If you need immediate help because you are in danger, call 911. If you are experiencing violence or threatening behavior from a partner, spouse, ex-partner, ex-spouse or someone you are dating (whether that person lives with you or not), there are steps you can take to plan for your safety, and for the safety of your children. This is called “safety planning”. Safety Planning is a tool to help you think about your safety. Keeping safe does not always mean leaving your home. In fact, leaving your home without good planning can be a very dangerous thing to do. Below is a safety plan to review:
- SAFETY DURING AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT
- If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area that has access to an exit and not in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell would be best.
- Have a packed bag ready and keep it in an undisclosed but accessible place in order to leave quickly.
- Identify a neighbor you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need the police.
- Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home, even if you don’t think you will need to.
- Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he wants to calm him down. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
- Always remember – YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE HIT OR THREATENED!!
- Open a savings account in your own name to establish or increase your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
- Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
Keep the shelter phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
- Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave the abuser. REMEMBER – LEAVING THE ABUSER IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME.
- Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows.
- Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
- Inform your child’s school, daycare, etc., about who has permission to pick up your child.
- Inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see them near your home.
- Never call the abuser from your home. If they have caller ID, they may be able to locate your residence.
- Keep your protective order on you at all times. (When you change your purse, that should be the first thing that goes in it.)
- Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.
- Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
- Inform family, friends, and neighbors that you have a protective order in effect.
- Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security. Provide a picture of the abuser if possible.
- Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls if possible.
- Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your car, bus, or train. Use a variety of routes to go home by if possible. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home (e.g., in your car, on the bus, etc.).
- If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
- If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so.
- Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs. Read books, articles, and poems to help you feel stronger.
- Decide whom you can call to talk freely and openly to give you the support you need.
- Plan to attend a women’s or victim’s support group for at least two weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship.
- Decide which friend, teacher, relative, or police officer you can tell.
- CHECKLIST – WHAT YOU NEED TO TAKE WHEN YOU LEAVE:
- Drivers license
- Child’s birth certificate
- Lease, rental agreement, house deed
- Insurance papers
- House and car keys
- Address book
- Medical records (all family members)
- Social Security card
- School records
- Work permits
- Green card
- Divorce papers
Help is Available
Call (972) 276-0057 seven days a week, 24-hours a day for crisis counseling, information and emergency shelter.
Our shelter strives to provide everything a family needs when they leave home due to domestic violence.
To access services, call the hotline at (972) 276-0057.
Victim Counseling Services
Free individual and group counseling for victims of domestic violence. Offices are located in Garland and Mesquite.
To schedule an appointment, call (972) 276-0423.
Advocates will help you make sense of a complicated and confusing judicial system by providing resources, information, and access to legal information. Applications for protective orders are also taken.
To schedule an appointment, call (972) 276-0423.
Counseling for Children and Adolescents
Services for children ages 3 – 17 years and parent consultation. Services for victims of teen dating violence also provided.
Emergency Food and Clothing
The New Beginning Center Resale Store provides clothing and household items for victims of domestic violence.
A food pantry is available at the Garland office.