Safety Strategies for Survivors of Abuse
This information can help you increase your safety if you are in an abusive relationship.
If you are in an abusive relationship:
- Think of a relatively safe place in your home to go if an argument occurs. Avoid rooms with no exits (bathrooms), or rooms with weapons (the kitchen).
- Keep a list of safe people to contact in a hidden, but easy to find location. If necessary, memorize important numbers.
- Call the Office of the Dean of Students (434-924-7216) the Women’s Center Gender Violence and Social Change (434-982-2910) and the Shelter for Help in Emergency (434-293-8509) to find out the help and resources available to you.
- Keep your cell phone charged at all times.
- Establish a "code word” so that family, friends, teachers or co-workers know to call for help.
- Plan how you will respond to your partner if he/she becomes violent.
- Have a set of clothes and sets of important documents (savings account records, check books, safety deposit keys, birth certificates, school records, deeds, other legal documents) for yourself and for your children stored at a friend's house or at work in the event you need to flee your house.
- Take pictures of physical injuries resulting from the abuse as soon as possible.
- If you have children, practice emergency drills with them. Teach them how to dial 911.
- If you have a protective order, carry it with you at all times. Make extra copies.
- Trust your own judgment and intuition. If a situation is serious, you may choose to give your partner what he wants in order to calm him down and temporarily de-escalate the abuse. You have the right to protect yourself however you see fit.
- Remember you have the right to live without fear and violence.
If you have left the relationship:
- Change your phone number.
- Screen calls and put a block on your number so that you can’t be identified.
- Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.
- Change locks, if the batterer has a key.
- Avoid staying alone.
- Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
- If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place.
- Vary your routine.
- Notify school and work contacts.
- Call the resources noted above for further information and support.