Here are a few tips to consider in safety planning, though these should never be substituted for an individualized plan created with the help of a domestic violence professional.
This is general information and if you feel your safety is at risk, please call Sarah’s Inn’s 24-hour crisis line for support in safety planning at (708) 386-4225, send a message to our text line at 708-792-3120, or call the Illinois Domestic Violence Helpline at (877) 863-6338.
Move to a room with an exit and stay away from enclosed spaces or places with weapons, such as the kitchen.
Leave and go to a neighbor, friend or relative’s house.
Call 911 – the police are required to provide safe transportation for you and your children to a hospital or safe place.
Practice how to get out of the house safely – which doors, stairwells, fire escapes, etc. will you use?
Prepare an overnight bag and keep it in a readily accessible place with the following items for you and your children:
- Money, checkbook, bank cards and credit cards
- Driver’s license and registration, passports, social security cards, birth certificates
- Public Aid cards, green cards, work permits
- Orders of Protection, marriage licenses and/or divorce papers
- Medications, medical and vaccination records
- Lease, renal agreement and/or house deed
- Keys to house, car and work
- Insurance cards and paperwork, banking and financial records
- Address book
Make copies of important documents and keys, and leave with a trusted friend, family member and/or neighbor, in case you need to leave quickly and your bag is not accessible.
Decide on a “code” word/signal with children and friends to signal to them to call the police.
Tell a trusted neighbor about the abuse and ask him/her to call the police if they hear a suspicious activity or noises from your house.
Make a plan with your children and teach them safety strategies – Make sure they know their first priority is to keep themselves safe during a violent incident and not to physically or verbally protect you. Identify safe places in the house for them to go where they can call for help and/or exit to leave for help.
Keep any evidence of abuse, as this will support any legal action you decide to take – photographs of injuries and bruises, ripped clothing or damaged property, police documentation, threatening emails or voicemails, medical records, etc.
If you make the decision to leave, consider your safety and that of your family when making arrangements and consider the following:
- The safest time to leave and how you could get out safely
- Open a bank account and begin saving money, and establish a credit history independent of your partner
- Get a post office box and have personal mail sent there
- Consider obtaining an Order of Protection
- Bring your packed overnight bag to a trusted friend or family member’s house for safe access after you leave