What to Consider First

Are you in a safe place?

If you have been a victim of violence the first thing you need to consider is your own safety. Even if the abuser is in police custody, he or she may be released in 12-24 hours. You may want to stay with your friends or family. If that’s not possible, or if it puts your loved ones in danger, contact Middle Way House at (812) 336-0846. We can tell you about options for safe housing (including our emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing), community resources, counseling, legal advocates, and support groups. If you do not live in South Central Indiana, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for services in your area at 1-800-799-7233.

Do you have a safety plan?

Here are some things to think about and arrange when creating a safety plan for yourself:

  • Plan what to do before a violent incident occurs. Leave the room or the home if your partner becomes abusive. Have an escape route planned to get out of the house.
  • Maintain close contact with trusted family, friends, and neighbors. Establish a code in case an emergency arises (i.e. if you call and use an agreed upon word that signals you are in danger).
  • Locate a safe place and arrange with a trusted person for transportation to get you there. Call the police if necessary and learn other emergency numbers to call. If you have injuries, go directly to the hospital.
  • If you work outside the home, give your employer basic information and instructions not to tell your partner of your plans and to call the police if he comes to your workplace.  If possible, alter your route between work and home so your whereabouts are harder to predict.
  • Leave instructions with your children’s school, day care, or baby-sitter that you are the only person who will pick the children up. Make it clear that the children are never to leave with anyone but you.  Give your children age-appropriate information so they can call for help and/or get to a safe place.
  • Keep a suitcase packed. You can leave it with someone so that your partner won’t find it.
  • Keep copies of all important records (birth certificates, social security cards, immunization records, insurance policies, car titles, bank account records, blank checks, mortgage information, health insurance cards, passports, visas, etc.) with a trusted friend or family member. If you have one, keep records in a safety deposit box.
  • Keep a set of car keys hidden, preferably outside somewhere, or in a magnetic case on the car. If you leave by car, lock the car doors as soon as you get in.
  • Take steps to increase your financial self-reliance. Establish your own checking account, one separate from that of your partner. Establish credit in your own name, if you can do so safely. Try to establish an emergency fund and add to it whenever possible.

 

Do you realize you are not responsible for the violence?

Violence is a choice. The person using violence is the person who chose it. That person is responsible for the choice. You do not deserve to be abused. You do not deserve to be hurt even if you argue, complain, or refuse to do something your partner wants you to do.  The violence is not your fault even if you were drinking, using drugs, or if you made a big mistake.

  • There is nothing you can do that would justify abuse.
  • You did not ask to be abused when you chose your partner.
  • You have a right to be safe.