Sometimes we don’t want to leave an abusive person when times are good, or are working towards leaving at a later date. Either way, knowing what to do when times are bad can help keep you safe.
Words, seen or heard, can hurt us or make us feel unsafe.
Things you can do to help keep safe from an abuser:
- Don’t answer the phone if they call you, or if you think they are calling from an unknown number. Use voicemail to screen your calls.
- Block them on social media.
- Don’t view or respond to texts, social media posts, messages, emails or other communications.
- Use someone who both of you know and trust to pass messages if you need to get in touch with them.
You can take steps to help keep safe physically as well:
- If you are in the same space as them (i.e. a party), ask a friend/ whānau to stick with you.
- Don’t open the door to your abuser if you are home alone and don’t live with them.
- Get someone to accompany you if you need to visit them, and try to meet them in a public place.
- Call for help or the police if you feel unsafe.
Safety plans are vital whether or not someone chooses to stay in an abusive relationship or to leave it.
The risk of violence can be high around the time of these decisions and support is crucial.
Your safety plan doesn’t need to be written down anywhere, and is just for you to know what you will do if you need to leave in a hurry.
Having a plan for you and any dependents to leave home in a hurry can help to keep you safe, if you live with someone who is abusive, or when they show up unexpectedly.
- Ask friends/whānau you trust if you are able to stay with them at short notice, and know how you are going to get there.
- Think about what you’ll need to take in a hurry, and where these things are.
- If possible, take a spare key, medication, passports and leave them with a trusted friend/whānau member.
- Talk about your plan with a trusted friend/ whānau member so someone else knows where you will be and wont’ tell the person you’re getting away from.
When you are leaving:
- Gather the items you need to take with you, and attempt to leave without drawing attention to yourself. Using an excuse, such as taking out the rubbish, may help with this.
- As soon as possible, make contact with your trusted friends/whānau members, let them know the situation.
- Make your way to join your trusted friends/ whānau members.
- If it is not possible to leave immediately, try to move to a safe area of the house away from potential weapons.
- In some situations, it may be safer to do what is asked of you, until the situation has calmed down and you are able to leave safely.
After you’ve left:
- Have your trusted friend/whānau member, or preferably a doctor, take photos and record evidence of any bruises or injuries you have sustained.
- Let your friends, whānau, neighbours and co-workers know to call the police if they see the person who abused you around your home or work.
- Go to a lawyer or Police to get advice on how the law can help protect you.
- If you are worried about the person who abused you contacting or finding you, do things to keep yourself safe.
- Stay with the trusted friend/whānau member, ask a co- worker to wait for the bus with you, have a friend accompany you when you go out.