Get Help Help in a Crisis Help in a Crisis If you or your children are in immediate danger, call the police on 999. If you are not in immediate danger and would like to talk to us about your options, call our helpline on 03301 025811. We will provide you with the support and information you need to consider your options and decide what to do to improve your safety and that of your children. For more information about our services please see our Accommodation and Outreach services. Keeping Yourself and Others Safe You are not responsible for the abuse that you are experiencing and you can’t stop the abuse – only the abuser can do this. Domestic abuse may not end when you no longer live with the abuser and/or the relationship has ended. There are things that you can do that may improve your safety and the safety of others, including children, but this is not guaranteed. Remember, you will have the best understanding of the abuser’s behaviour, so only do what you think will help. In order to increase your safety you can: Call 999 in the event of an emergency. Make sure in an emergency children or any other dependents know to call 999 and what information they would need to give (their full name, address and telephone number), identify the safest place in your home for them to be or identify a way out for them and somewhere to go depending on their age. Plan what you will do and where you and you dependents, including children can go in an emergency and it is unsafe to remain in your home. If there is anyone else that you are worried about see our [other services] Plan an escape route from every room in your home. Think of a safe area in your home to go if an argument happens. Stay away from rooms with no exits, hard surfaces, or where there are objects which can be used as weapons e.g. the kitchen or bathroom. If possible, try to get any potential weapons out of the house. Arrange where you might go if you need to leave your home suddenly, is there a neighbour or do you have friends or family close by? Let your children and any other dependents know where to go if they need to leave the home. Make a list of safe people to contact. If possible memorise all important phone numbers, including your local domestic abuse services so that if the abuser takes your phone you still have numbers to call for help and support. If you feel able to, speak to a trusted neighbour about your situation – give them permission to call the Police if they see or hear something that concerns them e.g. a disturbance Create a ‘code word’ or ‘sign’ to use with friends, family, neighbours, professionals you are working with to let them know you are in danger and to ask for help without the abuser finding out. Try to keep some money with you at all times so you can use public transport / get a taxi if you need too. Find out where the nearest phone is that you can use. If you have a mobile phone, keep it charged on with you at all times. If you suffer injuries, try to access a GP / hospital as soon as possible, if you are unable to leave your home you can call 111. You may also be able to do some of the following: Keep a record of the abusive behaviour to support any future action you may choose to take; this could be a diary, a list or photos of injuries / criminal damage etc. If you want to, you can log incidents with the police, even if you do not want to press charges at present. Protect your online security as you collect information and prepare. Use a computer at a public library to download information, or use a friend’s computer or mobile phone. The abuser might be able to track your planning otherwise. Consider getting some legal advice to discuss what options are available to you [link to other services] If you want to stay in your home If the abuser does not live with you / no longer lives with you, you should consider: Making sure that all windows and doors are as secure as possible. Changing locks on doors and windows. Having additional security installed e.g. sensor security lighting/alarms. Changing your phone number, and ask for your calls to be screened when at work. Changing routines e.g. shop in different places at different times, and take different routes home etc. Informing trusted friends, relatives, neighbours that you no longer live / are in a relationship and they should call the police if they see the abuser near or trying to gain access to your home. Informing people who look after your children e.g. teachers, which people have permission to collect them. If you have an injunction, give a copy to the school. Changing the routes you use to take your children to school. If you want to leave your home Making the decision to leave your home is not easy – it can often be a dangerous time so planning how and when you leave can help increase your safety. You may not feel able to leave immediately, but you can be prepared and plan for what you would do if an emergency arises and you need to leave your home. You can: Have a bag packed with some essentials so you can leave in a hurry (things for you, your children and any other dependents – clothes, nappies, baby milk etc.) Keep important documents (e.g. marriage/ birth certificates, passport, driving licence, legal documents e.g. injunctions, divorce papers, immigration papers, housing documents e.g. mortgage/tenancy paperwork, financial records e.g. bank statements), money and bank cards, keys, medication and medical records and items of sentimental value to you and your children in a safe place so that they can be quickly and easily accessed. Consider leaving a bag with a trusted friend or relative containing the items you would need if you had to leave urgently. Try to take with you any evidence of the abuse. This might include diaries, threatening notes, copies of police and medical reports, pictures of your injuries or damage to your property. Only tell people you trust where you will be and if you need to lie to protect yourself and others then do so. Turn the location off on your phone. Snap Chat – ghost mode. Change passwords to email account etc. Always try to take your children and any other dependents with you or make arrangements to leave them with somewhere safe and in the care of someone you trust. Make plans for pets, if you are unable to take them with you. Try not to use a phone the abuser has access to (e.g. landline) but if you do and the last number you called was a domestic abuse service, refuge, taxi or the place you are going to stay, dial another number, for example, the Speaking Clock (dial 123). Your safety and emotional well being If you have to communicate with the abuser e.g. due to child contact, think about the safest way to do so. If you have to meet with them you could do this in a public space and let some-one know where you are going, when you arrive and when you have left. Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive about your needs. Get support from a domestic abuse support service. Decide who you can speak to openly about how you feel so they can give you the support you need. This could be a friend, family member, colleague, neighbour, doctor, domestic abuse support service. Talk to your children and let them know it is not their fault. Try to do things which would get you out of the house, such as walking your dog or going to the shops. Take care of yourself eat and sleep well. Be kind to yourself. Do things that promote you emotional wellbeing – meeting up with or talking on the phone to friends and families, hobbies, exercise, mindfulness.