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Whether or not you feel able to leave an abuser, there are things you can do to make yourself and your family safer.


 If you are at home & you are being threatened or attacked:

  • Stay away from the kitchen (the abuser can find weapons such as knives there).
  • Stay away from bathrooms, closets or small spaces where the abuser can trap you.
  • Get to a room with a door or window to escape.
  • Be smart if you decide to run out of the house! If you can't get to a safe place (such as a neighbors or a good place to hide) until they quit looking for you, you may be better off to get behind a locked door and plead. If they have to chase you and catch you their adrenaline will be elevated even higher; this may reduce your chances of survival.
  • Get to a room with a phone to call for help; lock the abuser outside if you can.
  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) right away for help; get the dispatcher's name
  • If a police officer comes, tell him/her what happened; get his/her name & badge number.
  • Get medical help if you are hurt.
  • Take pictures of bruises or injuries.


    • Think about your situation and plan for the worst.

    • Call us or any other shelter or domestic violence program for specific ideas on how to prevent the worst from happening. You do not have to leave your name. We can help you design a safety plan for your specific situation. There are things you can do that your abuser will never know but could mean life or death for you.

    • Think about a neighbor or friend you can run to for help.

    • Purchase a prepaid cell phone and keep it near you at all times or place it in a place that only you know about or will look at such as a tampon box in the back of the cupboard. If you sense trouble is coming put the phone in your pocket. This is just one example of the many things we can help you figure out that would be specific to your situation.

    • Learn where to get help; memorize emergency phone numbers.

    • Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside; if you can, get a cell phone that you keep with you at all times.

    • If the abuser has moved out, change the locks on your door; get locks on the windows.

    • Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the abuser at your house; make a signal for them to call the police, for example, if the phone rings twice, a shade is pulled down or a light is on.
    • Plan an escape route out of your home; teach it to your children.
    • Get an unlisted phone number; block caller id.
    • Pack a bag with important things you'd need if you had to leave quickly; put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust. Include cash, car keys & important information such as: court papers, passport or birth certificates, medical records & medicines, immigration papers.


    • Teach them not to get in the middle of a fight, even if they want to help.
    • Teach them how to get to safety, to call 911, to give your address & phone number to the police.
    • Teach them who to call for help.
    • Tell them to stay out of the kitchen.
    • Give the principal at school or the daycare center a copy of your court order; tell them not to release your children to anyone without talking to you first; use a password so they can be sure it is you on the phone; give them a photo of the abuser.
    • Make sure the children know who to tell at school if they see the abuser.
    • Make sure that the school knows not to give your address or phone number to ANYONE.


    • Change your regular travel habits.
    • Try to get rides with different people.
    • Shop and bank in a different place.
    • Cancel any bank accounts or credit cards you shared; open new accounts at a different bank.
    • Keep your court order and emergency numbers with you at all times.
    • Keep a cell phone & program it to 911 (or other emergency number).


    • Keep a copy of your court order at work.
    • Give a picture of the abuser to security and friends at work.
    • Tell your supervisors - see if they can make it harder for the abuser to find you.
    • Don't go to lunch alone.
    • Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or to the bus.
    • Change the route you take to and from work.



    Protection or Restraining Orders

    • We can help you get a personal protection order and we will go through the entire process with you. We will be there very step from the first call through criminal prosecution and after care through counseling and support. We are well versed in the legal system and can be strong advocates for you whether you reside in the domestic violence shelter or not.  

    What the judge can do:

    • Order the abuser to stay away from you or your children.
    • Order the abuser to leave your home .
    • Give you temporary custody of your children & order the abuser to pay you temporary child support.
    • Order the police to come to your home while the abuser picks up personal belongings.
    • Give you possession of the car, furniture and other belongings.
    • Order the abuser to go to a batterers intervention program.
    • Order the abuser not to call you at work.
    • Order the abuser to give guns to the police.

    Court Proceedings:

    • Show the judge any pictures of your injuries.
    • Tell the judge that you do not feel safe if the abuser comes to your home to pick up the children to visit with them.
    • Ask the judge to order the abuser to pick up and return the children at the police station or some other safe place.
    • Ask that any visits the abuser is permitted are at very specific times so the police will know by reading the court order if the abuser is there at the wrong time.
    • Tell the judge if the abuser has harmed or threatened the children; ask that visits be supervised; think about who could do that for you.
    • Get a certified copy of the court order.
    • Keep the court order with you at all times.

    Criminal Proceedings:

    • Show the prosecutor your court orders.
    • Show the prosecutor medical records about your injuries or pictures if you have them.
    • Be very specific about the physical abuse; in some cases the punishments can be different if he used his hands or an object. If you have gone this far than you do not want him to have the opportunity to hurt someone else.
    • Tell the prosecutor the name of anyone who is helping you (a victim advocate or a lawyer).
    • Tell the prosecutor about any witnesses to injuries or abuse.
    • Ask the prosecutor to notify you ahead of time if the abuser is getting out of jail.

    Be Safe at the Courthouse:

    • Sit as far away from the abuser as you can; you don't have to look at or talk to the abuser; you don't have to talk to the abuser's family or friends if they are there.
    • Bring a friend or relative with you to wait until your case is heard.
    • Tell a bailiff or sheriff that you are afraid of the abuser and ask him/her to look out for you.
    • Make sure you have your court order before you leave.
    • Ask the judge or the sheriff to keep the abuser there for a while when court is over; leave quickly.
    • If you think the abuser is following you when you leave, call the police immediately.
    • If you have to travel to another State for work or to get away from the abuser, take your protection order with you; it is valid everywhere.

    The information provided above is very general for more information or individual counseling please call us! (906) 524-7078


    Reprinted by permission of the American Bar Association from The Domestic Violence Safety Plan:  Safety Tips For You And Your Family, a joint project of the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section and the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence.  Some wording changed and additional ideas presented. This is not a true copy. For a true copy please see the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence web page.



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