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Disclaimer:  The legal information provided on this website is the product of Legal Aid NorthWest Texas (LANWT). None of the legal information on this website is associated with or the product of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas or any of its employees.


SAFETY PLANS


You cannot always predict when a family violence situation might occur. So, it is important to think and plan ahead for such events. That is what a Personal Safety Plan is all about.


Avoiding the Violence

Think about what you would do if you detect the possibility that a violent incident might occur. Try to make sure you are in a place where you can exit. Don’t be caught in a closet, bathroom, or some other room with only one exit. Don’t be caught in a room that might have weapons available, like the kitchen. You might want to pack a bag with clothing and essential personal grooming items to leave at the home of a friend or relative. Make friends with a neighbor who can keep an eye on your home and call the police if the neighbor hears or observes signs of violence. Identify a code word that your friends and relatives will know so that if you use the code word, they will know to call the police for you. Make plans for where you will go if you have to leave home unexpectedly. Do not argue or threaten. Try to keep the abuser calm.


Planning to Escape

Often it is not practical or possible to leave the abuser immediately. There is generally a child or property to be concerned about. If you find yourself in an abusive situation, you may want to set up a separate bank account in your own name. Make extra sets of keys to leave with a friend or relative along with clothing and personal items that you might need. You may want to rent your own post office box so that you can continue to receive mail. Make a list of people’s phone numbers who could help you. Make a list of emergency shelters and their phone numbers. Purchase a cell phone or store some change that can be used to make calls from pay phones. Don’t attempt to leave while the abuser is with you. Plan on a time when the abuser is at work or away from your home.

Obtain a Protective Order

If you have been recently threatened or assaulted, contact the local District or County Attorney and request a Protective Order. Always keep the protective order with you. Call the police immediately if the abuser violates the Protective Order. Make sure your friends, neighbors, and relatives know you have a Protective Order.


Being Safe in Your Own Home

If the abuser has been forced to leave your home, make sure that all windows are locked at all times. Change the door locks and add additional security measures like dead bolts or electronic monitoring system if necessary. Develop a safety plan with your children so they will know what to do and where to go in the event the abuser tries to cause problems. Make sure the children’s school or day care provider knows who is authorized to pick up the children. Make sure your friends and neighbors know that the abuser no longer lives with you so they can report it if he is seen at you home. If you have moved away from the abuser, never call them from your home and never tell them where you are living. Make sure that your home telephone number is unlisted.

Being Safe in Public

Use a variety of routes to work. Plan to shop at different stores and at different times or days. Arrange for an escort to and from your car when going to work or grocery shopping. Make sure the people you work with know that the abuser is not welcome on the premises. Have someone at work screen your calls if possible. If the place you work has security, make sure the security personnel know what the abuser looks like.

Checklist of Essential Items
 

  • Driver’s license
  • Birth Certificates for you and the children
  • Social Security cards for you and the children
  • Money and/or credit cards
  • Checking and/or savings account books
  • Protective Order
  • Lease or rental agreements
  • Car registration and insurance
  • Health care provider information
  • Life insurance information
  • Medical records
  • School records
  • Passport
  • Marriage License
  • Divorce papers and Court orders
  • Medications
  • House and car keys
  • Mail box, safety deposit box, or similar keys
  • Valuable Jewelry
  • Address and phone number book
  • Pictures and sentimental items
  • Change of clothing for you and the children

Resources

Police/ Sheriff - 911
National Domestic Violence Hotline - 800-799-7233 or TDD 800-787-3224 
Texas Women's Advocacy Project/ Family Violence Hotline - 800-777-3247
Texas Abuse Hotline/ Department of Family & Protective Services - 800-252-5400
Texas Legal Services Center - 888-343-4414

Texas Crime Victims' Compensation Program
Post Office Box 12198
Austin, Texas 78711-2198
1-800-983-9933 (statewide)
1-512-936-1200 (in Austin)