Safety Tips For You And Your Family

IF YOU ARE IN DANGER, CALL 911 or your local police emergency number.

To find out about help in your area, call:

National Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-800-799-SAFE
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
or visit www.dvtf.org

IN AN EMERGENCY

If you are at home & you are being threatened or attacked:
Stay away from the kitchen (the abuser can find weapons, like knives, there)
Stay away from bathrooms, closets or small spaces where the abuser can trap you
Get to a room with a door or window to escape
Get to a room with a phone to call for help; lock the abuser outside if you can
Call 911 (or your local emergency number) right away for help; get the dispatcher’s name
Think about a neighbor or friend you can run to for help
If a police officer comes, tell him/her what happened; get his/her name & badge number Get medical help if you are hurt  
Take pictures of bruises or injuries  
Call a domestic violence program or shelter (some are listed here); ask them to help you make a safety plan

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AT HOME    

Learn where to get help; memorize emergency phone numbers  
Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside; if you can, get a cellular phone that you keep with you at all times  
If the abuser has moved out, change the locks on your door; get locks on the windows  
Plan an escape route out of your home; teach it to your children  
Think about where you would go if you need to escape  
Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the abuser at your house; make a signal for them to call the police, for example, if the phone rings twice, a shade is pulled down or a light is on  
Pack a bag with important things you’d need if you had to leave quickly; put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust  
Include cash, car keys & important information such as: court papers, passport or birth certificates, medical records & medicines, immigration papers  
Get an unlisted phone number 
Block caller ID  
Use an answering machine; screen the calls  
Take a good self-defense course        

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CHILDREN SAFER

Teach them not to get in the middle of a fight, even if they want to help  
Teach them how to get to safety, to call 911, to give your address & phone number to the police  
Teach them who to call for help  
Tell them to stay out of the kitchen  
Give the principal at school or the daycare center a copy of your court order; tell them not to release your children to anyone without talking to you first; use a password so they can be sure it is you on the phone; give them a photo of the abuser  
Make sure the children know who to tell at school if they see the abuser  
Make sure that the school knows not to give your address or phone number to ANYONE              

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF OUTSIDE THE HOME

Change your regular travel habits
Try to get rides with different people  
Shop and bank in a different place  
Cancel any bank accounts or credit cards you shared; open new accounts at a different bank  
Keep your court order and emergency numbers with you at all times  
Keep a cell phone & program it to 911 (or other emergency number)              

HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF SAFER AT WORK

Keep a copy of your court order at work  
Give a picture of the abuser to security and friends at work  
Tell your supervisors – see if they can make it harder for the abuser to find you  
Don’t go to lunch alone  
Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or to the bus  
If the abuser calls you at work, save voice mail and save e-mail  
Your employer may be able to help you find community resources              

USING THE LAW TO HELP YOU

Protection or Restraining Orders    
Ask your local domestic violence program who can help you get a civil protection order and who can help you with criminal prosecution  
Ask for help in finding a lawyer    
   
In most places, the judge can:    
Order the abuser to stay away from you or your children  
Order the abuser to leave your home  
Give you temporary custody of your children & order the abuser to pay you temporary child support  
Order the police to come to your home while the abuser picks up personal belongings  
Give you possession of the car, furniture and other belongings  
Order the abuser to go to a batterers intervention program  
Order the abuser not to call you at work  
Order the abuser to give guns to the police              
If you are worried about any of the following, make sure you:    
Show the judge any pictures of your injuries  
Tell the judge that you do not feel safe if the abuser comes to your home to pick up the children to visit with them  
Ask the judge to order the abuser to pick up and return the children at the police station or some other safe place  
Ask that any visits the abuser is permitted are at very specific times so the police will know by reading the court order if the abuser is there at the wrong time  
Tell the judge if the abuser has harmed or threatened the children; ask that visits be supervised; think about who could do that for you  
Get a certified copy of the court order  
Keep the court order with you at all times              

CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

Show the prosecutor your court orders  
Show the prosecutor medical records about your injuries or pictures if you have them  
Tell the prosecutor the name of anyone who is helping you (a victim advocate or a lawyer)  
Tell the prosecutor about any witnesses to injuries or abuse  
Ask the prosecutor to notify you ahead of time if the abuser is getting out of jail            

BE SAFE AT THE COURTHOUSE  

Sit as far away from the abuser as you can; you don’t have to look at or talk to the abuser; you don’t have to talk to the abuser’s family or friends if they are there  
Bring a friend or relative with you to wait until your case is heard  
Tell a bailiff or sheriff that you are afraid of the abuser and ask him/her to look out for you  
Make sure you have your court order before you leave  
Ask the judge or the sheriff to keep the abuser there for a while when court is over; leave quickly  
If you think the abuser is following you when you leave, call the police immediately  
If you have to travel to another State for work or to get away from the abuser, take your protection order with you; it is valid everywhere.