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Being prepared may mean the difference between life and death.
If You Are Still In An Abusive Situation
- Leave before the abuse gets worse
- Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and where there are always ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.
- Know where the nearest pay phone is located. Know your local battered women's shelter number. Don't be afraid to call the police.
- Let family, friends, or neighbors you trust know about your situation. Arrange a signal so they'll know when you need emergency help.
- Be sure your children know they should never get involved when you are being threatened or harmed by your partner. Teach them to get away from the abusive situation and find help.
- Keep an extra set of keys to house and car, emergency telephone numbers, important papers (birth certificates, income verification, social security numbers, , medication for you and/or your children, child's favorite toy, etc., extra clothes packed in trash bag (not obvious)
- If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
- Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures, etc.
- Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made if possible.
- Contact your local battered women's shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis.
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Plan Ahead for Leaving
If possible, collect all the following things to bring with you when leaving your home, whether going to friends, relatives, hotel, or shelter. You should take these items even if you are sure that you are not ready to make a permanent break with your abuser.
- Money, savings and checking books, securities
- Credit cards
- Marriage license; birth certificate for self and children; immigration papers
- Insurance cards and papers
- Social security numbers for self, children, and spouse.
- House deed or lease
- Medication and prescriptions
- I.D. cards; driver's license
- Important phone numbers
- Essential clothing
- Favorite toy for each child
- Picture of abuser
- Car title and registration
- Account numbers
- Rent, mortgage, and utilities receipts
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After You Are Free of the Abusive Relationship
- Change locks, install deadbolts.
- Enroll in self-protection class.
- Don't allow child to answer telephone or door.
- Call 911 when your abuser is on the premises. Do not talk to him.
- Discuss your situation with a friend or family member. Do not live in isolation.
- Use an answering machine or Caller I.D. to screen incoming calls.
- Avoid being alone in isolated locations.
- Change your routine -- work hours, route to work or school, usual shopping places, etc.
- Inform friends, neighbors, family, and employers that you have a restraining order in effect.
- Alert school/day care/sitters that police should be called when there is a problem.
- Install motion-sensitive lighting around your residence.
- Ask police to drive by house frequently.
- See this website ~ New Numbers For Domestic Violence Victims ~ for information about getting a new social security number.