What should I do if I am being threatened or attacked in my home?
If you are at home and are being threatened or attacked, try to:
- Stay away from the kitchen, where the abuser can find weapons such as knives.
- Stay away from bathrooms, closets, or small spaces where your abuser can trap you.
- Get to a room with a door or window.
- Get to a room with a phone to call for help; lock your abuser outside if you can.
- Call 911 (or your local emergency number).
- Think about a neighbor or friend you can run to for help.
- If a police officer comes, tell him/her what happened and get his/her name and badge number.
- Get medical help if you are hurt.
- Take pictures of any bruises or injuries.
- Call a domestic violence program or shelter; ask them to help you make a safety plan and/or get an order of protection.
How can I protect myself at home?
- Learn about places in your community where you can go to get help.
- Learn and memorize emergency phone numbers.
- Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside; if you can, get a cellular phone that you keep with you at all times.
- Plan an escape route out of your home; teach it to your children.
- Think about where you would go if you needed to escape your home quickly.
- Talk to your neighbors to set up a signal that lets them know to call the police. For example, a shade is pulled down or a certain light is on.
- Pack a bag with important things you would need if you had to leave quickly; put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust.
- Make sure the bag has cash, car keys and other important information, such as court papers, passports or birth certificates, medical records and medicines.
- Take a good self defense course.
If either you or your abuser has already moved out of your home:
- Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the abuser at your house.
- Get an unlisted phone number.
- Use an answering machine to screen your calls.
- If your abuser moved out, change the locks on your doors and windows.
How can I help my children be safe?
- Teach them to not get in the middle of a fight, even if they want to help.
- Teach them how to get to safety, to call 911, and to give your address and phone number to the police.
- Teach them who to call for help.
- Tell them to stay out of the kitchen during arguments.
- Give the principal at the school or daycare center a copy of your order of protection, if you have one; tell them not to release your children to anyone without talking to you first; use a password so they can be sure it is you on the phone; give them a photo of your abuser.
- Make sure the children know who to tell at school if they see the abuser.
- Make sure the school knows not to give your address or phone number to anyone.
How can I protect myself outside of my home?
- Change your regular travel habits.
- Try to get rides with different people.
- Bank and shop at different places.
- Cancel any bank accounts or credit cards you shared with the abuser; open new accounts at a different bank.
- Keep a cell phone; program it to 911 or other emergency numbers.
- If you have an order of protection, keep it with you at all times. Bring the order of protection with you if you have to travel to another state; it is valid everywhere.
How can I protect myself at work?
- If you have an order of protection, keep a copy of it with you at work.
- Give a picture of your abuser to security guards and friends at work.
- Tell your supervisors about your abuser; see if they can make it harder for your abuser to find you.
- Don't go to lunch alone.
- Ask a security guard or co-worker to walk you to your car or bus.
- If your abuser contacts you at work, save the voice mail or email.
- Your employer may be able to help you find community resources.
If I have to go to court against my abuser, how can I protect myself?
- Sit as far away from the abuser as you can.
- Ask the sheriff or judge to keep the abuser there for a while when court is over; leave
- If you think the abuser is following you when you leave, call the police
- Bring a friend or relative with you to court.