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Safety Strategy

If you live in an abusive relationship it would be sensible to make the following personal crisis plan. Your personal safety strategy gives you the opportunity to be prepared for future crises, consequently assisting you in gaining control over your situation and your safety.

It is up to you, which measures are important to you. The following points are only suggested guidelines for you to follow at your discretion. These guidelines are no substitute for counselling. The best safety strategy cannot ensure protection! Look for protection, aid and assistance from a women’s refuge.

Emergency escape plan

  • You should plan an escape route out of harm’s way if that is possible. What is the fastest route out of your home?
  • Think how you can move to safety within your flat, where can you find protection.
  • Which rooms have access to the outside world and can be locked at the same time? (e.g. do they have windows to leave by or to call for help from?).
  • Does your mobile function in these rooms?
  • Are you able to call the police?

Phoning

  • Do you always have the possibility to phone for help?
  • Emergency numbers should be saved on your cell phone.
  • Where else can you call from at all times. Do you have neighbours you can phone from?
  • You should always have coins to be able to call from a phone booth in case of emergency.

Emergency numbers

Make a list of numbers and addresses important to you including relatives, friends and aid organisations.

Further important emergency numbers are

  • women’s shelters (Frauenhäuser) 05 77 22
  • Police 133
  • Ambulance 144
  • Fire brigade 122

You might forget phone numbers in a critical situation that you usually know of by heart.

Support

  • Who do you know near by who could help you?
  • Do you have a neighbour whom you can trust?
  • Talk to her about your situation. Ask her to notify the police if she should hear loud commotion or cries for help. You could agree on a particular sign when you need her help (like tapping on the wall or putting a particular object in the window). Many neighbours need the extra request from someone to act otherwise they feel they are "meddling in someone else’s business".

Children

It is of the greatest importance, to explain the situation to your children, according to their age.

What you should discuss with your children:

  • Not to let their father or stepfather in to the home, if the occasion should arise.
  • How they can notify the police in an emergency.
  • How to react if their father or stepfather wants to pick them up in front of school or kindergarten, (don’t forget to inform the school or kindergarten
  • That it might be necessary to leave the house.

Talk to your children; let them tell you how they feel. Children often believe they are to blame for the violence. Tell them they are not to blame for the violence.

Keys

Make another set of keys. Important keys like keys to your home, the car…. Keep them in a secure place, outside the house, with a friend for instance.

Documents, bank books, other valuables

Keep a copy of all your important documents and put the originals and other valuables in a secure place.

Emergency bag

Prepare a bag with the most important items for yourself and your children. Keep this bag in a safe place. This bag should contain the following items: Essential documents, addresses, clothes, toiletries, prescribed medication, keys, money, the children’s toys…

Evidence

Note the incidents of abuse (in a diary for instance) take pictures of your injuries, or destruction, which has taken place in your home. Your notes will be useful if you are planning to report the incident to the police.

Accommodation

Talk to your friends and relatives whether you will be able to stay with them in an emergency. This accommodation should be safe and you should have access to it at all times. It would be useful if your friends or relatives gave you a key.

On the other hand, you can contact a women’s refuge, if you wish, it can be reached 24- hours a day.

Your own ideas

Can you think of more security measures? Consider your particular way of life and domestic situation.

Should you need assistance contact the refuges or the council center.