Plan for Your Safety
If you are in a violent relationship, safety should be your first concern. Here are some basic steps to help ensure safety for you and your children. Please call the Safe Nest 24-hour Crisis Hotline at 800-486-7282 (local 702-646-4981) for assistance in developing a safety plan. Our staff and volunteers can help you sort through your situation and offer practical information to help you move forward—even if you are not yet ready to leave your relationship.
- Phone List: Put a list of important phone numbers in a safe location. Be sure to include contacts for the police, doctors, employer, family and friends and the Safe Nest hotline.
- Supportive Friends: Keep a mental list of friends or neighbors that you can talk to about the abuse. Ask them to call the police if they hear angry or violent noises.
- Your Children: If you have children, teach them how to dial 911. Make up a code word that you can use when you need help.
- "Safe" Phones: Because long-distance phone calls appear on a phone bill, avoid making long-distance calls from home. (Cell-phone conversations may also be intercepted using a scanner.) Switch to a corded phone outside of your home if you are relaying sensitive information.
- An Escape Route: Plan and practice a safe exit from your home with your children.
- "Even If" Preparation: Even if you do not plan to leave, think of where you could go if you did.
- Emergency Suitcase: Put together an emergency bag (see items below). Hide it somewhere that is easy for you to access but difficult for your abuser to find.
- Some money
- Spare keys to car, home, work
- Extra set of clothes (for you and children)
- Current medicines and refill information; personal hygiene products
- Personal Identification: Birth certificate(s), Social Security card(s), school and medical records, welfare identification, passports, green cards, work permits
- Legal Documents: Temporary protective order, divorce papers, custody orders, home rental/lease agreements, health insurance documentation
- Financial Documents: Credit cards, check books/bank statements, home rental/lease agreements or mortgage papers
- Vehicle Information: Driver's license, car registration, and insurance
- Items for Your children: Clothes, toys, medicines, blankets
- Pictures, jewelry and other things that are meaningful to you
If you are considering or planning to leave the relationship, read through the following suggestions and think through how you would put them into action. This process will enable you to think logically if the situation escalates and you need to escape.
- Identify four safe places you can go if you leave your home.
- Identify a small group of people (even just one or two) who can offer a safe place to stay or lend you money. Make plans for your pets if necessary.
- Open a post office box to receive your mail.
- Set aside cash needed during your escape (for bus-fare, meals, etc.) and change for phone calls (or consider getting a cell phone in your name).
- Open a bank account or a credit card in your name.
- Visualize how you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house -take out the trash, walk the family pet or go to the store. Practice the steps you would take in order to leave.
- Think about how to leave safely with your children. Remember that there are times when taking your children with you may put all of your lives in danger. You must protect yourself first to be able to protect your children.
- Note about Nevada State Law:
- Leaving the state with your children may have legal consequences, even if you are fleeing an abusive relationship. A parent who takes their children across state lines may be arrested for kidnapping, regardless of their personal situation.
Precautions After Leaving Your Partner
After taking the important first steps to leave your abuser and start a new life, you must continue to protect your safety—at home, at work, and when you travel. You may want to:
- Get a cell phone.
- Obtain a temporary protective order (TPO) from the Violence Intervention Office at Family Court. (In Clark County call 702-455-3400 for information.) When you get the TPO, keep a copy with you at all times.
- Change the locks on your home or apartment. Consider installing stronger doors, smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors, a security system and outside lights.
- Tell friends and neighbors that your abuser no longer lives with you. Ask them to call the police if they see your abuser near your home or children.
- Provide a written list of people allowed to pick up your children to your childcare provider. If you have a temporary protective order that includes your children, give it to their teachers and babysitters.
- Inform someone at work about your situation. Ask that person to screen your calls. If you have a temporary protective order that includes where you work, consider giving your boss a copy of the order and a picture of the abuser. Think about and practice a safety plan for your workplace. This should include going to and from work.
- Identify someone that you can call if you feel down.
- Go over your safety plan often.