National Domestic Violence Helpline
0808 2000 247
Free phone 24/7
1 Plan Ahead
If you are thinking of getting away from a violent situation it could be very useful to plan ahead. This may enable you to gain quicker access to support services such as safe housing and welfare benefits.
The following checklist is a guide to some of the things you can do: Remember the most important thing is the safety of you and your children.
- Keep a note of useful numbers in a safe place; for example the nia project, your local police community safety unit, a close friend, local refuges and support services. You can find some useful contact details on our 'links' page.
- If possible get important documents such as passports, bank statements, birth/marriage certificates copied and see if you can leave them with a trusted family member, friend or even think of getting a safety deposit box in a bank. If you can take original documents all the better. Do this before you plane to leave.
- Take some cash with you, some change for emergency telephone calls or a train or bus fare. It may be useful to buy a phone card too.
- If possible leave a change of clothes, a set of spare house and car keys with a trusted friend or member of your family.
- Talk to someone you can trust about your plan. If you don't know anyone ring a support service. They may be able to help you think things through and will provide you with practical and emotional support.
- Situations change, you may not be sure of what you want to do. Seek help as many times as you need to and make sure you review your safety plan i.e. are the telephone numbers you have up to date?
2 Items to Checklist
It is useful to have important documents and other useful items with you when you leave...
- Birth Certificates
- Medical Cards
- Address Book
- Favourite toys of children
- Benefit Books/ signing-on details
- School info
- Drivers license
- Immigration papers
- Insurance Papers
- Housing Details
- Divorce papers
- Court injunction/Court undertaking etc
3 Escape Route
WARNING: Violence frequently gets worse when you try to leave OR start to show signs of independence, like enrolling in college OR filing for divorce. Your partner may become desperate. Take special care; ask yourself these questions. Are there weapons in the house? Where? Can you remove the weapons? The ammunition? Lock them up? Take them to the police?
How will you get out of the house?
- take out the rubbish
- take the dog out
- buy a newspaper
- offer to get him/her cigarettes or alcohol.
- Set up a routine where it is normal for you to leave the house for short periods of time.
4 Your Safety Plan
After the relationship is over, you still need to take care. Think about:
- changing the locks
- installing steel/metal doors
- installing a security system
- fitting smoke detectors
- getting an outside lighting system
- telling people who take care of your children the names of those who have permission to pick them up. If you have an injunction that names your children, give their carers and their schools a copy of the order discussing safety plans for your children with them. This is important, but especially so in times when they are not with you
- telling a couple of neighbours that your partner no longer lives with you and ask them to contact the police if s/he is observed near your home or your children
- telling someone at work about your situations and ask that person to screen your calls not using the same shops, banks or other businesses that you used when you lived with your partner
- getting an injunction from the court. Keep a copy with you all the time, ensure that one has been issued to the police, give one to your childrens carers, schools and to an appropriate person at work someone that you can call if you feel down and are thinking about returning to your partner
- attending workshops and support groups to gain support and strengthen your relationships with other people
Can I take my children with me when I leave? Yes, you should definitely take your children with you if at all possible. If you do not take them it may be more difficult later. Your partner may attempt to abduct, threaten, or harm the children to force you to return. If you are in immediate danger and cannot take your children contact the police and or social services department to ensure their safety
You may be able to obtain financial assistance to help you implement your safety plan. For example getting an injunction, installing a security system and fitting/changing locks. We may be able to assist you in obtaining these services. Please ring the Informal and Referral line and ask to speak to a case worker who can help you to access this help.