Personal Safety Plan - Laurel Shelter

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                                                      Personal Safety Plan

                                            LAUREL SHELTER, INC.

                                           Pull this section out and keep it in a safe
                                           place where your abuser cannot find it.
                                          Laurel Shelter, Inc. (24 hour, confidential service)   804-694-5552
                                          Laurel Shelter, Inc. Outreach Office                   804-694-5890
                                          Emergency                                              911
                                          Gloucester Co. Sheriff                                 804-693-3890
                                          King & Queen Sheriff                                   804-785-7400
                                          King William Sheriff                                   804-769-0999
                                          Mathews Sheriff Dept.                                  804-725-7001
                                          Middlesex Sheriff Dept.                                804-758-2779
                                          Riverside Walter Reed Hospital                         804-693-8800
                                          Victim Witness Directors:
                                                 Gloucester Co.                                  804-693-1227
                                                 Mathews/Middlesex Co                            804-725-1291
                                          Magistrate-Gloucester Co                               804-693-3890
                                          Magistrate-Middlesex                                   804-758-2779
                                          Magistrate-Mathews                                     804-725-7001
                             Victim’s Safe Plan                                                              Your Bill Of Rights

DEFINITION: A safe plan is a plan of action designed to help keep you and         You have the right to be you.
your children as a safe as possible from physical abuse.
Before your partner becomes violent, consider the following things:               You have the right to put yourself first.
1. Avoid getting trapped in the kitchen (too many potential weapons) or the
   bathroom (no place to dodge blows and too many hard surfaces.)                 You have the right to be safe.
2. Stay out of a room where there are known weapons such as guns and
                                                                                  You have the right to love and be loved.
3. Think through all possible escape routes-doors, first floor, or basement       You have the right to be treated with respect.
   windows. Before your partner becomes violent think about where you
   will go. Will it be safe? If you think that you won’t be safe with friends     You have the right to be human—NOT PERFECT.
   or family, consider a shelter. At the very least, go to a public place, i.e.
   McDonald’s, library, hospital lobby. Make sure you know where they             You have the right to be angry and protest if you are treated unfairly or
   are.                                                                           abusively by anyone.
4. Now, before the abusive incident, get an extra car key made and hide it
   near or on the car. You can get a magnetic key holder for less than $2.00.     You have the right to your own privacy.
   This will provide you an escape to safety. Hide money in the car for
                                                                                  You have the right to your own opinions, to express them, and to be taken
   phone calls. If you escape but don’t have access to the car, go to a
   neighbor’s house to use the phone, or pull the closest fire alarm.
5. Gather together important documents you might need (see Checklist              You have the right to earn and control your own money.
   under “Personalized Safety Plan”). If you are able to escape a violent
   incident your partner may not let you have access to these papers. If          You have the right to ask questions abut anything that affects your
   possible, take them with you, or get copies made and keep them in a safe       life.
   place outside your home.
6. Could you let a neighbor know about the violence? If so, work out a            You have the right to make decisions that affect you.
   signal that would let the neighbor know to call the police, such as lights
   going on and off quickly, banging on the wall, a scream, or a word or          You have the right to grow and change (and that includes changing your
   phrase on the phone.
7. Have a back-up plan, in case your first one doesn’t or won’t work.             You have the right to say NO.
8. Teach your children to leave the room when violence begins.
                                                                                  Your have the right to make mistakes.
    Important: You may feel that your partner will never be physically
    abusive to you again. Don’t let that stop you from developing a safe plan.    You have the right NOT to be responsible for other adults’ problems.
    It won’t hurt to have one, and it might mean safety for you and your
    children. Being prepared to escape could make the difference between          You have the right not to be liked by everyone.
    life and death. Remember, the cycle of violence always increases in
    severity. Being prepared to leave will help you to escape to freedom          YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONTROL YOUR OWN LIFE
    easier.                                                                       AND TO CHANGE IT IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH IT!!!
                How Do You Know You’re Safe?                                                     Personalized safety plan

Often the risk of violence increases when you leave. For your own       Name: _____________________________ Date: ___________________
safety and the safety of your children, watch for the following         Dates I reviewed my plan to make sure it is still useful:
signs:                                                                  (1) ___________ (2) ____________ (3) ___________ (4) ____________

                                                                        The following steps show my plan for keeping myself safe and preparing
****Tries to find you—                                                  in advance for the possibility of more violence. I know I do not have
                                                                        control over my partner’s violence. I do have control over how I can
He may try to get information from your family and friends about        respond to him/her and how to best get my child(ren) and myself to
your whereabouts, either by threatening them or trying to get their     safety.
                                                                        Step 1: Safety during a violent event. Avoiding violent situations is not
****Tries to get you to come back to him—                               always possible. In order to increase safety, victims of domestic violence
                                                                        may use different ways to keep themselves safe.
He may do anything to get you to come back. He will try
promising to change, crying, threats of suicide, buying gifts, and if   I can use some or all of these plans:
this doesn’t work, then force is used. This is the time in which                A. Practice a safe way to leave your home. What door, window,
abusers may resort to extreme violence to keep/regain control.                  elevator, stairwell or fire escape would you use? If I decide to
                                                                                leave, I will ___________________________________________
****Tries to take the children—

He may try to kidnap the children as a way of forcing you to stay               ________________________________________________________________________
with him. He also may threaten you with having the children taken
                                                                                B. I can keep my purse/wallet and car keys ready and put them
away.                                                                           (place) ___________________________________________
                                                                                so I can leave quickly.
****Stalks you—
                                                                                C. I can tell __________________ and _____________________
If you always seem to run into him when you are on your way to                  about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear
work, running errands, or out with friends, or if you receive hang-             strange noises coming from my home.
up or mysterious calls, it could be him stalking you. Keep a
written record of these incidents.                                              D. I can teach my child(ren) how to use the telephone to call the
                                                                                police and fire department.

                                                                                E. I will use _________________ as my secret word with my
                                                                                Child(ren) or my friends so they can call for help.
        F. If I have to leave my home, I will go ____________________                                   Safe Plan For Your Children
        ________________________________. (Decide this even if you
        don’t think there will be a next time.) If I cannot go to that place,    Provide your children with a plan of action for when a fight, or other
        I can go to ____________________________________________                 physical violence occurs.
        or __________________________________________________.
                                                                                 Things to teach your children…………………….
        G. I can also tell some of these plans to my child(ren).                 1. Call 911 if they believe/feel that someone is going to get hurt. Even if
                                                                                    they dial 911 and hang-up, the Police will call back or send someone
        H. (Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, near           out to check on the situation.
        weapons without an out side door). When I think we are going to          2. Tell them to go to a safe place that you have agreed upon. This could
        have an argument, I will try to move to a place that has fewer              be a bedroom (do not tell them to go to the kitchen or the bathroom),
        dangerous objects, such as _____________________________.                   a neighbor’s house, or a friend’s house. Not only are they escaping
                                                                                    danger, but they also can alert others to get help for you.
        I. I will use my judgment and I will trust my feelings. If the           3. Tell your children to stay away from the fighting. Getting in between
        situation is very serious, I can give my partner what he/she wants          could escalate the anger of the abuser. It can also result in the children
        to calm him/her. I will do my best to keep myself safe until I am           getting hurt.
        out of danger.                                                           4. Help them to find someone they can talk with about the problems at
                                                                                    home. Suggest they talk with someone you both trust, such as their
Step 2: Safety when getting ready to leave. When getting ready to leave,            teacher, minister, counselor at school, babysitter, or friend’s parents.
victims of domestic violence must be very careful to hide plans from their          Let them know that talking about their problem is okay, and it will
abuser. If you choose to leave, plan carefully to keep yourself safe. Abusers       help them with their feelings/fears.
often get angrier when they believe their partner is leaving the relationship.
                                                                                 Things to discuss with your children…………
I can use some of or all of these safety plans:                                  It is normal to feel confused after there has been a fight. They might even
                                                                                 have mixed feelings about their parents. This is also natural.
        A. I will leave money and an extra set of keys with (safe person)
        _________________________________so I can leave quickly.                 They are only responsible for their own actions, and not the actions of
                                                                                 their parents. Help them to understand that there are other ways of
        B. I will keep copies of important papers or keys at (safe location)     handling anger and frustration. Just because Mom and Dad fight, they do
        ____________________________________________________.                    not have to grow up using violence as a method for problem solving. Help
                                                                                 them to get information on more appropriate ways of dealing with their
        C. I will open a savings account by (date) ___________________           anger and frustration. One out of three boys who grows up in a home
        to increase my independence.                                             where violence was present will grow up to repeat the violence.
                                                                                 Remind them that it’s not their fault that violence occurs, it is the abuser’s
        D. Other things I can do to increase my independence include:            responsibility to stop the violence.
        _____________________________________________________                    They are only children; and not adults. They still have a lot of growing up
        _____________________________________________________                    to do. Encourage them to be children.
        _____________________________________________________                    Let them know that the Safe Plan is not designed to make anyone feel bad
                                                                                 or unloved, but it exists to keep them and yourself safe.
               Insurance papers                                                               E. The domestic violence program’s hotline number in my area is
               Small, easy to sell objects                                                    ____________________. The hotline can give me support and a
               Address book                                                                   safe place to stay. I can call the Virginia family Violence and
               Pictures                                                                       Sexual Assault hotline at 800-838-8238 for support. The Virginia
               Jewelry                                                                        Hotline can connect me to my local program if I need them to.
               Children’s favorite toys an/or blankets
               Items of special sentimental value                                              F. I can keep change for phone calls or a pre-paid calling card
                                                                                               with me at all times. I know that if I use my telephone credit
Telephone Numbers I need to know:                                                              card the next month’s telephone bill will let my abuser know the
                                                                                               numbers I have called. To keep my telephone calls secret, I must
       1. Police Department (home): ____________________________                               use coins, a pre-paid telephone card or ask a friend to let me use
                                                                                               his/her telephone credit card for a short time when I first leave.
       2. Police Department (school): ___________________________
                                                                                               G. I will ask (safe person) _______________________________
       3. Police Department (work:) _____________________________                              and _________________________________________ if I can
                                                                                               stay with them and borrow some money.
       4. Domestic Violence Program: ___________________________
                                                                                               H. I can leave extra clothes with (safe person) ______________
       5. Work Number: ______________________________________                                  ___________________________________________________.

       6. Supervisor’s home number: ____________________________                               I. I will look at my safety plan every (length of time) _________
                                                                                               so that I can remember the safest way to leave the residence.
       7. Minister: ___________________________________________                                (safe person) __________________________________________
                                                                                               has agreed to help me review this plan.
       8. Other: _____________________________________________
                                                                                               J. I will practice my escape plan by myself and with my
       9. Other: _____________________________________________                                 child(ren).

       10. Other: ____________________________________________                                 K. I will be careful not to share too much information with my
                                                                                               young child(ren) because they may tell my partner.

For more information contact:                                                          Step 3: Safety in my own home. There are many things a person can do
Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline                                    to be safer in his/her home. It may not be possible to do everything at one
1-800-838-8238                                                                         time. Safety steps can be added slowly over time.

                                                                                       I can use some or all of these safety steps:
                                                                      Adopted from:
                                                          Personalized Safety Plan
                                                         Office of the City Attorney           A. I can change the locks on my doors and windows.
                                                              San Diego, California
       B. I can change wooden doors to steel or metal ones.                              H. I can attend workshops and support groups at the domestic
                                                                                         violence program or ___________________________________
        C. I can add safety items such as more locks, window bars, poles                 ________________________ or __________________________
        to wedge against doors, an electric security system, etc.                        to gain support and strengthen my relationships with other people.

        D. I can buy rope ladders to use for escape from second floor            Step 8: Items to take when leaving. When leaving an abusive partner, it
        windows.                                                                 is important to take certain things. Often, victims of abuse find it helpful
                                                                                 to give an extra copy of papers and an extra set of clothing to a friend just
        E. I can put in smoke detectors and fire extinguishers for every         in case leaving must be done quickly.
        floor in my home. (Keep kitchen extinguishers near the kitchen
        exit).                                                                   Items with check marks on the following list are the most important to
                                                                                 take. If there is time, the other items can be taken or stored outside the
        F. I can put in a motion detection lighting system outside my            home.
                                                                                 These things are best kept in one location. If I must leave in a hurry, I can
        G. I will teach my child(ren) how to make a collect call to me and       grab them quickly. While I am collecting these things, I will be very
        to (safe adult) ________________________________________                 careful to not let my partner know.
        just in case my partner takes them or they are not feeling safe.
                                                                                 When I leave, I should take some or all of the following:
        H. I will tell people who take care of my child(ren) who can pick
        them up. I will tell them my partner is not allowed to pick up my                        Identification for myself
        child(ren). These are the people I will tell who can pick up my                          Children’s birth certificates
        children:                                                                                My birth certificate
                 1. School                                                                       Social Security cards
                 2. Day Care Staff                                                               School and vaccination records
                 3. Babysitter                                                                   Money
                 4. Church members                                                               Checkbook, ATM (Automated Teller Machine) cards
                 5. Teacher
                                                                                                 Credit cards
                                                                                                 Keys – house/car/office/safety deposit box
        I. I can tell these people: ________________________________
        ______________________, and __________________________                                   Driver’s license and registration
        that my partner no longer lives with me. I will ask them to call the                     Medications
        police if my partner is seen near my home.
                                                                                                  Welfare identification
Step 4: Safety with a protective order. Many abusers obey protective                              Work permits
orders. No one can be sure whether or not his or her violent partner will obey                    Green card
the order.                                                                                        Passport(s)
                                                                                                  Medical records – for all family members
.                                                                                                 Bank books (continued on next page)
Step 5: Safety at work and in public. Each victim of domestic violence            Step 6: Safety and drug or alcohol use. The use of alcohol and mood-
must decide if and when to tell others that his/her partner is abusive and that   altering drugs is very common. Much of this use is legal, and some is not.
he/she is not safe. Friends, family, and co-workers can help to protect the       The legal outcomes of using illegal drugs can be very hard on a battered
battered person.                                                                  person. It may put strain on relationships with family members and put
                                                                                  him/her at a disadvantage when facing legal action with the abusive
I can do any or all of these things to keep myself safer at work and in public:   partner. It is important to carefully think about the possible costs of using
                                                                                  illegal drugs. The use of any alcohol or other drugs can reduce a person’s
        A. I can tell my boss, the security supervisor and _____________          ability to act quickly when protecting him/herself during an argument or
        _________________________________ at work of my situation.                assault. The abuser may also use is/her use of alcohol or other drugs as an
                                                                                  excuse for being abusive. Someone who is at risk of being abused needs
        B. I can ask ____________________________ to help screen my               to think about all the things that could happen if drugs and/or alcohol are
        telephone calls at work.                                                  used.

        C. When leaving work, I can _____________________________                 If drugs or alcohol have been used in the relationship with my abusive
        _____________________________________________________                     partner, I can keep myself safer by doing some or all of these plans:
        D. When driving home if problems occur, I can ______________                      A. If I am going to use, I can do so in a safe place and with
        _____________________________________________________                             people who know I am at risk for violence and are committed
        _____________________________________________________                             to my safety.

        E. If I use public transportation, I can _____________________                    B. I can also __________________________________________
        ____________________________________________________                              _____________________________________________________
        ____________________________________________________                              _____________________________________________________

        F. I can use different grocery stores and shopping malls and shop                 C. If my partner is using, I can ____________________________
        at hours that are not the same as the ones I used when living with                _____________________________________________________
        my abusive partner.                                                               _____________________________________________________

        G. I can use a different bank and take care of my banking at hours                D. I might also ________________________________________
        different from those I used when living with my abusive partner.                  _____________________________________________________
        H. I can also __________________________________________
        _____________________________________________________                             E. To keep my children safe, I can _________________________
        _____________________________________________________                             _____________________________________________________
                                                                                          _________________________________________________ and
Step 7: Safety and my emotional health. Being physically and mentally          I may need to ask the police and the courts to enforce my protective order.
abused and verbally put down by partners is tiring and emotionally draining.   I can use some or all of these steps to help keep my protective order
The process of building a new life takes a lot of courage and energy.          enforced:

To conserve my emotional energy and resources, and to keep my stress level             A. (Always keep your protective order with you. If you change
down, I can do some or all of the following:                                           your purse/wallet, put your protective order in the new one.)
                                                                                       I will keep my protective order (location) ___________________
        A. If I feel down and ready to return to potentially abusive                   _____________________________________________________
        situation, I can ________________________________________
        _____________________________________________________                          B. I will give my protective order to police departments in the
        _____________________________________________________                          town where I live, where I usually visit family or friends, and
        _____________________________________________________                          where I work.

        B. When I have to talk with my partner in person or by telephone,              C. I can call the local domestic violence program (phone
        I can ________________________________________________                         number) ___________________ if I have any problems with
        _____________________________________________________                          my protective order.
                                                                                       D. I will tell my employer, my minister, my friend ___________
        C. I will use “I can…” statements with myself and with others.                 ______________ and my neighbor ________________________
                                                                                       _____________________ that I have a protective order in effect.
        D. I will tell myself – “__________________________________
        ____________________________________________________”                          E. If my partner destroys my protective order, I can get a copy
        whenever I feel others are trying to control or abuse me.                      from the clerk of the court.

        E. I can read ________________________________________ to                      F. If my partner violates a no-trespass condition of the protective
        help me feel stronger and surer of myself.                                     order, I can call the police or magistrate and report the violation.
                                                                                       If my partner violates other conditions of the protective order, I
        F. I will call __________________________________________                      can call my lawyer (phone # ______________________). I can
        and __________________________________as support systems.                      call my advocate ___________________________________.

        G. Other things I can do to help myself feel stronger are _______              G. If the police do not help, I can call my advocate, my lawyer,
        _____________________________________________________                          and/or the Commonwealth’s Attorney. I can file a complaint with
        _________________________________________________ and                          the chief of police or with the sheriff.
                                                                                       H. I can also file a Show Cause Petition with the clerk of the
                                                                                       court in the town where I got the Protective Order. If my partner
                                                                                       breaks the law again, I can file a private criminal complaint with
                                                                                       the magistrate in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed.
                                                                                       I can call the domestic violence advocate to help me with this.

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