For many victims, it begins with literally taking one step away. The key to leaving safely starts with a safety plan that works for you and your particular situation. A good place for guidelines on safety planning can be determined through a conversation with a victim advocate from any domestic violence shelter from our directory. We encourage you to speak with a civic professional such as a shelter worker, a church counselor, your child's school nurse, or an operator at The Hotline, or 911. After you are safe and in a secure public place, call Families to Freedom for help with free transportation to available shelter or to the home of family far away.
The following guidelines are adapted from the Dallas Police Family Violence Unit
- Think about how you would get out of your home quickly. Which doors, windows, stairs, elevators allow for a fast, safe exit? If possible, practice the routes.
- Plan where you will go once you are out – a neighbor’s home, a relative’s, the apartment manager, etc.
- Teach your children how to dial 911 to call for help. Practice your safety plan with them.
- Set aside some emergency money you can get to quickly. Keep quarters handy in case you have to use a pay phone.
- Memorize telephone numbers of friends, relatives, and a shelter.
When you decide to leave:
It is helpful to take documents like those listed below. It is important to remember, though, that safety for you and your children come first. Make sure you are safe before you worry about collecting property or documents. (It is okay to leave even if you are unable to secure anything on this checklist.)
- Photo ID
- Prescription medicines
- Bank books, checks, credit cards
- Keys to car, home, office
- Essential clothes & shoes
Important papers like:
- Legal Papers
- Birth Certificates
- Medical/ Shot Records
- Rental Agreements
- Green Cards
- Address Book
Some other things you might take if you have time and can do so safely:
- Sentimental items like photos
- Cosmetics and hygiene products
- Special Children’s Toys
- Extra Change of Clothes