Create a Safety Plan

If you are considering leaving a violent relationship, you will probably have many questions and apprehensions about what happens next. Should you decide to leave your partner it is a good idea to put a plan in place so that you are practically, emotionally and financially prepared. This will also ensure that you do not need to return home in order to pick up forgotten items. The following section provides you with information on how to set up a safety plan. Please be aware that some of these options may be possible for you, some may not. Do not do anything that you feel could compromise yours or your children safety.

Before you leave

Consider creating an escape fund. An escape fund could come in useful should you need to leave your home in a hurry and will also prepare you should you need to access alternative accommodation for you and your children. You can create an emergency fund by putting aside small amounts of money. These should be relatively small amounts that will not be missed by your partner and will not raise alarm. It may be the case that your partner controls your funds and that you are unable to gain access to any money. If you or your children are in danger and need to leave your partner immediately there are a number of emergency funds you can access. This could include asking a friend, family member or someone you trust if there is a possibility of lending some money in case of an emergency. Alternatively you can apply for a crisis loan from your local benefits office – for more information visit www.advice.org.uk

Be prepared

The Haven Wolverhampton suggests the following:

  • Think of people you can trust in an emergency and let them know of your intentions; this may be a friend or work colleague but make sure it is someone you feel sure you can rely on not to disclose the information to your partner.
  • Alert your neighbor and ask them to call the Police should they become suspicious of any violent activity.
  • Talk to your children about your escape plan, teach them to call 999 and how to give their full name, address and telephone number should they need to use it in an emergency.
  • Make a list of important telephone numbers and addresses. These should include; your GP, local police station, social worker (if you have one), your solicitor, children’s school, local benefits office and local refuges.
  • Identify your nearest phone box should you need to use it in an emergency.
  • Pack an emergency bag for yourself and your children and leave it with a friend or neighbour. This could include;
  • A supply of clothes and toiletries for you and your children
  • Any prescribed medication
  • Keys for your house, car and place of work (if possible you may wish to think about getting extra keys cut)
  • Some form of identification for you and your children such as your passport or birth certificate
  • Details of any benefits you are receiving
  • Pay slips
  • Debit Cards, Credit Cards, Cheque Books
  • Driving License and Car Registration details
  • National Insurance card or a copy of your National Insurance number
  • Documentation relating to the ownership of your home, mortgage or tenancy
  • Documentation of any household items that may belong to you
  • Details of any bills that are in your name
  • Details of any credit cards / loans that are in your name

If you are unable to access original documents, or you think your partner may notice that such documents are missing, you could take photocopies of the originals or alternatively note down the relevant reference numbers. The Haven Wolverhampton suggests gathering items for your escape over an extended period of time so as to avoid your partner becoming suspicious of any items going missing. Remember to leave your bag in a place where your partner is not likely to look for it, or alternatively ask a friend or neighbour to keep hold of it until you are ready to leave.

When the time comes to leave be sure to know where it is you need to go – will it be at a friends, family member or refuge? Try to time your departure when your partner will not be around to avoid him/her trying to stop you. This could be whilst your partner is out of the house socialising or at work.

If the last number you dialled was a taxi, refuge or the place you intend to travel to, dial another number – for example, the Speaking Clock (dial 123). Do not leave pieces of paper with names, numbers or addresses on them. Remember that writing can be imprinted through more than one page on a jotter/note pad.

The Haven Wolverhampton has developed a toolkit that can also help you with your finance issues and includes a safety plan in order to being financially prepared to leave your partner. To download your copy of the guide please click here.

Remember if you do not have time to follow the safety plan and find yourself in immediate danger call 999.

 

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