If you are experiencing abuse,no doubt you are already doing a lot of things to avoid the abuse and to keep yourself and children, if you have them, safe. It is important to stay safe. Having a safety plan in place may also help you achieve this. Remember to always call 999 in an emergency. 

Stay safe in the home

Abuse is most likely to take place in the home, but there are things that you can do which will keep you safer. 

Try and avoid arguments in the kitchen. There are more objects which can be used as weapons, such as knives and hot equipment which could burn or scald you.

Always have your phone near you so that you can dial 999 in an emergency. 

If your abuser has left the family home and you are in the process of going through the separating process, take out an injunction against them to stay away and have a panic alarm fitted. DON’T be afraid to use this alarm.

Change the locks to your home

Are your neighbours people that you can trust? Do you have someone close by who could help in an emergency situation? Ask them to contact the police if they see your abuser and/or hear or see any concerning behaviour. 

Have an emergency bag in a safe place of important things in case you need to leave the house quickly e.g spare set of keys, bank cards, medications, important documents. You could also keep an emergency bag at a trusted friend's, neighbour's or family member's house. 

Plan an escape route to leave your house quickly and safely if you need to e.g a window or back door. Keep your emergency bag nearby in a safe place if possible along with spare car keys. 

Keep your children safe

Unfortunately many children witness abuse and get caught in the middle. It is important that your child knows the following things:

How to call for help. How to dial 999 and what to say to the operator. 

Which adults are to be trusted and which adults are not. Help your child identify which adults they feel safe and comfortable with and which adults they do not. Talk about it and encourage them to ask for help if they need it of these trusted adults. 

For more information on supporting your child through emotional trauma, please see our advice page how can I support my child?

Keeping safe whilst at work

Whether you have left your abusive partner or are still with him, it is important to stay safe outside of the family home. If you are working, there are strategies you can implement to stay safe:

Tell your manager/boss of the situation. They have a duty of care whilst you are at work and many women experiencing domestic abuse find their jobs are jeopardised by their partner’s behaviour.

Try not to go to and from work alone. Have a colleague or friend escort you.

If you are planning to leave

If you are planning to leave your abusive partner it is very important to plan this carefully. Think about the following things:

Leave when you know it's safe to do so, for example when your abuser is not home. Make sure that you give yourself enough time, before he comes home.

Have a bag packed with some clothes, identification, money and bank details, food and water. 

Make sure that you have somewhere to go. Have you got a friend or family member that you can go to? Someone who won’t tell your abuser where you are? If you don't feel you can go to a friend or family member then there are other options available to you such as a refuge. Call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 to talk about your options in advance. 

Make sure any tracking devices on your phone have been switched off/removed. If in doubt make a note of some important phone numbers to take with you and leave the phone behind.

It is important to remember that you are strong. Even though leaving a relationship is never easy, you have overcome many challenges before and you can again. Remember you are not alone and there are people who can help. If you need to talk to someone about options, or just need to talk to someone you can call SAFE on 030 30 30 0112.