Creating a Safety Plan
If you are in an abusive relationship it is important that you think of ways to stay safe. The tips below are some things to consider.
- Find a safe place to go. If possible, arrange to stay with family or friends during an emergency. If that is not an option, find a Domestic Violence Shelter in New York City by calling 1-800-621-HOPE.
- Develop an escape plan. Think of ways to get out of the house quickly and safely. Practice them.
- Make a "go bag." Prepare a bag with extra house/car keys, important documents, extra medications or prescriptions, and enough clothes (for you and your children, if applicable) for a couple of days. Arrange to keep this bag with a neighbor, friend, or in a secret place that is easily accessible during an emergency.
- Make copies of important documents. Make copies of birth cirtificates (yours and your childrens', if applicable), proof of insurance, bank information, passports, immigration documents/visas, etc., and hide them in a safe place.
- Create a plan with your children. Discuss with them what to do when an episode of violence begins, where they should go and how to call 911. Help them memorize important numbers to call for help.
- Disable Location Services or GPS on your phone. In your phone's settings, switch location services or GPS to "911 Only."
- Know your local precinct. Many NYPD precincts have a designated Domestic Violence Officer. Find out if yours does. Click here for an NYPD Precinct finder.
During an episode of violence
Call for help. Call 911. If you cannot speak to the operator, hide the phone (i.e. under a pillow) so that the call can be traced. Call a family member or friend, or scream and make noise to get help from neighbors. Dial Safely: If you're using a landline phone, dial any number after you've called for help. That way the abuser won't be able to redial. On a cell phone, delete the call from your recent calls.
- Get to safety. Leave the situation if possible. Take your children with you, and the "go bag" described above.
- If you can't leave, avoid rooms with only one exit. Avoid the kitchen, bathroom and garage (places with objects that could be used as weapons). Scream and call for help.
- If you are injured, get medical attention. If the abuser accompanies you to the hospital, try to be alone with the medical staff to share what is happening. Ask them to make a record of your injuries (i.e. photos, or notes in the medical record) to use later in court if necessary. Going to Mount Sinai West or Mount Sinai St. Luke's will automatically connect you to CVTC.
If you are thinking of leaving or have recently escaped
- Change up your routine. What route to you use to get to the subway? How do you take your children to school? Where in the neighborhood do you get a cup of coffee? Consider things like this and change them up. Consider altering your routes.
- Tell people. If you've left or are thinking of leaving, tell someone at work. Tell your children's school and let them know who is allowed to pick the children up. Tell the children's caregivers.
- Consider getting an Order of Protection. CVTC can help with this. Orders of Protection can be obtained through Family or Criminal Court. Our Legal Advocate (through a partnership with CONNECT) can help you obtain one.
- If you stay in the apartment, change the locks (CVTC can connect you to a free service), tell neighbors to call the police if they see the abuser,
- Consider changing your phone number. Many cell phone carriers will do this free of charge. If you do not have a phone and cannot afford one, CVTC may be able to provide you with one.
- Change PIN numbers and passwords, to voicemail, your bank account, email and social media.
- Develop a plan for when you encounter your abuser. Think about what you will do if you run into the abuser on the street or if s/he tries to contact you.
- ID/Driver's License
- Social Security Card
- Medication (if applicable, for self/kids)
- Phone numbers of relatives/friends
- DV hotline number (1-800-621-HOPE)
Paperwork (to keep all in one safe place)
- Birth Certificate(s) (self/kids)
- Marriage Certificate
- Proof of insurance
- Medical records/proof of immunizations
- Bank statements or account numbers
- Immigration documents
- Certificate/voucher for housing
- Car title and registration
- Resume/employment records
- As much money as possible