and your children’s safety and you taking back control of your life.
- Drivers Licence
- Childrens Birth Certificates
- Own Birth Certificate
- Immigration papers
- Pension / Health Care Card FINANCIAL
- Purse / Wallet
- Money / Credit cards
- Eftpos cards LEGAL PAPERS
- Copy of VRO / Police orders
- Lease / Rental Agreement
- Car Registration
- Insurance papers
- Family Court Orders
- Legal Documents EXTRAS
- House / Car keys (hidden in garden)
- Mobile phone/ charger
- Change clothes / Nappies
- Any reassuring personal items (children’s teddies blanket comforter)
During a violent argument
Try to choose an area with an exit route (get into a room with a door or window that you can escape)
Stay away from the kitchen as the abuser may access weapons eg: knives
Ensure that children are safe. Get them to call the Police or go to a neighbour.
Take phone and go into a safe room in the house that has a lockable door where you can call for help, eg; bathroom, laundry, toilet or a room that you can escape through a window
Call 000 or 112 from your mobile for the Police or local Police number if you know it.
If possible grab your purse before you leave (do not put yourself in more danger to do this)
Once out of the home go to a safe place, Police Stn, Neighbours, Refuge, Hospital etc
When preparing to leave
- Pre program local Police phone number into your phone
- Have your hangbag, purse keys where they can be accessed quickly
- If your exit point door is locked, have keys hanging on the wall near the door
- Have a spare set of keys hidden outside for the car if required
- Have a recent photo of the perpetrator to give to the Police or Refuge etc
- Speak to the Police or Court Advocate to apply for a VRO
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, medications and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly from the home if you have to.
- Keep the Police, Refuge or DV helpline number close at hand and keep some change or a phone card on you at all times in case of an emergency
- Practise how to get out of your home safely with your Children
- Devise a code word to use with your Children, family and friends.
- Have a plan for where you will go if you have to leave the home
- Reverse your car into the driveway for easy access when leaving
- Review your safety plan as often as possible to make sure it works.
After the separation
- Change the locks on your doors if Perpetrator has a key
- Purchase additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows
- Use dowel to put in window runners
- Inform your children’s school, daycare etc, about who has permission to pick up your Children, and provide them with copy of VRO, Police orders or family court orders.
- Have the Police phone number on speed dial
- Inform your neighbours and landlord that your Partner no longer lives with you and that should call the Police if they see him near your home.
- Identify safe neighbours you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the Police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Check with the Dept for Housing & Works or your agent/Landlord for permission or assistance to secure your meter box.your local electricity supplier as they will need to read the meter can supply padlocks. (Padlocks can be purchased from Bunnings)
- Where possible padlock your letter box
- Ensure that your letter box has a number or your street number is visable if you need to call emergency services.
- Keep side gates and sheds padlocked.
- Trim shrubs and bushes away from entrances and remove garden tools, bricks, or items in the garden that could be used as weapons.
- Keep the garage door locked at all times, always park in a secured garage if possible.
Safety with a restraining order
- Keep a copy of your VRO or Police order on you at all times, eg: in your purse or bag. Give a copy to a trusted neighbour or family member.
- Call the Police immediately if the Perpetrator breaches the VRO or Police order.
- <p><strong>Checklist IDENTIFICATION<
- Keep a record or diary of all breaches of the VRO or suspicious behaviours such as phone hang ups or car drive bys etc.
- Keep all text messages that are breaches of the VRO or Police order
- Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the Police do not respond immediately
- Inform family, friends, neighbours, schools, workplace and health care provider that you have a VRO or Police order.
- Ask the Police that attend for an incident report number (IR) or get the name of the attending officer
- Advise Police if the Perpetrator has any firearms that have not been previously disclosed when applying for VRO.
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 the Perpetrator determine the safest way to do so.
- Decide who you can talk freely and openly to give you the support you need.
- If possible attend counselling to gain support from others and to learn more about your self and your relationship.
- Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs.
- Read books, articles and poems to help you feel stronger.
Safety in public and at work
- Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security. Provide a picture of your ex partner if possible.
- Arrange to have an answering machine, caller ID or a trusted friend or relative to screen your telephone calls if possible.
- Devise a safety plan for when you leave work, always park your car in well lit space if possible and have someone escort you to your car, bus, train and wait with you until you have left safely.
- Use various routes to go home if possible and change days you shop and shopping centres you use
- Devise a plan in case of something happening while you are travelling home ie: in your car or on the bus.
- If there is an emergency in a public place, find someone and ask them for help or to call the Police even a shop assistance, security guard or member of the public.
You may be eligible for financial assistance to assist in the cost of installing/ changing locks and other security devices through Womenzlink or Safe at Home program in your local area: Phone: 9535-4775