Safety PlanningDomestic Violence
Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Keep the car fueled up and facing the driveway exit, with the driver’s door unlocked. Hide a spare car key where you can get it quickly. Have emergency cash, clothing, and important phone numbers and documents stashed in a safe place (at a friend’s house, for example).
Practice escaping quickly and safely. Rehearse your escape plan so you know exactly what to do if under attack from your abuser. If you have children, have them practice the escape plan also.
Make and memorize a list of emergency contacts. Ask several trusted individuals if you can contact them if you need a ride, a place to stay, or help contacting the police. Memorize the numbers of your emergency contacts, local crisis accommodation services, and domestic violence hotlines.
Safety during an abusive incident
- If an incident seems unavoidable try to get to a room with an exit
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, stairs, elevators or windows could be used in the event of an emergency
- Identify a neighbour can you tell about the abuse and ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Teach your children to call 000 in an emergency
- If the situation makes you feel scared and unsafe use your own instincts and judgement to keep you and your children safe from harm
- Call police as soon as it is safe to do so
Safety at Work
- Decide who at your workplace you can tell about your current situation. This could be your supervisor/manager’
- Devise a safety plan for arriving and leaving work
- Use a variety of routes to get home or have someone escort you to a bus or train
Safety when Preparing to Leave
Leaving may be your most vulnerable time – Be prepared and have a safety plan.
- Determine where you will go for safety. Maybe you can stay with family, friends or a crisis accommodation service
- Always try to take children with you
- Leave spare money, spare keys, copies of important documents (especially Identification), medication and clothes with someone you trust
- Find out what community agencies who can support you and keep their telephone numbers in a safe place
- Review your Safety Plan with a Domestic Violence worker, police, counsellor or someone you trust
- Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them (if age appropriate)
- Inform your children’s school, day care etc who has permission to collect the children
- Review your Safety Plan as often as possible in order to leave in the safest way possible
- Review your banking details, joint accounts, personal business details (such as Medicare & Centrelink) and postal details to ensure that your information is private and cannot be accessed by anyone but you.
- Consider changing your phone number and be selective on who you give the new number to.
- Ensure privacy settings such as “LOCATION SERVICES” are disabled on your smartphones/tablets/social media
- Only take what you can safely take. Remember some items can be replaced so only take what’s important. Your safety is more important than belongings.
Safety with a Protection Order (Apprehended Violence Order)
- Keep a copy of your AVO with you at all times and also store a copy in a safe place or with someone you trust
- Call police if your partner or ex-partner breach the AVO
- Police are required to investigate all reported incidents of DV and arrest if there is a breach of an order.
- If your circumstances change and your AVO becomes less effective you may return to the court and apply for a variation of the order
- It can be helpful if you have some form of evidence to give the police or court such as a witness statement, medical report, photographs, text messages etc
- You can also give a copy of your AVO to your children’s school or child care provider and also your employer.
Checklist – What to take when you leave
- Driver’s license or photo ID
- Children’s birth certificates
- Your birth certificate
- Centrelink cards/Medicare Card
- Bank account details
- Credit Cards
- Any court papers relating to your family situation
- Protection orders/ Family Law papers
- Marriage certificate
- Lease/rental contracts
- Mortgage and property deeds
- Medical records
- School records
- Car registration papers
- Insurance policies
- Divorce papers
- House and car keys
- Children’s toys
- Clothing for yourself and children
- Personal items which may be destroyed
- Current unpaid bills in your name