Asking for help isn't easy, and gathering the courage to leave a violent situation can be even more challenging. Our victim advocates are available to answer our crisis line 24/7 if you need help, support, resources, or just an understanding person to listen. If you or someone you know is thinking about leaving an abusive relationship, please read the important safety information below.
In an Emergency
Create a Safety Plan
Prepare to Leave
Protect Yourself from Stalking
A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action and more. Our advocates can help safety plan with victims, friends and family members over the phone or in-person. A good safety plan will have all of the vital information you need, be tailored to your unique situation, and walk you through what to do in different scenarios. Although some things outlined in your safety plan may seem obvious, it’s important to remember your brain doesn’t function as well in crisis situations. Having a safety plan laid out in advance can help you protect yourself in those stressful moments. To learn more about creating a safety plan, please reach out to us.
Make a plan for how and where you will escape quickly. You may request a police escort or stand-by when you leave. If you have to leave in a hurry, use the following list of items as a guide. Remember, A Woman's Place advocates can help you come up with a personalized safety plan for leaving.
- Identification: Driver's Licenses, Birth Certificates, Social Security Cards, Passports, Permanent Resident Card, Work Permit, Green Card, Visas, etc...
- Finances: Cash, debit and credit cards (in your name), checking and/or savings account books.
- Legal information: Protective order, copies of any lease or rental agreements, car registration and insurance, health and life insurance, medical records, school records, divorce, child custody and/or marriage license records.
- Emergency Numbers: Local police and/or sheriff’s department, local domestic violence program or shelter, friends, family members, local doctor’s office and hospital, County and/or District Attorney’s Office.
- Other: Medications, house and car keys, valuable jewelry, pay-as-you-go cell phone, pictures, sentimental items, several changes of clothes, kids' school necessities, pet food and care items.
Since the growth of the digital technologies such as the internet and social networking sites, stalking has become much easier to perpetrate. Persistent and frequent unwanted contact from a current or former partner via phone, computer, friends, family, or even GPS tracking systems can range from being annoying and invasive to traumatic and deadly. One study found that 75 percent of victims murdered by a current or former intimate partner were also stalked by that person. The more determined and obsessed stalkers become, the more likely they are to use multiple communication channels to contact and/or find out detailed information about their victims.
Stalking safety tips:
Stalking safety tips:
- Document and report stalking incidents to law enforcement as they occur. Save and print (when possible) voice messages, texts, emails, social media posts and other evidence.
- Minimize the amount of information you share online, such as your last name, date of birth and any information that may indicate your physical address, workplace and geographic location.
- Turn off location services on your computer, smartphone, tablet and other devices. If you are unsure how to do this, contact the manufacturer or service provider for detailed instructions.
- Avoid posting on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn.
- Avoid posting on public forum websites such as Reddit and Yelp.
- Google yourself. If photographs and other content show up in a search with identifying information about you that you did not publish, reach out to those sources and ask them to remove it for your safety.
- Ensure that your computer and mobile devices have updated anti-spyware software installed and activated.
- Ensure your wireless hub/router has security turned on.
- Do not access private accounts, or send/receive private information when using public Wi-Fi networks.
- Ask friends, family, co-workers and other members of groups to which you belong to avoid tagging and publishing your name, contact information, photographs and other identifying content online.