The most important step you can take to protect yourself and your children from abuse is to build a safety plan. Since you know your abuser’s actions and behaviour, you can use this knowledge and build a plan.
Your plan may include some of the following:
- Practice how you will leave the home safely in an emergency
- Teach your children how to call 999
- Tell trusted family or friends what is going on
- Arrange to have a safe place to go to
- Prepare a bag of clothes, medication and other essentials for yourself and your children. Hide the bag where you can get to it in a hurry if you have to leave quickly
- Make several copies of important papers and keep one set in the bag (other copies could go to trusted friends or left somewhere safe at work). You will need things such as proof of identity, driving license, birth certificates, passports, financial/insurance information, benefit books or letters, court orders etc.
- Keep your address book and diary with you
- If you have a car, make an extra set of keys and hide them where you can get to them if you need to.
For more safety planning information download our guide: Making a safety plan
If you are experiencing abuse it is important to tell someone before it gets worse. If what you are experiencing is particularly serious go into your local police station for help. If you or your family are in immediate danger don’t be afraid to call the police on 999.
If you feel you can’t go to the police it is still important to tell someone what is happening to you. This could be a trusted friend or colleague or you can speak to a local advice centre or helpline for support. Get help now
What about my children?
Domestic abuse can affect children physically, psychologically, emotionally and socially. Every child is different and may show some or none of the behaviours below:
bedwetting, stomach aches, headaches, sleep disturbances, nightmares, depression, feelings of helplessness and powerlessness, poor personal hygiene, tired and lethargic, desensitisation to pain, regression in development tasks, for example, thumb sucking, aggression – out of control behaviour, difficulty in trusting others, overachiever or underachiever, holding themselves responsible for the abuse and feeling guilty.
Talking to the children about what has been happening can help them feel less powerless, confused or angry. Talk, listen and try to be honest about the situation with them.
For more information please visit Women’s Aid – How can I help my children