It doesn’t matter if you are married, divorced, single, or in a relationship. Anyone can be affected by domestic violence. Your safety and the safety of your children is your utmost priority, and we understand.
With the help of RAINN and the Domestic Violence Resource Center, we’ve put together suggestions for a safety plan. A safety plan is a list that helps you stay safe during a crisis, and prepares you for next steps and options. It’s a vital document to consider for anyone living with the threat of violence.
(Note: If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.)
Safety planning at home
- During an argument, stay in areas with an exit and avoid letting the other person get between you and the exit.
- Practice ways of getting out of your home safely.
- Avoid rooms with weapons, including the kitchen.
- Consider regularly clearing your computer cache, history, and cookies if you believe someone is monitoring your computer use. Or, use a computer at a friend’s or the library.
- Create plausible excuses for having to leave the house quickly or at different times, in case you fear for your immediate safety and need to leave while your abuser is still at your home.
- If you are in danger from someone not living with you, make sure you keep your doors and windows locked when not using them, and change the locks if possible.
- If you believe you’re being tracked via your cellphone, talk to your family law attorney or take it to your cell phone dealer to have it checked.
Safety planning in public
- If you have already filed a restraining order, or if your abuser has already been charged with stalking (or a similar crime), inform the necessary people at work of your situation (including building security). Provide a photo of your abuser.
- Screen your calls.
- Have a safety plan to leave work, like out a back or side door.
- Ask someone to escort you when leaving and wait with you until you’re safely on your way.
- Use different routes to get home every day so you don’t establish a route that is easy to follow.
- Create a safety routine in case something happens on the way home, like picking a safe place to go (like a store). Also, have a routine when you arrive home – check your house and property for any disturbances, and check in with a friend to let someone know you’re safe.
Safety planning if you are leaving
- If possible, open savings and credit card accounts in your name only and instruct banks that your partner is not to have access.
- Have predetermined safe people to leave with or stay with.
- Make an escape bag that includes important papers and documents for you and your children (birth certificates, license, passports, social security cards, prescription drugs, medical records, etc.). Include cash, keys, and credit cards and keep the bag well-hidden.
- Keep copies of these important papers, keys, and extra medicines with a trusted friend or family member.
- Locate the nearest domestic violence shelter or homeless shelter beforehand in case you don’t have another place to go.
- Keep your gas tank full at all times.
- Have a support network and keep them in the loop, including how to respond if the abuser contacts them.
You can find Nashville domestic violence resources here. These resources can help you file criminal charges, find a safe place to sleep for you and your children (if you do not already have one), and more.
At Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC, we want to ensure the safety and health of our clients who have already filed for divorce, or who are in the process of filing for divorce. If you retain our services and wish to file for an Order of Protection, we can assist you. Please call 615.454.9899 or use our contact form to reserve a consultation at our Nashville office.