How to Stay Safe if You Are A Victim of Family or Domestic Violence

 

If you are planning on leaving a situation where domestic and family violence is occurring, it is important to consider your safety. A safety plan can help you identify risks and develop safety strategies. Below we have listed some tips for developing your safety plan. Where possible, it is always recommended to develop a safety plan with a trained professional as they have experience in the areas of domestic an family violence an will be able to support you to develop a plan for you particular situation and risk factors.

 

Tips To Increase Safety

Code words

Talk with someone you identify as a safe person – a friend, neighbour or family member- about having code words.  This word is a word to indicate you need assistance. In addition to this, also develop the level of risk for this code work. For example, one code word could let the other person to check in on you, and another code word could signal you need immediate emergency assistance such as the police to be called.  The code words need to be words that would not arouse suspicion in the person who is using violence, as this most likely would place you in further danger. Consider words that may be associated with your work, a type of meal, a tv show, whatever you feel would work for you.

 

Transport

In an emergency, it is always important to have an exit plan. A good idea is to always reverse your car into driveways so you can leave easily if you need to do so and to have a second car key cut and hidden somewhere that is easy for you to access.

 

Emergency provisions

Your emergency provisions are there to be used if you need to leave suddenly. They will mean you will be able to live for a little while, giving you time to make the appropriate contacts to get settled and safe.

  • Open a separate bank account if you can safety do that.  Try putting regular small amounts away for when you need.
  • Have a bag with essentials somewhere safe.  Include clothing, toiletries, and ID such as passport (if safe to do so). You may consider storing this bag with your identified safe person.

 

Cyber safety

In today’s day and age, there is a lot of information that we have which is, or can be accessed through online means. As a result of this, it is incredibly important to consider your cyber safety when you are in a violent relationship. The below can assist, however only use when it is safe to do so.

  • Create new anonymous account for email
  • Check the apps on your phone
  • Frequently change passwords and PINs
  • Be careful about information shared publicly on social networking sites
  • If you believe the person using violence is tracking you through your device leave this at home as often as you can.
  • Consider if spyware is being used.  Some indications of this include; the battery of your device needs more regular recharging; unknown programs are running in the background of your computer; your phone or computer is slower than usual; the person using violence seems to know a lot more about you than you know you have shared.  Trust your intuition.

You can access an online safety checklist here. There is also more general information about online safety which can be accessed through the eSafety Commissioner webpage.

Smartphone support services app

Daisy is an app developed to connect people experiencing violence or abuse to services in their local area. The app includes safety features to help protect your privacy. However, domestic violence service apps are only recommended to those who have safe and secure access to their phone.You can learn more about the Daisy app here.

 

Seek Professional Health

There are many support services with qualified professionals who are experienced in supporting those who have experienced domestic and family violence. These professionals are also trained to assist in the development of safety plans and are experienced in dealing with difficult situations with controlling perpetrators. Even if you don’t think you can leave, or you don’t want to leave, you are still able to make contact with support lines to work on increasing the safety of you and those in your household. These professionals services include:

DVConnect Womensline – Qld 24/7 line 1800 811 811 –Crisis support and intervention.  Support in safety planning and seeking refuge

1800Respect – Nationwide 24/7 1800 737 732 – specialist trauma counselling and referral for people experiencing or at risk of sexual violence and or domestic and family violence.  Support to family and friends of people experiencing or at risk of violence and support for other professionals supporting someone experiencing or at risk of violence.

Mensline – 1300 789 978 – counselling, referral, information and support, service for Queenslanders identifying as male, and who may be experiencing or using domestic and family violence

 

If you are concerned you or someone you know is a victim of domestic and family violence, we encourage you to speak up. Access support on the White Ribbon Australia National support page.  Local support can also be found here.

 

The Psych Professionals work to support our clients to develop the skills and strategies to live the life they deserve. We have clinicians who work with all ages who support in areas from anxiety, depression and trauma, to chronic pain, work issues and behaviour problems. If you want to know more about how we can help you, contact us and one of our friendly Client Relationships Team will get back to you.