The West Cork Women against Violence Project will work with a woman to help her create a Safety Plan. This will enable her to have a well thought-out plan for responding to a violent situation. We recognise how difficult it is for a woman to decide to seek refuge and that it may take several attempts before she can permanently leave.
Even when a woman decides that leaving might be in her best interests, there are many emotional, physical, and financial issues, combined with danger, that make leaving difficult. Leaving does not guarantee that the violence will end. Because of this danger, it helps to be prepared. Safety planning embowers, it can help women prepare to safely leave their abusers and know that they have options besides living with the abuser.
Working on your Safety Plan
Remember, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. To help make a decision about what is best for you, it can be useful to talk to a local domestic violence worker. They are familiar with your community and can help you make a safety plan that meets your individual needs. If you write your safety plan, be sure to keep it in a place where your partner won’t find it, perhaps keep it with a friend or relative or where you work.
Devise your safety plan when you are in a position to think things through. That way, if you need to get out quickly, you’ll know where to go and what options are available to you.
• Figure out which friends and relatives might be able to help our or alternatives if your friend is not available at the time you leave.
If you have to leave immediately, call the local Garda station for help or to find out where your nearest refuge and support services are
• If you feel comfortable, tell your neighbours and ask them to dial 999 if suspicious noises are coming from the home.
Consider making a plan for each room in your home
• What can you do to get out of the bathroom or the bedrooms in your home?
• If you live in an apartment building, think of all the ways to get out safely.
• Is there a fire escape/stairs that you could get you safely to the ground?
• Know which doors lock in your home.
• You may want to plan a code or a phrase to use on the phone with a friend if you need to access help when the abuser is present.
Decide how you would get out of your home
• Decide on a pathway if you have to leave at night.
• If you leave by car, make sure you lock the car doors immediately.
• Ensure you have enough fuel.
• Think of public places you can access 24 hours a day.
• Know the route to Garda Stations, Hospitals, support services and refuges in your area.
• Keep any court orders of protection on you at all times.
• Keep your purse and keys in a safe place, in case you have to leave quickly.
• If you have a mobile phone, ensure it is charged and in credit.
• Have coins for a public phone.
Memorise important numbers
Talk to a friend or a domestic violence worker about where to keep important documents such as:
• Protection Orders
• ATM Bank Card
• Children’s allowance books or other payments
• Passport and drivers license
• PPS number, birth/marriage certificates
• Legal documents
• Items of sentimental value
Read these tips from Women’s Aid on digital stalking and how to keep your phone and email safe here
West Cork Women Against Violence Project
Freephone: 1800 203 136
Office: 027 53847
Women’s Aid Helpline: 1800 341 900