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Emergencies & Safety Planning

 

IN AN EMERGENCY:

In an emergency always call 999

 

IF YOU AND/OR YOUR CHILDREN ARE NOT IN IMMEDIATE DANGER:

Please call our confidential, sympathetic and non-judgmental Helpline 0808 801 0500. On Mondays-Thursdays 9.30-9.30, trained Jewish women are there to support callers. During office hours you could also call direct to our head office, 0208 445 8060. Outside of these hours calls are recorded, monitored and responded to as soon as possible. If you need to speak to someone when our Helpline is closed, please call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

 

SAFETY PLANNING:

Thinking about your safety plan and what you could do in an emergency will help to ensure that you (and your children) are as safe as possible while you are still living in an abusive relationship, during the time when you may be planning to leave, and afterwards.

This plan won’t stop the abuse, but you can try to keep yourself and your children as safe as possible.

 If you are living with the perpetrator

  • Plan how you would respond to different situations to maximise your safety. Talk this over with someone if you can
  • Keep important and emergency numbers with you or programmed into your phone (eg JWA, your GP, your children’s school)
  • Teach your children to dial 999 in an emergency – make sure they know their address or a safe place to run to if there is an incident
  • If you feel you can trust your neighbours or friends nearby, tell them what is going on and ask them to call the police if they hear anything suspicious.  You could agree a code word or signal to alert them to call the police
  • Rehearse your escape route from each room in the house.  Avoid being alone with the perpetrator in any room that could be difficult to escape from, such as rooms upstairs
  • Try to avoid being alone with the perpetrator in rooms that have things that could be used as weapons (eg kitchen or shed which may have knives).
  • Document the abuse if you feel it’s safe to do so – keep a diary of incidents if you can.
  • Speak to your doctor or report incidents to the police as this can be used as evidence later if you need it
  • Be prepared to leave in an emergency
  • Keep your phone with you all the time
  • Pack an emergency bag and leave it in a safe place (with friends or neighbours)
  • Try to set aside a small amount of money, perhaps in a separate bank account

Leaving the perpetrator

However you have been dealing with the abuse at home, there may come a time when you decide that it’s time to leave.  Sometimes perpetrators will become more abusive if they know that you are considering leaving, so bear in mind that this may be a dangerous time for you.  When you leave, make sure that you:

  • Take any important documents (see list below)
  • Take a few different forms of ID for yourself and your children
  • Remember this is a very dangerous time – leave when you know the perpetrator is not around.
  • Take your children with you, and try to bring  their favourite toy if you can.

If you are planning on leaving, try to take with as many of the following as possible:

  • Money / Credit cards
  • Family Passports
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Change of clothes
  • House / Car keys
  • Driving Licence
  • Medication
  • Children’s toys
  • Bank books
  • Phone charger
  • Benefits statements, or something that has your National Insurance number on it
  • Visas
  • Utility bills with your name and address
  • Any documents related to your home (tenancy agreement, council or mortgage letters)
  • Photographs (anything of sentimental value)
  • Medical records

After leaving the perpetrator

Unfortunately, the abuse may not end when you leave the perpetrator, so it’s important that you continue to keep yourself and your children safe:

  • Try to avoid places your perpetrator frequents
  • Alter your routine as much as possible
  • Change your route to work
  • Change your mobile phone and/or mobile phone number (or check with your phone company that you’re not being tracked) – don’t give your new number to the perpetrator or anyone you do not trust
  • Don’t use a shared credit card/bank account
  • Make sure your address doesn’t show on court papers
  • Apply to join the electoral register anonymously

 If children are involved

  • Tell the school what has happened.  Give them copies of any court orders and make sure they know who should be collecting the children from school each day
  • Explain to your children why they need to keep their new address confidential
  • Consider involving a therapeutic children’s worker to support your children.

Staying in the family home after separating from an abusive partner

  • Consider getting occupation/non-molestation orders and if you do, keep all paperwork safe
  • Improve the security of your home via the Sanctuary Project*
  • Change locks on all doors
  • Keep all doors and windows locked
  • Install an outside light
  • Change your home telephone number
  • Use an answer machine to screen calls

* Sanctuary Projects are free schemes run by many local authorities to reinforce a home’s security with locks, bars, panic buttons and other systems.

You can talk all of this through by calling JWA on the Freephone helpline – 0808 801 0500. Or phone our Client Support team during office hours on 020 8445 8060.