If you are experiencing any type of relationship abuse, it is important to have a safety plan. Even if you think you will not need it, it is good to think these things through. You might need it later. Do it for the same reasons you would hold a fire drill or install house alarm - it’s always better to be prepared for an emergency.
- If you are still in the relationship, try to spend time together only in public places, or where other people are there with you (e.g., at home when your parents are there). If you are ever in your room or his/her room, keep the door open.
- If an argument starts, stay away from private places, especially the kitchen or bathroom, where injury is more likely to occur. Leave the room or house if he/she starts to get angry, and plan the easiest escape route.
- If you drive, keep your keys on you and park in a place where it is easy to leave.
- Keep your cell phone in your pocket in case you need to call for help. If you leave it in your bag or on the dresser, he/she can easily take your phone away.
- Keep a journal describing the abuse. Dates and details are necessary.
- If he/she has ever had unsupervised access to your cell phone or computer (even for a quick trip to the bathroom), have the device inspected for stalking devices such as GPS, spyware, and keyboard loggers.
- Don’t go places alone. Keep a friend with you when you walk the hallways in school, go to activities, walk to your car, etc.
- Memorize important numbers in case he/she takes or breaks your cell phone and you need to call for help using another phone.
- Call 911 immediately if you are ever left stranded, if you are concerned for your safety, or even his/her safety (e.g., if he/she threatens suicide), or if you are being stalked/harassed.
- Talk to a professional about getting a restraining order (see resources).
- If ending the relationship, do so in a public place. Better yet, have someone with you or waiting for you to make sure you get home safely.
- Plan ways to keep yourself busy after the breakup. Feelings of loneliness or guilt might draw you back to the abuser.
- Talk to an adult! Your parents, counselor, youth director, rabbi, and other resources like Alpert Jewish Family and Children’s Service or Domestic Violence hotlines are here to help you (see resources or call 561-684-1991).