MAKING AN ESCAPE PLAN
MAKING AN ESCAPE PLAN FROM A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ABUSER
You may be asking yourself, is this abuse? Whether or not you have decided to leave the person who has hurt you, it is important to explore your safety options in case of an emergency.
DECIDING TO LEAVE A VIOLENT RELATIONSHIP
Here are some helpful tips for preparing a planned exit; REMEMBER you cannot control your abuser and you are not responsible for ending the violence but you can be aware of safety options that may assist you in the future:
Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you do not think you will need to). This should be a safe place from which you can call for further assistance.
Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
Have a packed bag ready and keep it in a secret place that is easy to reach. Leave money, an extra set of keys, extra clothes and, if you can, copies of important documents with someone you trust.
Open a savings account in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence.
Keep the crisis line phone number close at hand or, better yet, memorize it. Keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
Look for a safe computer at work, the library or a friend’s house where your Internet history can’t be viewed.
Use a code word or signal with family or friends when you need the police.
Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your abuser.
DOCUMENTS TO BRING WITH YOU
Every bit of information helps. Try to bring as many of these documents with you as you possibly can:
All bank account numbers, credit union and 401(k) information
Extra key for the safe deposit box and info
Copies of car titles and past 3 years’ income tax returns
Deeds to joint or individual property
Copies of outstanding loans, amount of monthly payments
Joint and individual credit cards with balances. Get your name removed from joint cards if possible
Pay stubs for at least 2 months
Copies of your and the abuser’s signature cards at the bank, CDs and bonds
Copy of any Personal Protection Order (PPO)
Copies of all insurance policies, wills, trust fund or pension fund information
Abuser’s Social Security number, driver’s license number, work address and number; addresses and numbers of friends; criminal history; license plate number and recent pictures
Unless an attorney advises you not to, if you leave, take all personal assets and half of all joint assets (for example, bonds, checking account, credit card)
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE NATIONAL COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (NCADV)
NCADV’s Main Office
One Broadway, Suite B210
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 839-1852
Fax: (303) 831-9251
For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call
THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE
HOW TO HELP A VICTIM
HOW TO SUPPORT A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
It is important to learn as much as you can about the impact and effects of domestic violence or sexual assault. It’s also important to remember there is no one way to react to trauma. Being present and bearing witness to someone’s trauma and story not only empowers them but also shows concern, support, and provides validation during a very difficult time.
In addition to recognizing some of the symptoms, there are things you can say to help during this difficult time.
KEEP TELLING HER “IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.”
Never blame your friend. Don’t let her blame herself. Domestic violence and rape are never the victim’s fault, even if she did not yell for help or fight back or was drinking.
LET HER KNOW THAT HER SURVIVAL IS WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT.
It will be reassuring to her to hear that what is most important is that she is alive and got through the experience as best she could. Questions like “Why did you go there alone?” are blaming, not reassuring.
TELL HER THAT YOU BELIEVE SHE WAS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED.
If you communicate that you believe her, you will be helping your friend a great deal. If she says she was raped, then that’s enough even if she didn’t scream or there was no evidence of harm.
LET HER KNOW YOU WILL SUPPORT HER BY LISTENING TO HER.
Be supportive by listening, not judging. Be supportive by listening, not prying. Let her take her time to share the details. Let her share only what she is willing to.
ASK HER WHAT SHE NEEDS FROM YOU INSTEAD OF TELLING HER HOW TO HANDLE HERSELF.
Let her be in control of who knows about the assault and how she manages her life. This will help her feel she is regaining the control she lost by being victimized.
TELL HER IT’S OK TO TALK ABOUT HER FEELINGS FOR AS LONG AS SHE NEEDS TO.
It’s normal to feel angry, afraid, anxious and depressed. If her feelings intensify and seem to continue to overwhelm her and she is not reaching out for professional help, support her in getting help.
TALK WITH HER ABOUT SAFETY PLANNING.
Many friends and family members focus on convincing their friends to leave the violent relationship. In reality, the time of leaving can be the most dangerous. Allow your friend the space and time necessary to contemplate her future and her safety. A safety plan is the best place to start. THRIVE SC has trained staff who can help.
TELL HER ABOUT THRIVE SC
She may be feeling alone, scared or confused. Not knowing where to go or whom to ask for help can make a traumatic experience even scarier. By letting her know organizations like THRIVE SC are here to help, you can help her ease some of those feelings and start to focus on gaining back control of her life.
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY HAVEN
801 Vanguard Drive
Pontiac, MI 48341
Phone Number for General Inquiries