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North East Hampshire Domestic Abuse Forum

Safety Planning

A personal safety plan is a way of helping to protect you and your children against abuse in the home. 

It will help you to think about how you can increase your safety either within the relationship or if you decide to leave. 

I still live with my partner or abusive family member:
Tell someone about your situation  - a friend, relative, colleague or neighbour - anyone who is able to give you help and support.
Try and seek professional advice.
Speak with specially trained victim support or the police.
Teach your children to call 999 in an emergency and what they need to say.
Identify a safe exit and use it when you feel an abusive situation is about to arise
If you can not leave home, try to avoid risk areas such as the kitchen or garage where there could be items used as weapons.
Teach your children it is not safe to intervene
Keep any important emergency numbers with you at all times.
Pack an emergency bag for you and your children and keep it safe.
Keep your mobile charged at all times.
Keep a diary of events, such as harassment's, assaults or threats etc.
Plan in advance how you will respond to different situations
Use your own judgement and instincts.
I'm thinking of leaving
If you decide to leave your partner it is best if you plan this carefully.  
Sometimes the risk of violence if your abuser thinks you are about to leave.  
Plan to leave at a time when you know that your partner will not be around.  
Take your children with you when you leave.
Make sure you have a safe place to go to before you go.  
Call the National Domestic Helpline 0808 2000 247 (female victims); 0808 .  
You may want a police officer present when you leave.
Set aside some money for when you leave.
Make sure you pack an emergency bag containing:
- Clothing and toiletries
- Your children's favourite toys 
- ID for both you and your children
- Evidence relating to the abuse
- Money, post office books, child benefit or welfare books/cards
- Any medication for you and your children
- Car and house keys

If you are thinking of leaving your partner or abusive family member
Leaving a violent and abusive relationship is often an extremely dangerous time as abusers can feel that they have lost the power and control in a relationship. It is advisable to seek help and support if possible, when preparing to leave a relationship, however the following tips may be helpful:
Try to leave when your partner is not at home, unless your life is at risk
Try not to involve children in the preparations in case they accidentally tell your partner
If you are prevented from leaving, call 999

I have just left my partner or family member:
It is your decision whether or not you tell people you have experienced domestic abuse.
However, if you still feel unsafe then it is best to tell family, friends, school, college, work etc so that they can help and support you but it would normally be best to ask them not to share information to your ex-partner.  

If you have left home, but are still living in the same area then:
Try to avoid places that you used to visit such as shops, banks, cafes etc.  Try somewhere new.
Try to alter your routine where possible. 
If your abuser comes to the door then call 999 and do not open it. 
Try not to make communication with your abuser or answer any texts or calls.
If contact with your children has been agreed, arrange to meet in a safe place or have someone with you for support. 
Teach your children what to do if your abuse trys to make contact with them unexpectedly.
Discuss rules about opening the door, who is allowed in the house and how to deal with phone calls.  
Let your children talk with someone about their experiences and feelings.
Your mobile phone can be tracked, so check with your provider and ask for advice. 
Avoid using joint credit or bank cards as your ex-partner can see where you are shopping etc.
Check your address does not appear on any court documents.
Dial 141 if you need to speak with your abuser so they can not trace your number.
Keep detailed records/photographs/diary/texts/calls if you are being harassed, stalked or being threatened
(information adapted from the Hampshire Domestic Abuse Forum safety planning leaflet)

Safety Planning with your Children

It is very important to ensure that your children know how to keep themselves safe in the event of abuse or violence occurring and by helping them make a safety plan, they will feel more able to respond in an emergency. 

Consider talking through:
What would be a safe place in the house if they had to run to hide?
How they could call for help in an emergency - teach them to phone 999 and try to ensure they have access to a mobile phone
Where could they run to if it was unsafe for them to remain in the house?
Who could they call, in terms of a relative or neighbour, if they needed help but it wasn't an emergency?
Who could they talk to about what is happening and what support could they access? 
A sample safety plan for children can be found at http://www.safelives.org.uk/sites/default/files/resources/YP_safetyplan.pdf