General Safety Recommendations
• It takes strength, courage, and the willingness to make difficult choices in order to protect yourself and your children. Although there is no way to predict your perpetrator’s use of violence, always try to make the choice that seems most likely to lead to the highest possible level of safety for you and your children. You know your perpetrator best. Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, trust yourself to make the best decision.
• Cell phones, electronic devices and social media sites can track your location. Turn off GPS locaters and consider the safety risk when using these devices and sites. Be mindful of posting pictures and identifying information. Keep your cell phone charged and make sure emergency numbers are easily accessible.
• Think carefully before telling friends or family members where you are. Talk with children or individuals within your support system about what to tell others (including the perpetrator) if asked where you are staying. Set boundaries and determine who is safe to share information with.
• Think about strategies for establishing safety in each part of your daily living (ex. at work, at school, in the shelter, finances and etc.). Be able to quickly access important paperwork or legal documents including orders of protection and restraining orders. It may be helpful to make multiple copies and share with designated safe persons. Talk with your employer, coworkers and child’s school officials. Separate financial accounts or business matters. Be aware of your surroundings. Vary your routes.
Safety While Preparing to Leave an Abusive Partner
Because leaving an abusive relationship is often the most dangerous time, here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to leave:
• Consider your partner’s routine when deciding the best time to leave. If possible, try to leave when you have at least a two hour window of time where your partner will not be home.
• Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them, like a room with a lock or a friend’s house where they can go for help. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe.
• Think about any obstacles that would prevent you from being able to leave as planned. Identify trusted family members, friends, coworkers or neighbors that may be helpful with planning.
• If possible, pack important medication, documents and identification such as: state ID, birth certificates and social security cards for you and your kids, school records including IEP plans,
debit/credit cards, insurance cards, titles for home or cars, lease agreements, police reports, hospital records, pictures or any other evidence that may prove abuse. • If possible, set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.
• If possible, have a phone accessible at all times. Keep it charged and save important numbers, including Crisisline, local shelters and law enforcement.
• Turn off all GPS and location services on electronic devices belonging to you and your children, including phones, social media accounts, navigation systems, laptops, tablets, smart watches and etc. **If needed, see Technology and Tracking Devices section for directions for disabling these location services.
Technology and Tracking Devices
Technology is often used by abusers in a way that is a detriment to their partners. Abusers can use technology to track locations, stalk, and harass their partners. Here are some things to keep in mind about technology and tracking devices:
- Do you have any type of cell phone, tablet, or laptop? Do you know how to turn off your GPS and Location Services?
- How to turn off GPS and Location Services for Apple Devices:
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
- Make sure that Location Services is on.
- Scroll down to find the app.
- Tap the app and select an option:
- Never: Prevents access to Location Services information.
- How to turn off GPS on Android Devices:
- Open the App Drawer and go to Settings.
- Scroll down and tap Location.
- Scroll down and tap Google Location Settings.
- Tap Location Reporting and Location History and switch the slider to off for each one.
- To delete your phone’s location cache, tap “Delete Location History” at the bottom of the screen under Location History.
- Repeat this process for each Google Account you have on your Android device.
- Go back to the Location Screen and turn Location off.
- Delete or turn off any shared apps (ex. Family locator, Find My Friends, Life 360, OnStar, etc.) on your electronic or navigation devices.
- Check all electronic devices and delete any apps that you did not download or that you do not recognize.
- Change any passwords or user options that you have for email accounts, social media, school, phone, banking or any other things that your partner may has access to, including accounts or services that may be linked to your children’s name.
- Consider deactivating social media accounts belonging to you and your children or blocking your perpetrator and mutual family and friends on social media.
- If you believe that your partner may have put a tracking device on your vehicle, check for devices in the trunk, under the seat, in the glove department or the hood of the car. Please notify law enforcement or the shelter before arriving if you have concerns that you are being tracked or followed.
Safety While Living With an Abusive Partner
Here are some things to keep in mind to minimize any violent behavior, aggression, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse:
- Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If possible, avoid potentially dangerous areas (ex. kitchens, bathrooms, rooms with hard surfaces, rooms without exits, etc.) when a violent incident is occurring.
- Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you.
- If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help. Keep your phone charged and save important numbers, including Crisisline, local shelters and law enforcement.
- Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.
- Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Identify places they can hide when a violent incident is occurring. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.
- Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.
- Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.
- Keep weapons like guns and knives locked away and as inaccessible as possible.
- Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and others locked — for a quick escape.
Online Resources for Safety Planning: