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Support To Keep Safe

Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Helpline – 08000 198 668
Sheffield Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 808 2241
National Domestic Abuse Helpline (24 hour) – 0844 804 4999
In an emergency, dial 999

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, keeping yourself and your children safe is a priority. Below are some things for you to think about and some ways that you can help to keep yourself and others safe. Action’s domestic abuse staff can help you to plan for your safety and discuss the options available to you, and can be contacted via the helpline numbers above. Remember, in an emergency, dial 999.

When you are still in your relationship

  • If the abuse is cyclical or ongoing, there will be another incident. Plan in advance how you will respond next time, including crisis situations
  • Keep any important/emergency phone numbers handy (police, DA service, GP, social worker, schools, etc.)
  • Call 999 in an emergency. Keep your mobile on you and fully charged
  • Do you know where the nearest payphone is?
  • Are there neighbours you could go to in an emergency? Ask them to call the police if they hear you in trouble
  • Rehearse an escape plan that enables you and the children can get away as quickly as possible
  • Pack an emergency bag and store this somewhere safe (e.g. a neighbour’s or friend’s house, in your car)
  • Keep some money on you – including change for the phone and bus fares
  • If your abuser is about to attack you, try to avoid high risk areas of the home like the kitchen, garage or bathroom (where there is easy access to potential weapons etc.)

When you are leaving a relationship

There may come a time when the only option is to leave. If you decide to leave, plan carefully as this can be a particularly dangerous time. Our helpline staff can help you to do this.

  • Plan to leave at a time when your abuser will not be around. Take everything you need with you, including important documents. You may not be able to return later
  • Take children with you as it may be hard to get them back later. If they are at school, make sure the teachers know about the situation, and who will be collecting your children
  • If possible set aside some money each week in a separate bank account
  • You can apply for Domestic Abuse re-housing priority through the council
  • Many solicitors can offer you a free half-hour of initial advice and legal aid can be available for things like injunctions
  • Don’t be overwhelmed. Get help to plan leaving from a Support Worker

What to pack when leaving

The below is a helpful list of things that you should try to take with you when leaving an abusive relationship.

  • Forms of ID: birth certificates, passports, visas and work permits
  • Money, bankbooks, cheque book, credit/debit cards
  • Keys for house, car and place of work
  • Details for any benefits you claim
  • Driving licence and car registration
  • Prescribed medication
  • Copies of documents relating to your mortgage or tenancy
  • Address book, diary, photographs, jewellery, small sentimental items
  • Clothing, toiletries and toys for you and children
  • Documents relating to abuse (police reports, injunctions etc.)

After you have left

After you have left an abusive relationship it is important that you consider and plan ways to keep yourself and your children safe.

  • Avoid places that you went together and mutual acquaintances
  • Alter your routines/routes to places as much as you can
  • Try to change appointments your abuser may know about
  • Tell the children’s school, nursery or child-minder what has happened, and make sure they do not let anyone else pick up the children. Talk to a solicitor about a Prohibited Steps order to protect your children
  • Tell your employer if you think your partner will contact you at work
  • Make sure your mobile phone cannot be tracked
  • Change your phone number/block abuser’s number
  • If you need to contact your abuser (or anyone who he knows), withhold your telephone number or use a second mobile only for this purpose
  • Talk to your children about keeping your new address/location secret
  • Ensure your electoral registration is anonymous
  • If you stay or return to your home, then you may need an occupation order or injunction. Many solicitors offer a free half-hour of advice and sometimes legal aid available for protection against domestic abuse
  • Call the Domestic Abuse Helpline or go to your local council buildings if you need emergency housing or a refuge
  • Change door locks and secure windows
  • Install smoke alarms and get a fire safety check from the fire brigade
  • Install an outside security light (back and front)
  • Inform neighbours and ask them to tell you if they see your abuser
  • Use an answering machine to screen calls
  • Keep a detailed diary of all abuse and incident numbers
  • Report all incidents of abuse and unwanted contact to the police