Domestic and Family Violence Safety Resource

Downloadable PDF Version – DV Safety Resource (PDF 0.3MB)


General saftey strategies
Saftey during violence
Safety at home
Workplace & public safety
Safety planning with children
Important documents to keep with you

Everyone has the right to feel safe and live in an environment free from violence.

As a way of achieving this, we have a number of suggestions to prepare yourself for a time when you, or others in your care, are in danger or at risk of danger.

General saftey strategies

  • Plan an escape route
  • Have a bag packed with important documents (see page 3), money, spare set of keys, clothes, personal items. Alternatively you could leave a bag with a trusted friend or family member.
  • Devise a code with the neighbours so they know to call police (i.e. switch lights on and off, pull blinds up and down, code words).
  • Devise a code word with other members of the family living in the house so they know to leave or to seek help.
  • Plan where you will go when you leave the house.
  • Consider installing an alarm system so you can push the emergency button if able.
  • Consider opening a separate savings account in your name, to increase your independence and so you will have access to money when you leave.
  • Know the Domestic Violence hotline number and other emergency numbers.
  • Keep spare change or a prepaid call card for telephone calls should you not have access to a mobile. You may also choose not to use the mobile if your ex/partner will have access to the telephone bills.
  • Review your safety plan frequently and practice with children in your care when appropriate.
  • Keep any evidence of physical abuse such as photographic pictures. Keep a diary of violent incidents including dates, times and what occurred.
  • If injured, seek medical assistance and ensure the Doctor documents your visit.
  • Have the police emergency number listed in your mobile phone, possibly under a ‘code name’, so that it is the first number on your contact list or in your speed dial numbers.

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Saftey during violence

(in accordance with the measures suggested above)

  • Go to an area that has a clear and unobstructed exit.
  • Avoid going to an area that has knives, weapons or hard surfaces (like a bathroom).
  • Stay in a room with a phone. Ensure your mobile has plenty of charge at all times.
  • Call police immediately, if able, or when you are next able to make that call.

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Safety at home

(when the perpetrator does not live with you)

  • Change the locks on all doors.
  • Consider installing additional security on windows and doors.
  • Install a sensor light or additional lighting for outside areas.
  • Change phone numbers or invest in an answering machine to screen calls.
  • Talk to the neighbours and notify them that your ex/partner is not to approach the property or the family. They are to contact police if this occurs.
  • Call police if you see your ex/partner approaching.
  • Get a dog as they act as great security alarms.
  • Advise the schools, day-care centres, etc that your ex/partner is not allowed to contact the children.

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Workplace & public safety

  • Tell your boss, security and any other relevant person about your situation
  • Explore the possibility of having your phone calls screened
  • Vary the routes taken to and from work. (i.e. get off a bus stop earlier or later and walk to destination)
  • Devise a plan should a problem arise whilst commuting to and from work. (i.e.: go straight to the police, safe house, etc)
  • Vary the places you visit: shop at different supermarkets or go to different social places to meet friends and family, and vary the times you would normally go
  • Use a different bank and bank at different hours then when you did previously with your ex/partner

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Safety planning with children

  • Teach children how to help. Encourage them NOT to get involved in the violence between you and your ex/partner.
  • Teach the children to go to the identified safe area if arguments occur.
  • Plan a code word to signal to your children when they should leave the house and seek help.
  • Practice how to be safe with the children.
  • Tell children that violence is never right even when it is someone they love that is being violent.
  • Always tell your children that neither you nor they are at fault or the cause of the violence.

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Important documents to keep with you

  • Marriage and Driver’s licenses.
  • Birth Certificates – yours and family’s.
  • Check books, credit cards, ATM cards, mortgage payment book, car title.
  • Social Security card, work permit, passport, visa’s, etc.
  • Divorce, custody papers and restraining orders.
  • Insurance papers and medical records.
  • Lease, rental agreement and/or house deed.
  • School and health records.
  • Medications, glasses, hearing aids, etc needed by you or your family.
  • Address book, pictures, toys.
  • Benefit cards.
  • Obtain a reference from landlords for future housing applications.
  • Alternatively you could copy these documents and items and leave with a trusted person.

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