If you (or someone that you know) is living in an explosive, abusive situation, a plan for personal safety is important.
The Montgomery County Texas Sheriff Department has an excellent checklist that applies to various stages of the situation.
First of all, it is important to know what to do if violence erupts. For instance, know how to get out of the way of anything that could be used as a weapon, where the safest places in the house are located, who you could call and where to go if you had to leave suddenly, and devise a code word to use with family, friends and children to indicate an emergency or need to contact police.
Secondly, have emergency plans in place. Know where your important papers and financial information is located (or have copies of important documents stored in a safe place off premises), know about domestic abuse shelters that are available. And don’t forget to have an alternate plan for your pets to insure that they are fed and safe. (Domestic abuse shelters can often help with this).
Third, there is a reminder that leaving the abuser is the most dangerous time. He or she will feel control slipping away and can become desperate. Therefore, you may need to get an immediate protective order. Carry it with you at all times and decide in advance that you will call police if necessary, no hesitation.
Fourth, make sure you are safe in your own residence. Lock doors, use lighting, watch your back when coming and going. Don’t give your abuser information about you, your premises, or your schedule.
Fifth, know how to stay safe on the job, what to tell your employers and co-workers. Make sure you inform your child’s school, day care, and those in charge of after-school activities of your situation.
The Montgomery County Sheriff list is good advice for those in an abusive situation no matter what the location. If you live outside the Montgomery County Texas area, be aware that other resources are also available online for your county.
(Photo is of Safe Haven of Tarrant County, Fort Worth)