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Being Abused?

Your safety and that of your children and pets need to be your top concern. Leaving an abusive relationship can be dangerous. Abusers are not predictable. Safety planning is complex. If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is not your fault. The abuser is responsible. The Shelter staff will listen and support your decisions. There are steps you can take to help end the abuse.

Some actions you may want to consider:

  • Call the police in an emergency or file a report about the violence.
  • Have the abuser ordered by the court to stay away from you by getting an Injunction for Protection.
  • See a doctor for injuries and ask him/her to write down what caused the injuries.
  • Talk to a friend, family member, neighbour, clergy, or someone else for support; and ask for help.
  • Keep a journal in words and photographs.

In an emergency:

  • If you are at home and are being threatened or attacked, stay away from the kitchen, (the abuser can find weapons like knives).
  • Stay away from bathrooms, closets, or small spaces where the abuser can trap you. Get to a room with an outside door or window to escape.
  • Get to a room with a telephone to call for help. Lock the abuser outside if you can.
  • Call the police right away for help.
  • If possible, run to a friend or neighbour’s house for help. Take the children with you.
  • If a police officer comes, tell him/her what happened; and get his/her name and badge number.
  • Take pictures of bruises and injuries.

Prepare an escape bag:

  • Prepare a bag, box, or suitcase filled with things you will need if you leave. Keep it in a safe place away from home, if possible. The escape bag is a secret from the abuser or anyone who could tell him you are planning to leave. Place “originals” in the bag except for the items you must have with you or things you can’t take without the abuser noticing. Avoid using your purse or car.
  • Identification (driver’s license, passports)
  • Birth certificates for yourself and your children
  • Social Security cards for yourself and your children.
  • Extra car, house, storage, business, or other keys
  • Chequebook, ATM card
  • Credit cards, bank books, etc.
  • Address book and telephone numbers
  • Medicaid cards, etc.
  • Car registration papers
  • Car, health, and life insurance papers
  • School and medical records
  • Divorce, custody, or injunction papers
  • Proof of income for partner
  • Copies of bills you owe with your partner
  • Change of clothes
  • Medicine and prescriptions (extra)
  • Personal hygiene products (tampons, toothbrushes, deodorant, etc.)
  • Diapers, formula, toys, blankets
  • Pictures, jewellery, keepsakes
  • Abuser’s personal information (date of birth, Social Security number, work permit information, place of employment, description of vehicle and license number)
  • Picture of family which includes abuser
  • Lease or titles of property
  • Keep a journal in words and photographs.

For more information or help contact Safehouse Stellenbosch here.

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