Safety planning is essential
Safety Planning is very important, check out our tips below that may help you. Your safety and your children’s safety is a priority whether you are planning to stay in the relationship, thinking about leaving or have already left. Call 1800 811 811 to discuss your options.
If you are staying:
If you are staying in the relationship, think about what you can do to keep yourself safe, particularly at times when your partner becomes abusive, or you sense the situation is escalating.
- Create ‘signals’ for supportive neighbours, family or friends that let them know to come over or to call for help. For example, switch on a particular light, leave a curtain blind closed /open, phone or text a friend with an agreed cue or a message that will be a prompt or code for them to help in whatever way you have discussed.
- Keep essential items like spare keys, money and important documents or copies of them, where you can get to them easily quickly.
- Plan and practice (with your children) how you might escape from your home safely and quickly. Think about the safest exits so that when you feel that things are getting out of control you can leave quickly.
- If possible, keep weapons and knives locked up or inaccessible (e.g. remove knife-blocks from kitchen benches).
- Let trusted friends, family or neighbours know about the abuse and let them know about your safety plan.
- Have a code (perhaps a word or phrase) that you can use with someone you trust by phone or text so they know you are in danger and need help from them or the police.
- Teach your children that their responsibility during an incident is to stay safe – not to rescue you.
- Program the police, taxi company, local support service and a family member’s or friend’s number into the speed dial on your phone.
- Plan where you will go and how you will get there in case you need to leave in a hurry.
- If possible, keep a Safety Diary. Record any instances of abuse, and try to include details, dates, times and photos. You may want to keep your Safety Diary at your doctor’s office, a friend’s house or electronically but remember to make sure it is secure (you could use a password, email it to someone you trust or hide it under another name).
- Keep text messages your partner sends to you, and save online messages or posts made by your partner.
- Ask a family member or friend if they can take care of your pets at their house, or regularly take the pets for walks.
Helping your children
You can help your child emotionally recover from domestic violence in many ways:
- Protect children from violence by taking them to a safe place.
- Get support to take action against the violence, this will show them that violence is not acceptable.
- Reassure the child that none of the violent episodes were their fault in any way.
- Tell them how much you love them and cuddle them often.
- Encourage them to talk openly about their feelings.
- Get extra help for your child if necessary.
- Enlist a professional from a specialist domestic and family violence service to help provide your child with emotional support.
- Tell the child that abusive behaviour is wrong and be a role model for other ways of managing anger and solving problems.
- Seek professional help, such as counselling, for all family members.
Helping your pets
Available through Womensline only. Together with the RSPCA Queensland we operate the Pets In Crisis Program.
- Call us and ask about our Pets In Crisis Program. Call 1800 811 811 anytime.
- Read more, or watch a video about our Pets In Crisis Program. Learn More.
If you are planning to leave:
- Hide a bag with clothes, medication, keys and other important items that you can either exit with easily or leave with someone you trust.
- Put aside some money for travel expenses, accommodation and food if you have access to money.
- Make copies of important documents, e.g. car registration, tax file number, title deeds, loan records, Medicare card, drivers licence, account details, prescriptions, passports etc and leave them with someone you trust or take photos of them and store them securely.
- Take small items you may be able to sell, like jewellery.
- If you have children take clothes for them, medical records and medication, bottles and some of their favourite toys.
- If you have pets, take food and equipment needed for travelling (e.g. leash, cage, documentation).
If you have left:
The time after leaving an domestic violence situation can be very dangerous. The below tips help reduce this risk but you should be very vigalent during this time.
- Report to police and apply for an ADVO.
- If you have an ADVO carry a copy of it with you at all times and give a copy of it and a photo of your partner to your workplace and your children’s school so that they are aware of the situation.
- Redirect your mail and get a post office box.
- Only give your new address and phone number to those you really trust.
- Get a new SIM card and phone and turn your call preferences set to Private so your new number cannot be saved.
- Think about getting a spare SIM card or phone if you want to communicate with your ex-partner about children or pets.
- Wherever possible, change your regular patterns of movement, e.g. travel to and from work by a different route, buy your groceries at a different shop, change the time and maybe location of regular appointments, maybe move your children to a new day care centre or school.
- Ensure where you are staying is as safe as possible, e.g. security doors, lockable windows, motion- sensitive external lights etc.
- Let key people know about your situation, e.g. your boss and other work colleagues, your children’s teachers, so they know not to give out your details or they can screen your calls etc.
- Continue to seek support from the domestic and family violence services and medical practitioners during this time.
- Block your partner on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and any other forms of social media or communication. Consider setting up a new profile that is secure. Read through Facebook and other social media platforms Safety Tips.
Safety Planning is essential, please call us on 1800 811 811 if you would like to discuss any of the above.