As part of her service and applied learning project for Patient Care II class, Diane Weikle, Medical Assisting student at MSB-Shakopee, created a “Personal Safety Plan” brochure for those involved in a violent relationship.
Here are Diane’s researched tips:
First, DON’T PANIC!
If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target; dive into a corner and curl up into
a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.
*If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help. Know where the nearest pay phone is located. Know the phone number to your local battered women’s shelter. Don’t be afraid to call the police.
*Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help. Be sure to contact only people you trust that will not divulge your location to your abuser.
*Keep weapons like guns and knives locked away and as inaccessible as possible.
*Practice how to get out of the house.
Second, PLAN HEAD!
Here are important things to take with you:
*Money: cash, coins, checkbook, credit cards
*Address book including emergency numbers
*Insurance cards, papers, proof of
*Birth and marriage certificates for all
*ID and Social Security Cards
*Keys, car, home, office.
*Vehicle title and registration
*School and Medical Records
*Passports, green cards, work permits
*Protective order, divorce papers, custody orders
*Bank papers–open new account secretly.
*Valued pictures, jewelry or personal items
*Mortgage information /Lease rental agreements
*A few comfort items for everyone leaving
Third, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
Include the children in the planning:
Children will be afraid and may need special care even though you are afraid, too.
- Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.
- Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.
- Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.
- Plan for what you will do if your children tell your partner of your plan or if your partner otherwise finds out about your plan.
*Have a bag packed and keep it in a safe place that you can access quickly and safely.
*Have a friend or neighbor that will call 911 if they hear sounds of conflict in your home.
*Think about places you can go if you leave home. Have phone numbers written down. Know your Emergency (9-1-1), police, hospital and National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233), 1-800-787-3224 TTY (for the deaf) numbers.
Make sure you have all medical information needed including ID numbers, phone numbers, and immunization information.
Things to consider:
Safety planning for someone involved in an abusive relationship is a necessary and important step. Planning can be used while you are still with your abuser or after the relationship has ended. While still in an abusive relationship, your safety is of primary importance.
Before leaving you may want to create a false trail. Call motels, real estate agencies and schools in a town at least six hours away from where you plan to relocate. Ask questions that require a call back to your house in order to leave phone numbers on record.
In the words of Di, an abuse victim, “It’s not easy, this decision of yours. Life isn’t fair, your mother made it clear. If you were the only one it may be easier, but life isn’t fair your mother made it clear.”
Diane Weikle distributed these colorful brochures to the CAP Agency in Shakopee, MN.