MY PERSONAL SAFETY PLAN
The Gateway Center highly encourages those seeking a safety plan to consult with a Domestic Violence Advocate at the Gateway Center. Our advocates have expertise in these matters. It is a walk-in drop-in center, welcoming between 9 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday.
Creating a personal safety plan is a good idea for increasing your safety and preparing to protect yourself in case of further abuse. Remember these guidelines as you think about your plan:
- Although I can't control my abuser's violence, I do have a choice about how I respond and how I get to safety.
- I will decide for myself if and when I will tell others that I have been abused, or that I am still at risk.
- Friends, family and co-workers can help protect me, if they know what is happening, and what they can do to help.
Think about some of the practical steps you may need to take in order to stay safe:
- Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs - avoid rooms with no exits (bathrooms) or rooms with weapons (kitchen).
- Think about and make a list of safe people to contact - try to memorize important phone numbers.
- Think about what you will say to your partner if they become violent.
- Establish a "code word" or "sign" so that family, friends or trusted ones know when to call for help.
**** Remember, you have the right to live without fear and violence. ****
If you are thinking of leaving the relationship, take important documents with you for yourself and your children such as:
- Photo ID
- Social Security cards
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificate
- Checkbook, charge cards, bank statements
- Leases and or deeds
- Insurance policies
- Proof of income of your own and your partner's
- Documentation of past abuse such as photos, journal, medical records, police reports, legal documents, etc.
If you have already left the relationship:
- Change your phone number.
- Screen calls.
- Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the abuser.
- Change locks, if the batterer has a key.
- Avoid staying alone.
- Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner. If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place.
- Vary your routine.
- Notify school and work contacts.
- Call a shelter hot line if you need a place to stay overnight.
If you are experiencing domestic violence and realize it may affect your work:
- Notify your supervisor and the human relations manager about your situation.
- Discuss options available to you such as scheduling, safety precautions, exits and parking.
- Employee/Family Assistance benefits.
- Submit a recent photo of the abuser to your safety manager in the event of a confrontation at work.
- Request that all information be treated with confidentiality to provide your safety and well-being.
If you are the co-worker of someone who is experiencing domestic violence:
- If you suspect a co-worker is suffering abuse, do not directly confront her/him since it is important for an individual to self-disclose her/his own safety and well-being.
- Express concern and a willingness to listen and be supportive if needed.
- Offer support by listening and assisting; when an individual is ready, she/he will confide.
- If a co-worker confides in you, encourage communication with the human resources manager and her/his supervisor.
- If you witness an incident at work, contact your safety manager or law enforcement immediately. Make sure that the incident is documented.
If you are the supervisor or manager of an employee who is experience domestic violence:
- Be aware of unusual absences or behavior and take note of bruises or emotional distress.
- Contact the human resources manager to discuss concerns, resources available and ways to support the employee such as safety planning, employee assistance counseling, family resource referrals, flexible scheduling, security measures.
- Be familiar with community resources and referrals.
- Maintain confidentiality at all time; be sensitive to the seriousness of the situation.
- Discuss who is appropriate to speak with the employee; agree on all forms of communication such as providing the safety manager with a photo if there is a risk at work.
- Assist the employee in documenting all incidents with the abuser that occured in the workplace.
- Take action against domestic violence by encouraging employees to volunteer and by providing financial or in-kind support to your local domestic violence programs.