Crisis line: 508-583-6498

TTY: 508-583-6498

Toll Free: 1-800-281-6498


To learn more about Domestic Violence, click here to see a comprehensive presentation prepared by Dieja Varela and Tori Zupkofska from the FCR Domestic Violence Advocacy Program.

Safety Before An Explosive Incident

  • Practice leaving your home safely. 

  • Identify which doors, windows, elevator(s), or stairwell(s) would be best to use in an emergency.

  • Have a packed bag ready and keep it at relative's or friend's home in case you need to leave your home quickly.

  • Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.

  • Decide whether you need to leave your home and think about how to leave safely.

  • Think about how to safely take your child(ren) with you if you do need to leave. 

  • Designate a "safe place" for your child(ren) where they may go if necessary (and where you will know to meet them).

  • Decide and plan for where you will go if you need to leave home quickly (even if you don't think you will need to leave).

  • Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need help from the police.

  • Teach your children to dial 911.

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Safety During an Explosive Incident

  • If an incident seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area where you have access to an exit. Try to stay away from the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or anywhere else where weapons might be available.

  • Use your own instincts and judgment. Consider giving the abuser what he/she wants to calm her/him down. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.

  • Call the person with whom you have identified a safety code word.

  • Tell your children to call 911; go to the designated safe place; inform the neighbors.


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Safety when Preparing to Leave

  • Open a saving account and/or credit card in your own name to increase your options. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.

  • Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra medicines and 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.

  • Discuss a safety plan with your child(ren) for when you are not with them.

  • Inform your child(ren)'s school, day care, etc., about who has permission to take your child(ren).

  • Keep the shelter or hotline 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.

  • Remember Leaving May Be Your Most Dangerous Time.

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Checklist What To Take When You Leave

  • Identification
        Driver's License
        Child(ren)'s birth certificate(s)
        Your birth certificate
        Social Security cards (you & your children)
        Welfare identification

  • Financial Papers
        Money and/or credit cards (Warning: credit cards could potentially be
            traced by an abuser)
        Bank books

  • Legal Papers
        Your Restraining Order
        Lease, rental contract, house deed, rent receipts
        Car registration & insurance papers
        Medical records for you & your children
        School records
        Work permits/Green card/Visa
        Marriage Certificate/License
        Divorce papers
        Custody papers
        Any other court papers

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Safety With a Restraining Order (or if you are no longer with your abuser)

  • Keep your restraining order on you at all times. (When changing purses, transfer it first!) Give a photocopy of the order to a trusted neighbor or family member.

  • Call the police if your batterer does something the restraining order say not to do--this is a violation of the restraining order!

  • Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond immediately.

  • Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows.

  • Inform family, friends, neighbors and your physician or health care provider that you have a restraining order in effect.

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Safety On The Job and In Public

  • Decide who at your workplace you will tell about your situation--include office or building security. Provide a picture of your abuser if possible.

  • Devise a safety plan for leaving work. Have someone escort you to your car, bus or train and wait with you until you are safely en route. Use a variety of routes home. Think about what you would do if something happened while on your way home (e.g., in your car, on the train, etc.)

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Your Safety and Emotional Health

  • If you are thinking of returning to an abusive situation, first discuss it with someone you trust. You may want to call your local battered women's support organization.

  • Try to arrange for an answering machine, caller ID, or a trusted friend or relative to screen your calls.

  • If you must contact your abuser, determine the safest way to do so.

  • Think positively about yourself; be assertive about your needs. Read books, articles, and poems to help you feel stronger.

  • Find someone whom you can call to talk freely and openly and feel supported. Again, you may want to call your local battered women's support organization.

  • Plan to attend a support group for at least 2 weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship.

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Safety and Drug or Alcohol Consumption

  • The use of alcohol or other drugs by a victim may reduce awareness and the ability to act quickly in response to danger. An abuser's substance use may become an excuse for violence. Victims must, therefore, make specific safety plans when substance use is an issue.

  • If you are going to drink or use drugs, do so in a safe place with people who understand your risk from domestic violence and are committed to your safety.

  • Plan a course of action to follow when your abuser begins consuming alcohol or drugs.

  • Devise and discuss with your child(ren) a course of action they should take if the abuser begins consuming drugs or alcohol in their presence.

  • IMPORTANT: The consequences of using illegal drugs can be disastrous for a victim! They may hurt your relationship with your children and may put you at a disadvantage in other legal actions with your abuser. Be aware of the potential losses involved when using illegal drugs.

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