GENERAL SAFETY IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
The best way to stay safe when conflict occurs is to leave, but that is not always possible. You should prepare to protect yourself in the event of violence.
- If you have a disability that limits your mobility, consult with an advocate on how you will get help.
- Many abusers resort to stalking during their relationships and after the relationship has ended. Learn more about stalking and stalking victim safety here.
- Tell someone you trust about your situation. Develop a verbal or visual signal to alert them if you are in danger.
- Identify safe areas in your home that have no weapons and offer an easy escape. Move to these areas if conflict occurs.
- Know where weapons are stored and keep them locked up and as inaccessible as possible. Be aware of other seemingly harmless items that can be used as weapons.
- Create an escape plan in case you have to leave suddenly. Practice how to get out safely.
- Keep a phone close or on your person at all times.
- Keep your car keys close. Keep your gas tank full. Back your car into the driveway. Keep the driver door unlocked.
- If violence erupts, do not go to where your children are. They may become targets as well.
- If violence erupts and you cannot escape, run to a corner and curl up into a ball with your arms around your head. Teach your children to do the same.
- Teach your children what to do in the event of violence:
– Explain that they should never interfere in a violent event.
– Show them how to call 911 in the event of any emergency, including family violence.
– Establish a code word or signal with them that will alert them to leave the home and get help.
– Show them how to call you or 911 if your abuser takes them.
– Practice the escape plan with them.
- Create a safety plan for your pet.
- Keep a journal of the abuse. Take photos of any bruises or visible injuries. See a doctor when you are assaulted and ask them to document your injuries.
Read the information on preparing to leave, what to do after you leave, as well as safety in your new home or once the abuser has moved out.
We encourage victims to develop a safety plan with the assistance of a trained victim advocate. The safety measures on this site are not intended to be a guarantee of safety or a substitute for professional or legal counsel.
Your local coalition may have additional information on safety and protecting your identity. The following organizations can also help:
The National Domestic Violence Helpline 800-799-SAFE (7233)
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 866-331-9474
The National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE (4673)
ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)