*Our advocates are happy to sit down with you and work out an individualized Safety Plan. Reach us in the office at 605-665-4811 to schedule an appointment.
Preparing to Leave
Gather your and your child(ren)’s personal belongings (refer to important items to pack) and hide the bag somewhere safe/easily accessible in your home, or leave a bag with a trusted friend or family member.
Make copies of important documents and leave them with a trusted friend or family member in case you do not have access to them in the future.
Hide an extra set of keys, if possible, so you can leave quickly if needed.
Plan ahead with friends or family on where you can safely stay. If in an emergency or staying with friends or family is not an option, call RCDVC's 24/7 Crisis Hotline for emergency shelter.
Practice your safety plan when the other person is not home.
Safety During an Argument
Practice getting out of home safely when the other person is not home.
Try to stay in an area where you have access to an exit and avoid letting the other person get in between you and the exit. Have an alternative exit plan.
Avoid rooms where they may be access to a weapon, such as the kitchen.
If possible, have a charged emergency phone(s) hidden in your home to dial 911.
Do you have a trustworthy neighbor you would be comfortable confiding in? If so, ask them to call 911 if they see or hear any sort of disturbance.
Teach your child(ren) how to dial 911 or call for help in an emergency.
Devise code words with your children so they understand what you are trying to communicate with them. For example, one word could be to indicate you need them to hide somewhere safe or run to the neighbors for help, and another word to call police.
Devise code words with neighbors, friends, or family members so you can text the word to if you need help or use the word while on a phone call.
Do or say whatever is needed to stay safe.
Staying Safe in the Home
After the other has left the home, you can still feel unsafe in your own home.
Change your locks on your doors. Most landlords will change your locks with a letter from you or documentation of the domestic violence, but an advocate can assist with landlord intervention if needed.
Window alarms or locks can be placed on your windows.
Find the safest room, with a door lock if possible, in your home to hide and call for help.
Find an alternative exit if you need to get out quickly.
Let your neighbors know the other person no longer lives with you or you are no longer in a relationship so they can dial 911 if they are seen near your residence.
If you have a custody order in place or your granted protection order includes your children, talk with your child(ren)’s school or caregiver about the orders in effect. If you do not have these orders currently, talk to your child(ren)’s school or caregiver about communicating with you immediately if the other parent comes to pick up the child(ren).
Safety After a Protection Order/No Contact Order
Make sure to keep a copy of your granted protection order with you at all times.
Let neighbors know about your order and to call police if they see the offender in the area of your home.
Let your employer know of your order so they can call police if the offender shows up. Provide a photo of the offender for identification to HR or security personnel. Devise a safe place to go until law enforcement arrives if your offender shows up.
If the offender continues to contact you through any means, make sure to screenshot anything you can and/or document any in person contact or 3rd party contact made.
If the Protection Order or no contact order is violated, you can call the police to report.
If the offender shows up at your home, have a safe place you can hide or exit until police can respond.
Keep in contact with close friends and/or family members even more than normal at this time.
Try to keep your doors and windows locked at all times, even when you are home. When you return home, create a routine of checking your doors and windows.