How To Stay Safe While Living In An Abusive Household
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all urged to stay home to be safe. But, if you are home with an abusive partner, you are likely facing increased harm. The tips below are part of a safety plan – a personalized, practical plan that helps you think through ways to remain safe while in an abusive relationship.
Use the moments of calm – These moments are the best time to reach out to professionals to plan for your safety. If you can’t reach us privately and safely, identify what kinds of things you have tried to protect yourself and your children in the past. Take note of which of these have worked and which would you use again.
Find the patterns – What cues are present before the abuse occurs? Are there patterns such as time of day, substance abuse, certain topics of discussion, or high stress levels before your partner harms you? Recognizing these patterns can help you prepare.
Talk to your children – Teach your children how to call the police. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should leave the house and find a neighbor for help.
Create a network – Always keep your phone charged and, if possible, on you at all times. Keep some emergency numbers saved on speed dial – shelter numbers, a neighbor or friend you trust, Daya’s helpline. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Location matters – Identify safe areas of the house where there is no access to potential weapons (guns, knives, objects that can be thrown) and from where you can easily escape. If an argument becomes unavoidable, try to have it in these safer areas of your home.
Protect yourself – If physical violence becomes unavoidable, make yourself a small target - dive into a corner and curl up into a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined. You have the right to protect and defend yourself.
These are unprecedented and challenging times. Survivors are facing increased risks as well as increased barriers to getting help. Know that you are not alone. Daya's advocates can help you create a safety plan over the phone or online. Safety plans are dynamic and change as the situation does. Together we think through all aspects of physical and emotional safety as well as who you can rely on and how to take action.
Daya's helpline - 713-981-7645 is available during regular business hours, Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect.