You Deserve to be Safe from Domestic Violence
PLANNING FOR SAFETY
If you think you are in an abusive relationship, it is important to make a plan to keep yourself and your children safe. Think of a safety plan like keeping an emergency kit in your car. Hopefully you won’t need it but if you do, it could save your life. Here are some things to consider:
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The Safehope Helpline operates 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. We respond to calls related to domestic and or sexual violence.
You can call us anytime. Every call is answered by a live person. You can call and ask questions, explore options, or just talk through what you need to. Please call anytime to 316-283-0350 or 1-800-487-0510
You can plan how you could get out of the house quickly if your partner becomes violent. Try to position yourself near a door where you can escape quickly.
You can put together a suitcase and keep it at a friend or family member’s house. Put in it clothes for you and the children, needed medicines, important papers, car keys, photographs, money, and emergency phone numbers. Add anything else you might need if you have to leave suddenly.
You can tell neighbors about the abuse and have them call the police if they hear noises coming from your house.
You can talk to your children about how they can keep themselves safe as well.
SAFETY WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
- Identify things that have worked in the past to keep you safe.
- Have a safe place to stay. Make sure it is a place that can protect you and your children.
- Call a domestic violence program. Find out which services and shelters are available as options if you need them. Keep their address and phone number close at hand at all times.
- Find someone you can trust. Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents, and clothing with them in advance so you can leave quickly, if necessary.
- If needed get legal advice. Find a lawyer knowledgeable about domestic violence to explore custody, visitation, and divorce options that may protect you and the children. Discuss getting a protection order as an option.
- Think about what has happened in the past and how the abuser has acted. Identify clues that indicate when things might become violent (i.e. behavioral — body language, drug/alcohol use, etc. — and event driven — paydays, holidays, etc.).
- Identify what you will do if the violence starts again. Can you call the police? Is there a phone in the house? Can you work out a signal with the children or neighbors to call the police or get help?
- Explore ways to have dangerous weapons (i.e. guns, hunting knives, etc.) removed from the house.
- Plan an escape route and practice it. Know where you can go and who you can call for help. Keep a list of addresses and phone numbers where you can go in crisis and keep them in a safe place.
- If possible, open a bank account or hide money to establish or increase independence.
Gather together the following items and hide them with a trusted individual or somewhere accessible outside the home:
- Money/cab fare
- Check book
- Credit card/ATM card
- Order of Protection
- Immigration documents
- Work permit
- Public Assistance ID
- Driver’s license and registration
- Social Security card
- Your partner’s Social Security number
- Medical records
- Insurance policies
- Police Records
- Record of violence
- Children’s school records
- Children’s immunization records
- Birth certificates
- Baby’s things (diapers, formula, etc.)
- Eye glasses
- Family pictures
- Address book
- Important telephone numbers
- Mobile phone
- Coins to use a pay phone
SAFETY IN YOUR OWN HOME
(IF THE ABUSER DOES NOT LIVE WITH YOU)
- Change the locks on doors and windows (if the abuser has a key or access to a key).
- Increase the police’s ability to find your house by having a large visible street address outside the house.
- Obtain a P.O. Box and forward all your mail to it.
- Ensure that utility companies will not give out your information to your abuser (more information about confidentiality for victims of domestic violence).
- Determine the safest way to communicate with the abuser if they must have contact. If you agree to meet, always do it in a public place (preferably a place with a security guard or police officer), and it’s best to bring someone else. Make sure you are not followed home.
- If your partner follows you in the car, drive to a hospital or fire station and keep honking the horn.
- Create a safety plan for leaving work. Talk with your supervisor and building security at work and provide a picture of the abuser, if possible. If you have an Order of Protection, give the security guard or receptionist a copy.
- Teach your children a safety plan, including calling the police or family and friends if they are taken and where to go during an emergency.
- Talk to your schools and childcare provider about who has permission to pick up the children and develop other special provisions to protect the children.
- Keep a journal of harassing phone calls and times you may see your abuser around the work place or neighborhood. Save and/or print any threatening emails. Keep a journal of anything that happens between you, the abuser, and the children regarding visitation.
- IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 911
For support, call the sexual and domestic violence program nearest you (see the helpline numbers), the Kansas Crisis Hotline at 888-363-2287, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
WHAT IS ADVOCACY?
Trained professionals are available to support sexual assault survivors through the aftermath of a sexual assault. Whether the assault happened an hour ago or 25 years ago, advocates can offer victims information, emotional support, and help finding resources. At the Safehope, we provide a wide range of advocacy services.
As a survivor of domestic violence, you deserve advocates who will listen to you with compassion. We will listen, and we will believe you. With your permission, your guidance, we will offer all appropriate support. Please remember. You control all of our advocacy services. You’re in charge. Completely. Always.
If you were recently assaulted and you want to make sure you have the appropriate health care you need after an assault, advocates can help you through that.
Whenever a survivor checks into one of the hospitals and requests a sexual assault forensic exam, an advocate is called out to respond. We do not work for the police and we do not work for the hospital. Advocates are there to support the survivor through their time at the hospital. We can answer questions, find resources, listen, and safety plan. Advocates can also be there, at your request, for any follow up medical care you might need.
HELP LINE ADVOCACY
If it is 3 A.M. and you need someone to talk to relating to domestic violence, for you or a loved one experienced, you can call an advocate.
The Safehope Helpline operates 24-hours a day and 365 days a year. We respond to calls related to domestic &/or sexual violence. You can call us anytime. Every call is answered by a live person. You can call and ask questions, explore options, or just talk through what you need to.
If you are meeting with a detective, testifying in court, or need a protection order, and you want an advocate to assist you, you can request one by calling the Safehope Helpline at 316-283-0350.
The Advocates primary job responsibilities include assisting and accompanying survivors as they navigate the entire criminal justice system and protection order process. From a police interview to a jury trial, our court advocates can be with you every step of the way.
If you would like to sit down and meet with an advocate one-on-one but you have problems with transportation or other barriers that make it difficult to come in to the office, you can call an advocate to meet with you.
Safehope has outreach advocates who specifically provide services to populations in Harvey, Marion and McPherson counties We have an outreach advocate that reaches the Spanish-speaking community, people in poverty, people with addictions or who are in recovery, college and university students, the LGBTQ community, and people who are incarcerated. Even if you do not fall into any of those categories, you can still call and schedule a time to meet with an outreach advocate. We can meet survivors in a public place that is convenient and safe for you.
If you want information about support groups, therapists who specialize in treating trauma, or strategies for coping, you can call an advocate.
Should you need assistance outside the scope of our expertise, we will recommend support services elsewhere in the community. Safehope advocates will support you at any time, at any place in your healing process. Advocates are not here to tell you what to do; we are here to support your decision-making process and to make sure you have all the options available to you. You know what is best for you. You know what is best for your safety and healing. We are committed to maintaining the highest possible levels of confidentiality.