There are many reasons why you may not be ready to leave your relationship. This means that it is vital for you to put a personal safety plan in place.
A safety plan is your way of taking back some control and will help you to protect yourself and your children.
When you are in a state of crisis, when the situation has escalated, you may well be in Freeze or Flop mode. In this state you will experience inertia and brain fog and maybe can’t think what to do next.
If you have a personal safety plan then you have done all your thinking in advance and all you have to do now is implement it.
A personal safety plan will help you to stay safe within the relationship and it will also help you if you decided to leave.
Much as you may wish you can, the sad reality is that you cannot stop your partner’s violence or abuse. Only they can do that. What you can do, what is under YOUR control, is what you do to protect yourself and your children.
- Give some thought to the kinds of situations you have experienced, the various crises that have occurred, and think about how you might respond if they were to happen again.
- Keep important and emergency telephone numbers readily to hand/stored on your phone e.g. West Cornwall Women’s Aid; Refuge; police domestic violence unit; GP; social worker, if you have one; your children's school; your solicitor and the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
- Make sure your children know to call 999 in an emergency and practice with them what they would need to say e.g. their full name, address and telephone number
- Do you have neighbours you can trust and who you could go to in an emergency? If you do, then tell them what is going on and ask them to call the police if they hear sounds of a violent attack. We know how hard it is to admit to others what is going on, but this is about your safety and the safety of your children and it’s important to be able to call on any resource that may be available.
It’s a good idea to make a list of safe people to contact – and how to contact them.
Once you have confided in a neighbour or friend, it can be a good idea to agree a code word or sign so that they will know if you are in trouble
- Keep an emergency bag packed at all times, both for yourself and your childen. Hide it somewhere safe, maybe at a friend or neighbour’s house that way, if necessary, you can leave at a moment’s notice.
- Make sure you always have a small amount of money on you.
- Make sure you know where the nearest phone is, and if you have a mobile phone, try to keep it with you.
- If you suspect that your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower risk area of the house – somewhere with a way out and access to a telephone. Avoid the kitchen or garage as there are likely to be knives or other weapons stored in these places; 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.