Keep Yourself Safe
If you think you are in an abusive relationship, you are not alone. Help is available right now. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Whether you think things will get better or you are ready to end the relationship, you should think through a safety plan. You can’t control your partner’s behavior, but you can control how you respond. A safety plan will help you figure out what you can do to keep yourself as safe as possible, who can you tell, and where you can turn for help. You can build a safety plan together with friends, family members, or Day One. Review it regularly and revise it when circumstances change.
Important parts of a safety plan might include:
Learning from the Past
In order to maximize your safety, you need to think about your relationship and identify the “triggers” to an abusive incident. Possible triggers can include the use of alcohol or drugs, jealousy, disagreements about sex, or arguments over money. Triggers for past arguments may lead to abusive incidents again in the future. Trust your instincts and don’t minimize your fears.
Think about what you’ve done before to protect yourself. Try to remember how you were able to maintain your safety in the past, and decide if the same methods will work again, or if there are better ways you can be safe if you suspect another incident is likely. Avoid doing things that have not worked for you in the past.
Building a Safety Net
Think about whether there is a friend, parent, teacher, or counselor you can confide in. Abusers often manipulate their partners by isolating them from friends and family members. Don’t stay silent—speak to someone that you trust. Be as honest and open as you can be about what is happening.
Keeping a Stalking Log
Keep a Stalking Log where you can record the date, time, location, and description of any stalking behaviors of an abuser. Also note any witnesses who were around. Note the frequency of the stalker’s activities so that you can monitor changes. You can download a sample Stalking Log by clicking here.
You may need to start thinking about limiting contact with your partner. Most acts of extreme abuse occur when you are alone with your partner. Consider having lunch with friends, going out in groups, and walking to and from school with people that you trust. When going out, let other people know your plans and where you’ll be. Keep your cell phone charged at all times. Always have money available for transportation if you need to take a cab, bus, or subway in an emergency.
Exploring Legal Options
Think about how you feel about reporting the abuse to the police or getting an Order of Protection. Day One can provide you with confidential and free legal advice so that you can decide what’s right for you. You can talk privately to a lawyer over the phone without even telling your name.
Knowing Your Resources
There are many organizations that can provide counseling, legal services, and supportive services, including advice on how to break up with an abusive partner, assistance with housing relocation, and school safety transfers. Many hotlines are available 24/7. For more information, visit Community Resources.