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Domestic Violence Safety

Domestic violence is all too common in our society and often goes unreported. Please speak up if you, or someone you know, is a victim of domestic violence. If you feel you are unable to leave your abuser, there are things you can do to make you and your family safer. Read the following guide to learn how to protect yourself from domestic violence.

Protect Yourself During an Attack

  • Attempt to make it to a room with a window or door to escape.
  • Avoid the kitchen and other areas where the abuser has easy access to items, such as knives, that can become a weapon used against you.
  • Stay out of closets, bathrooms, and other small spaces where you could become trapped.
  • Get to a room with a landline so you can call for help.  If you have a cell phone, lock yourself in a room and then proceed to call for help.
  • Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry.  The abuser could use these things to strangle you.
  • Call 911 and alert them of your location and situation.
  • When police arrive, tell an officer what happened and get his/her name and badge number.
  • Seek medical attention if you are injured and take pictures of the injuries for proof of abuse.
  • Call a domestic violence program or shelter and ask them to help you create a safety plan.

Make Your Home Safer

  • Memorize emergency numbers in case you are attacked without access to your address book or cell phone.
  • If the abuser has left or moved out, change the locks on all the doors and windows.
  • Keep your cell phone on you at all times. Hide a phone in a room that is easy to get to incase you are attacked and do not have your cell phone.
  • Establish an escape route or domestic violence plan that you can memorize and teach your children.
  • Alert your neighbors of the situation and have them call the police if they see the abuser at your house.
  • Have a “go” bag ready with important documents such as your passport, medical records, and insurance. Keep the bag in a safe place or with a neighbor that you trust.
  • Take a self-defense course.
  • Teach your children how to avoid getting in the middle of a fight, and how they can best prepare themselves in case of an attack.

Protect Yourself Outside of the House

  • Change up your travel patterns.
  • Shop and bank at locations that your abuser is unfamiliar with.
  • Cancel any shared credit or bank accounts with the abuser.
  • In the event you have to leave in a hurry, keep a copy of important papers with you or in your car, such as your and your children’s birth certificates, passports, immigration papers, and Social Security cards.
  • Keep emergency contact numbers and your court order, if you have one, with you at all times.

Additional Resources:

  • National Resource Center on Domestic Violence: http://www.nrcdv.org/
  • Call the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
  • Call the U.S. National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 (HOPE), which automatically connects you to a local U.S. rape crisis program based on the area code of your phone number.

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