I. SAFETY DURING AN ARGUMENT
- If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area that has access to an exit and not in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell would be best.
- Have a packed bag ready and keep it in an undisclosed but accessible place in order to leave quickly.
- Identify a neighbor you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need the police.
- Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you don’t think you will need to).
- Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he/she wants to calm them down. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
Always remember —YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE THREATENED OR HIT.
II. SAFETY WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
- Open a savings account in your own name to start to establish your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, and extra clothing with someone you can trust so you can leave quickly.
- Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you money.
- Keep the shelters phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
- Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safety way to leave your batterer.
REMEMBER — LEAVING YOUR BATTERER IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME.
III. SAFETY WITH A RESTRAINING ORDER
- Keep your restraining order on you at all times. When you change your purse or wallet that should be the first thing that goes in it.
- Call the police if your partner breaks the restraining order.
- Think of alternative ways to keep safe until the police respond.
- Inform family, friends, and neighbors that you have a restraining order in effect.
IV. SAFETY IN YOUR OWN HOME
- Change the locks on all your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devises to secure your windows.
- Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
- Inform your children’s school, day care, etc. about who has permission to pick them up.
- Inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see him/her near your home.
V. SAFETY ON THE JOB AND IN PUBLIC
- Decide whom at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security.
- Provide that person with a picture of your batterer if possible.
- Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls if possible
- Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your car, bus, or train. Use a variety of routes to go home by if possible. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home (i.e., in your car, on the bus, etc.). Have a plan in mind.
VI. YOUR SAFETY AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH
- If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
- If you have to communicate with your batterer, determine the safest way to do so.
- Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs.
- Read books, articles, and poems to help you feel stronger.
- Decide whom you can call to talk freely and openly with, to give you the support you need.
- Plan to attend a victim support group for at least two weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship.
VII. IF YOU ARE A TEEN IN A VIOLENT DATING RELATIONSHIP
- Get help from someone you trust, preferably an adult.
- End the relationship and choose not to see your partner.
- Contract your counseling center at school.
- Inform your parent(s) of the situation.
- Call 1-800-572-SAFE (7233) for referral to a local support program.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS, contact an advocate at your local police department, court, or one of the following numbers:
STATE WIDE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE
- (24 HOUR TELEPHONE SERVICE)
- (SERVICIO TELEFONICO – LAS 24 HORAS)
- (Confidential, bilingual, TDD-accessible)
- (SE HABLA Espanol)
- 1-800-572-SAFE (1-800-572-7233)
BATTERED WOMEN’S SHELTERS: (24-HOUR NUMBER)
- (SERVICIO TELEFONICO – LAS 24 HORAS) (Se habla Espanol)
- Mercer County 609-394-9000
- Middlesex County 732-249-4504
- Somerset County 866-685-1122
- Women Aware 24-HR Hotline 732-249-4504
- Middlesex County Center for Empowerment Hotline 1-877-665-7273
- New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence 609-584-8107
ELDERLY VICTIMS OF BATTERING:
- Elder Adult Protective Services 732-745-3635
- Office on Aging 732-745-3295
CHILD ABUSE — DIVISION YOUTH FAMILY SERVICES
- Child Abuse Hotline (State Central Registry)
- 1-877-NJ-ABUSE (1-877-652-2873)
- TTY 1-800-835-5510