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Staying Safe: If You Are in a Violent Relationship
If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number. Be careful online too. Your online activity may be seen by others. Do not use your personal computer or device to read about this topic. Use a safe computer, such as one at work, a friend's home, or a library.
Making a plan can help provide for your safety and your children's safety. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your children.
- Leave right away if you or your children are in danger.
If leaving is not possible, try to move into a safe area of your home. Avoid areas with no exits, such as closets or bathrooms. Also avoid areas with objects that can be used as weapons, such as the kitchen.
- Try to protect yourself from injury.
Make yourself physically smaller by curling into a ball and covering your head and face with your hands.
- Talk to your children about ways to stay safe when there is violence in the home.
Have them go to a safe area in the home when an argument occurs. Teach them how to protect themselves from injury.
- Hide weapons.
Try to hide guns, ammunition, knives, and any other weapons, unless hiding them creates an unsafe situation for you. If hiding the weapons isn't possible, try to make them hard to find or use.
- Think of a code.
Create a code word or sign that can be used to alert family, friends, teachers, or coworkers when to call for help.
- Try to have a phone available at all times.
Think about hiding a prepaid cell phone to use in emergencies.
- Plan for a fast getaway.
If you have a car, make sure that there's always gas in the tank. Keep the driver's door unlocked, and lock all other doors. Have a copy of the car key made, and hide it in the car. Park the car in a way that makes it easy to drive away quickly.
- Alert your neighbors.
Consider telling neighbors about the violence, and ask that they call the police if they hear loud noises coming from your home.
Contact a local advocacy group for support, information, and advice on how to stay safe. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233), or see the website at www.thehotline.org for the nearest advocacy program. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English, Spanish, and other languages.
Also, see the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's website at https://ncadv.org/resources to find programs that offer shelter and legal support.
Current as of: June 25, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
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