Develop a Safety Plan:
- DAFS is here to keep you, your children, and your pets safe. Children and pets are welcome in our shelters with the adult victim.
- Plan and practice how to leave your abusive situation
- Leave a set of keys in a safe place or with someone you trust. If available, also include money, prescriptions, and important paperwork.
- It’s also a good idea to have a list of important phone numbers and other information hidden somewhere.
- Teach your children how to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. It’s sometimes a good idea to teach them a codeword to let them know to call authorities.
- Have important items in one spot or place, so they can be grabbed quickly. These items could include information about jointly held investments and bank accounts; IDs for yourself and your children; birth certificates; Social Security cards; school and vaccine records; checkbook; ATM and credit cards; medications for you, children and pets; house deed and other legal papers; insurance cards; sentimental items you might not would get back after leaving such as jewelry or photos; children’s favorite toy or blanket; pet carrier or leash; or anything you think you must have. Remember, the most important step is saving the lives of you, your children, and your pets. If it comes down to leaving behind everything or gathering items, the choice would certainly be immediate safety.
- Keep any evidence of physical abuse (ripped clothes, photos of bruises and injuries, etc.)
- Call 9-1-1 if you’re in immediate danger. If you are injured, get checked out at an emergency room before calling DAFS or the shelter in your area.
- Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them: a room with a lock or a neighbor’s house where they can go for help. Reassure them their job is to stay safe, not protect you.
- Arrange a signal with a neighbor you trust. For example, if a certain outside light is on, call the police.
- Be sure you use a private browser or delete your history while researching about domestic violence online if you fear the abuser will see.
- Memorize the DAFS 24-hour crisis line: 1-800-649-1092. If you can not remember the number, the local police or sheriff department can get you in touch with us.