Staying Safe: If You Are in a Violent Relationship
If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number. Be careful online too. Your online activity may be seen by others. Do not use your personal computer or device to read about this topic. Use a safe computer such as one at work, a friend's house, or a library.
Making a plan will help provide for your safety and your children's safety. Here are some tips to help you:
- Hide weapons.
Try to hide guns, ammunition, knives, and any other weapons, unless hiding them creates an unsafe situation for you. If hiding the weapons isn't possible, try to make them hard to find or use.
- Go to a safe room when an argument occurs.
Avoid rooms with no exits, such as closets or bathrooms, or a room such as the kitchen with objects that can be used as weapons. Also, keep your children out of these unsafe rooms.
- Think of a code.
Create a code word or sign that can be used to alert family, friends, teachers, or coworkers when to call for help.
- Try to have a phone available at all times.
Think about hiding a prepaid cell phone to use in emergencies. If you don't have a cell phone, keep change with you at all times to make emergency phone calls.
- Make a habit of backing your car into the driveway.
Make sure that there's always gas in the tank. Keep the driver's door unlocked, and lock all other doors. Have a copy of the car key made, and hide it in the car.
- Leave right away if you or your children are in danger.
- Try to move into safe areas of your home if leaving is not possible..
Make yourself physically smaller by curling into a ball and covering your head and face with your hands.
- Alert your neighbors.
Consider telling neighbors about the violence, and ask that they call the police if they hear loud noises coming from the house.
- Teach your children not to get in the middle of a fight.
Contact a local advocacy group for support, information, and advice on how to stay safe. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233), or see the website at www.ndvh.org for the nearest advocacy program. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English, Spanish, and other languages.
Also, see the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's website at https://ncadv.org/resources to find programs that offer shelter and legal support.
Current as of: June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine