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Safety Planning

Safety Planning

womens aid dundalk safety planning

Having your own safety plan can protect you and your children. It helps to plan what you might do to maximize your safety. Staff will support you in this and discuss your options.


Safety Plan
Power and Control Wheel

If I’m planning to leave:

– Keep a list of emergency numbers of services or friends who can help you: Guards, relatives, friends, local Domestic Violence Service

– Don’t hesitate to call the police on 999 if you need help

– Pack an emergency bag for yourself and your children, and hide it somewhere safe (e.g., at a friend’s house, in the boot of your car). Ensure you pack important documents, medications, a phone charger, some clothes, money or bank cards, a spare house/car key etc.

– Think of the nearest safe place you could make a call from (e.g., a neighbour’s house) in case your phone is broken or out of battery when you leave

– Teach your children how to contact friends/family and to call 999 in an emergency; tell them what they would need to say (e.g., their full name, address, and telephone number)

– Think about escape routes: Can you rehearse an escape plan, so in an emergency you and any children can get away safely? Explain, to children who are old enough, that you might have to leave in a hurry

– Think about where you would go, and what you would do if it was at night

– Talk to family and friends about staying with them in an emergency

– Keep a small amount of money with you at all times

– Report any injuries to your GP so that you get the medical treatment you need and there is a record of the abuse

– You may want to take notes of abusive incidents, including times, dates, names, and details of injuries

– Contact your local Domestic Violence service

 Remember – if you do leave and later discover you have forgotten something, you can always arrange for the protection of a Garda escort to return home to collect it.

What to take if preparing to leave:

– If you have time, try to take as many of the items listed below as appropriate. If you are planning to leave ahead of the day ensure the items are kept safely where the abuser cannot find them. Your safety and your children’s safety must come first so don’t worry if you cannot get these items

– Some form of identification

– Birth certificates for you and your children

– Passports (including passports for all your children), visas and work permits

– Marriage certificate

– Money, bank books, checkbook, credit and debit cards

– Keys for house, car, and place of work. (You could get an extra set of keys cut, and put them in your emergency bag)

– PPSN/Social Welfare card

– Driving licence and car registration documents, if applicable

– Immigration documents

– Prescribed medication for yourself or your children, health records etc.

– Copies of documents relating to your housing tenure (e.g, mortgage details or lease and rental agreements)

– Insurance documents, including national insurance number

– Glasses,hearing aids etc.

– Your children’s favourite small toys

– School records

– You should also take any documentation relating to the abuse – e.g. police reports, court orders such as injunctions and restraining orders, and copies of medical records if you have them

– Address book, family photographs, your diary, jewelry, small items of sentimental value

– Clothing and toiletries for you and your children

If I’m planning to stay in the home with an abuser:

– Consider applying for a Domestic Violence court order to protect yourself and your children from any further abuse

– Keep your mobile phone charged at all times

– Keep a list of emergency contacts in your phone or written down in a safe place

– During a physical attack, try to go to a lower risk area of the house – avoid the kitchen or garage where there are likely to be knives or other weapons; and avoid rooms where you might be trapped, such as the bathroom

– Get to a room with a telephone or carry a mobile with you

– Think about escape routes. Rehearse an escape plan, so that in an emergency you and any children can get away safely. Explain to children who are old enough that you might have to leave in a hurry

– Confide in a person you trust in case of emergency

– Pack a small bag of essential items that will not be noticed if missing to keep in your car/friend’s house in case you need to flee the house

– If you can, think of a safe place for your children to stay safe while your attacker is violent

Staying safe after leaving:

If you have left your home, but are staying in the same area or at the same job or your children are staying at the same school, you might be able to increase your safety in the following ways:

– Consider applying for a Domestic Violence court order to protect yourself and your children from any further abuse

– If you have any regular appointments that your partner knows about (for example: going to work, an exercise class, regular doctor’s appointment) try to choose a safe route to arrive and leave – perhaps change the route you take, the type of transport, or even try to get lifts with someone else

– Tell your children’s school or childminder what has happened and let them know who will pick them up. Make sure they do not allow anyone else to collect them or give your new address or telephone number to anyone. (You may want to establish a password, or give copies of any court orders, if you have them)

– If you feel able, tell your employer or colleagues at your place of work. They will be better prepared to help you in an emergency and may be able to put some additional security measures in place

– If you have a court order, make sure that your local Guarda station has a copy

– Consider installing CCTV in your new home

– Ask relatives or friends not to disclose your new location to the abusive person

– If your abuser has had access to your mobile phone, they could have installed a tracking device/app. If you are in any doubt, change your phone and number to ensure you cannot be tracked

– Exercise caution when posting on social media so you don’t give away your location

– Change passwords for your email, online banking, social media, and any website your abuser may know about

– If the abusive person continues to harass, threaten, or abuse you, make sure you keep detailed records of each incident, including the date and time it occurred, what was said or done and if possible photographs of damage to your property or injuries to yourself or others