If you are facing abuse at home, it is essential to have a safety plan in place. This may seem like a daunting task, but there are many resources available to help you. About two-thirds of all domestic violence cases involve physical abuse. However, emotional and financial abuse are also common forms of abuse. It would be best if you took action to protect yourself and your children from further harm. In this blog post, we will outline some steps you can take to create a safe space for yourself and your family.
1. Know your resources.
The first step is to know who and what resources are available to you. This may include family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, religious or spiritual leaders, or local organizations. It is important to have a list of these people and organizations so you can reach out when you need help. Many domestic violence hotlines can help, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
If you have children, it is also essential to know their schools’ policies on domestic violence. Many schools have programs to help children who witness or experience abuse at home. They can also provide resources for you as a parent.
2. Create a support network.
Once you know your resources, creating a support network is next. This network should be made up of people who you trust and who will be able to provide emotional and/or practical support. These people should be aware of your situation and be able to offer help when needed. Many survivors find it helpful to have a “code word” that they can use to signal to their support network that they are in danger.
Include legal support in your network. An experienced divorce attorney or victim’s advocate can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights. They can also help you file for a restraining order and represent you in court. Ask your local domestic violence organization for referrals.
3. Identify safe places.
It is essential to identify safe places inside and outside your home. This may include a friend’s house, a relative’s house, or a local shelter. It is important to have these places identified so you can go there if you need to leave your home quickly. Some survivors also choose to install a security system in their homes or carry a personal alarm with them.
Depending on your situation, you may also want to consider changing your phone number and creating a new email address. You may want to do this if you are concerned that your abuser will try to contact you. Some survivors also choose to file for a restraining order. This can provide legal protection and make it easier to get help from law enforcement if needed.
4. Have a safety plan.
Once you have identified your resources and created a support network, developing a safety plan is next. This plan should include what to do if there is an incident of abuse, how to get help from your support network, and where to go if you need to leave your home quickly. You should tailor the safety plan to your specific situation and needs. Some survivors keep a bag packed with essential items so they can leave quickly if necessary.
You should also plan what to do if your abuser violates the restraining order. This may include going to a safe place, calling the police, and/or contacting your attorney. If you have children, you should also have a plan for their safety. This may include arranging for them to stay with a relative or friend if you need to leave quickly.
5. Practice the safety plan.
After creating the safety plan, it is important to practice it with your family or support network. This will help ensure that everyone knows what to do in an emergency situation. You can also use this time to identify any potential problems with the plan and make any necessary changes. If possible, you should create a backup plan in case the first one does not work.
When practicing the safety plan, it is essential to remember that abuse is often unpredictable. The abuser may become violent without warning and for any apparent reason. For this reason, it is crucial to be prepared for anything and always err on caution. It would be best if you also remembered that the safety plan is not foolproof and that there is always a risk of violence. So, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and have a plan to get help if needed. If you are ever in immediate danger, call 911.
If you are facing abuse at home, there are many steps you can take to keep yourself and your family safe. By knowing your resources, creating a support network, identifying safe places, and having a safety plan, you can ensure that help is always available when needed most.