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Safety Planning

Emergency Services are designed to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault immediately following the initial crisis.

Hotlines – 24 – hour, 7 day a week hotlines

  • Domestic violence and sexual assault in Mercer County -(609) 394-9000, (TTY)-888-252-SAFE
  • New Jersey Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline -(800) 572-SAFE (7233)
  • Domestic Violence Victim Response Teams
  • Sexual Assault Support Advocates
  • Shelter – confidential, secure, short-term emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence

Womanspace Programs & Services

What to do if you are sexually assaulted:

  • Go to a safe place
  • If possible, do not bathe, shower, douche, go to the bathroom, change clothing, eat, drink or smoke
  • Get immediate medical attention for possible injuries, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy
  • Consider calling the police
  • Call Womanspace at 609-394-9000 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for support and information

Thinking ahead may help prevent future assaults but no assault is ever your fault. For many victims, having a safety plan has actually saved their lives. These are suggestions; think about what you have tried in the past and whether or not it worked for you.

Safety Planning

  • If you feel an argument coming, try to stay 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 bag packed and hidden someplace safe in case you need to leave your home.
  • 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.
  • If you have children living with you at home, talk to them about what you want them to do if violence erupts. Do you want them to call the police? Do you want them to leave the house and go to a neighbor’s?
  • 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.
  • Trust your own instincts and judgment. Always remember – YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE THREATENED OR HURT.

Safety when preparing to leave

  • Open a savings account in your own name or hide away a little money somewhere safe to start 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 if you need to.
  • Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
  • Keep the shelter phone numbers with you or memorize them: (609-394-9000 or 1-800-572-SAFE). Keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency calls.
  • Obtain an emergency 911 cell phone from Womanspace or your local domestic violence agency.
  • Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave. Remember-LEAVING AN ABUSIVE PARTNER CAN BE THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME.

Safety in your own home

  • Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible, even if the abuser has moved out and returned the keys to you or the police. The keys may have been copied by the abuser. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows.
  • If you have children at home, discuss a safety plan with them for when you are not together. Play the game “what if.”
  • Inform your children’s school, day care, etc. about who has permission to pick up your children.
  • Inform neighbors and your landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see him near your home.

Safety with a restraining order

  • Keep your restraining order on you at all times. Have extra copies in your car, at work, at home, with someone you trust.
  • Call the police if your partner breaks the restraining order and file a complaint.
  • Think of alternative ways to keep safe in case police can’t respond right away.
  • Inform family, friends and neighbors that you have a restraining order in effect.

Safety on the job and in public

  • Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security (provide a picture of your batterer 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 if possible. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home (i.e., in your car, on the bus, etc.).

Your safety & emotional health

  • 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 about your needs.
  • Read books, articles and poems to help you feel stronger.
  • Decide who you can call to talk freely and openly to give you the support you need and deserve.
  • Plan to attend a women’s or victims’ support group for at least two weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship.

Adapted from a pamphlet developed by the Domestic Violence Project, Inc., Kenosha, WI

Mercer County

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault 24 Hour Hotline

(609) 394-9000

New Jersey Statewide

Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline

(800) 572-SAFE (7233)

For callers with hearing or speech impairments:

(TTY) 888-252-SAFE (7233)

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