Below are tips to help keep you as safe as possible. Following these suggestions can’t guarantee your safety, but they could help make you safer.
Call the Police
If at any time you feel you are in danger from your abuser, you can call 911 or the local police. In some instances, CHOICES can provide you with a cell phone that is programmed to only call 911. These pre-programmed phones are for use only when you need to contact the police and you are unable to use any other phone. Contact us at 614-224-HOME (4663) for more information.
If you do contact the police, consider the following information. Your participation will help the police do their job more efficiently, which will help your efforts to stay safe.
- If your abuser is still present when the police arrive, ask to speak with them in private.
- When the police arrive, tell them in detail what happened leading up to you making the call, including everything your abuser said and did.
- If your abuser hit you, tell the police where, how many times you were hit, and show them any marks that are left on your body. Not all marks will show up immediately. If you see marks after the police are gone, call the police to have pictures taken of the marks. The pictures may be used in court.
- If your abuser has broken any property, show the police exactly what has been damaged.
- If you and your children choose not to stay in the home, the police can help you leave safely.
- The police can give you information on domestic violence programs and shelters, like those at CHOICES.
- The police are required to make a report documenting what happened to you. Police reports can be used in court if your abuser is charged with a crime. A police report can also be used to help you get a protection order against your abuser.
- Get the officers’ names, badge numbers, and the report number in case you need a copy of the report.
Get Support from Family , Friends, and Co-Workers
Discuss your situation with friends, family, and co-workers who are supportive of you. Maintaining regular contact with people who support you is crucial to helping you stay safe, whether you’re at home or at work.
If you decide to stay in your home and in your relationship, ask a friend or family member to help you develop a safety plan which includes setting aside money and important documents in a safe place, as well as making a plan to leave.
If you do decide to leave the relationship, friends and family can help you make that transition. They may be able to help you with finding financial assistance, finding a new place to live, storing your belongings, or getting help from a domestic violence program like CHOICES.
Find a Safe Place to Stay
While you may not feel that leaving your home is fair, sometimes leaving is the only way to ensure that you stay safe. If staying with family or friends is not an option, contact CHOICES at 614-224-HOME (4663) for information about temporary emergency shelter and other programs.
Get Medical Attention
If your abuser has hurt you, seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or the hospital. It is very important to give as much information about your injuries as you feel comfortable sharing. Keep in mind:
- You may have injuries you can’t see or are not aware of.
- What appears to be a minor injury could in fact be serious.
- If you are pregnant and were hit in your stomach, tell the doctor immediately.
Because abusers often hit their victims in the head, domestic violence victims can be in danger of closed head injuries. If you experience any of these symptoms, get medical care immediately: memory loss, dizziness, vision problems, vomiting, long-lasting headaches.
If your abuser held you by the throat and your breathing was interrupted, tell the doctor immediately.
Make a Safety Plan
One of the most important things you can do if you choose to stay (even temporarily) with your abuser is to create a Safety Plan. Safety planning helps you develop tools in advance of potentially dangerous situations. Choose the option below that matches your circumstances, or click here for your Personalized Safety Plan.
Download these helpful documents to personalize your safety plan:
Safety in a Rural Area > Learn about extra precautions you can take to protect yourself if you live in a rural area or small town.
Safety on the Job > Learn about extra precautions you can take to protect yourself – and others – while in the workplace.