I'm still living with my abuser
If you're still living with your abuser, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your children.
It's important to plan in advance for the possibility of future violence and abuse.
To help you prepare to stay safer, use this plan - domestic violence safety plan.
Steps to increase your safety
Steps to increase safety for you and your children include:
- Cover your tracks online. If you're worried about someone knowing which websites you've visited, read these steps to increase your online safety
- Plan how you might respond in different situations, including crisis situations. Think about the different options that may be available to you.
- Keep with you any important and emergency telephone numbers, for example, domestic violence support service and helplines, the police domestic violence unit, your GP, your social worker if you have one, your children’s school and your solicitor.
- Teach your children to call 999 in an emergency, and what they'd need to say, for example, their full name, address and phone number.
- Be ready to call 999 if you or your children are in danger. You could look up how to set a speed dial on your phone so when you dial 9 it calls 999.
- Are there neighbours you can trust, where you could go in an emergency? If so, tell them what's going on, and ask them to call the police if they hear sounds of a violent attack.
- Create code words or phrases for friends and children so they know when to call for help or get to somewhere safer.
- Rehearse an escape plan, so that in an emergency you and the children can get away safely.
- Pack an emergency bag for you and your children, and hide it somewhere safe, for example, at a reliable neighbour’s or friend’s house. Your bag should include:
- Some form of identification
- Birth certificates for you and your children
- Passports, including passports for all your children, visas and work permits
- Money, bank books, cheque books, credit and debit cards
- Keys for the house, car and place of work. Get an extra set of keys cut for the emergency bag
- Cards for the payment of child benefit and any other welfare benefits you're entitled to
- Driving license if you have one and any car registration documents
- Prescribed medication
- Copies of documents relating to your housing tenure, for example, mortgage details or lease and rental agreements
- Insurance documents, including national insurance number
- Address book
- Family photographs, your diary, jewellery, small items of sentimental value
- Clothing and toiletries for you and your children
- Your children’s favourite small toys
- Any documentation relating to the abuse, for example, police reports, court orders, medical records
- Try to keep a small amount of money on you at all times – including change for the phone and bus fares.
- Know where the nearest phone is and if you have a mobile phone, try to keep it with you.
- If you suspect that your abuser is about to attack you, try to go to a lower risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone. Avoid the kitchen or garage where there are likely to be knives or other weapons, and avoid rooms where you might be trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
- Be prepared to leave the house in an emergency.
- If at all possible, try to set aside a small amount of money each week, or even open a separate bank account.