Violence Against Women: A Site Dedicated to Providing Information and Resources for Health Care Providers & Survivors of Violence against Women Violence against Women
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Survivors > Domestic Violence > Ensuring Safety

Preparing for an emergency

Prepare for emergencies

Know your abusers red flags. Be on alert for signs and clues that your abuser is getting upset and may explode in anger or violence. Come up with several believable reasons you can use to leave the house (both during the day and at night) if you sense trouble.

Identify safe areas of the house. Know where to go if your abuser attacks or an argument starts. Avoid small, enclosed spaces without exits (such as closets or bathrooms) or rooms with weapons (such as the kitchen). If possible, head for a room with a phone and an outside door or window.

Come up with a code word. Establish a word, phrase, or signal you can use to let your children, friends, neighbors, or co-workers know that you are in danger and the police should be called. Or hold the hand of the abuser, at times he may be surprised to see that and might backtrack.

Make an escape/safety plan

Be ready to leave at a moments notice. Have emergency money, clothing, and important phone numbers and documents stashed in a safe place (at a friends house, for example). See the check list below

Your escape plan so you know exactly what to do if under attack from your abuser. If you have children, have them practice the escape plan also. 

Ask several trusted individuals if you can contact them if you need a ride, a place to stay, or help contacting the police. Memorize the numbers of your emergency contacts.

What to carry when leaving

Here are some helpful items to get together when you are planning on leaving an abusive situation. Keep these items in a safe place until you are ready to leave, or if you need to leave suddenly. If you have children, take them. And take your pets, too (if you can).

Identification for yourself and your children
-Birth certificates
-Driver's license/ration card/photo identification or passports
-Important personal papers
-Marriage certificate
-Health insurance papers and medical cards
-Medical records for all family members
-Children's school records
-Investment papers/records and account numbers
-Rental agreement/lease or house deed
-Car title, registration, and insurance information

-Credit cards
-ATM card
-Checkbook and bankbook (with deposit slips)
-House/car/deposit box
--Jewellery or small objects you can sell if you run out of money or stop having access to your accounts

A way to communicate

-Cell phone
-Address book

-At least 1 month's supply for all medicines you and your children are taking, as well as a copy of the prescriptions



Dealing with Suicide

We often go through phases in our life when we feel immensely frustrated and there seems to be no way out of the situation. At such times, we may consider taking our own life to end the misery, or as the only escape route. Given the humiliating, demoralizing and debilitating nature of domestic abuse, such a feeling of wanting to end one's life may crop up. If you have ever attempted suicide or are having thoughts about it, please seek the help of a mental health professional. Remember that your life is precious and no matter how miserable a situation may look, there are ways to sort it out. Find someone trustworthy to speak with when such thoughts cross your mind and try to distract yourself with an activity that makes you happy.

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