Creating a plan of action is an important way to protect yourself and your children before, during or after a threatening situation. Consider and include the following in your safety planning:
- Decide NOW where you will go and how you will get there the next time your partner becomes violent. Do this even if you don’t think there will be a next time.
- Leave money, an extra set of car keys and extra clothes away from your home and with someone you trust.
- Keep copies of important documents (birth certificates, medical records, marriage license, financial records, etc.) hidden near an exit or away from your home with someone you trust.
- Develop a code word with your children, neighbors and friends to let them know you need to get out immediately.
- Teach children how to contact 911, and have emergency numbers on speed dial. On St. Croix you can dial 911 from landline phones, but from cell or smart phones you must dial (340)772-9111.
- Keep an extra cell phone hidden and charged. Let your children know where it’s kept and that it is to be used only in an emergency.
- Provide your children’s teachers and school principal with enough information about your situation for them to respond supportively. Ask them not to release the children to your spouse if you report to them that you are about to leave or have left the home.
- Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage or kitchen, near weapons or near other places where there are sharp or heavy objects readily available.
- Keep a copy of your permanent restraining order with you at all times. Leave a copy at your children’s school as well.
- If your partner seems to be “building up” and you can’t leave safely, keep your back towards an open space, not a corner.
- Always try to take your children with you when you leave.
- Keep any evidence of physical abuse (ripped clothing, photographs of bruises and injuries, etc.)Keep a written record of incidents, including dates and times, if possible.
Support Action Plan
Keep in mind that you are not alone. There are people who believe in you and will offer you support when you need it, wherever you are and whatever your circumstances may be. A support action plan can help with deciding who you will contact for what you need:
- Tell someone you know and trust what is happening to you so that if you need to get out of your house in a hurry, you will have someone you can turn to for support.
- Develop a code with someone you know and trust to let them know you need to leave where you are immediately
- If you are injured, go to the hospital emergency room or to a doctor and tell what happened to you.
Where You Can Call for Assistance:
Women’s Coalition of St. Croix: (340)773-WCSC (9272) – available 24 hours on St. Croix. Se habla español. Trained advocates are on duty 24 hours a day, every day of the year, to provide compassionate support to victims of domestic violence and other crimes at the hospital or police stations; you can call if you just need to talk to someone. Emergency housing is available for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. All calls are confidential.
Family Resource Center: (340)776-STOP (7867) – located on St. Thomas – available 24 hours.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224(TTY) – available 24 hours. Se habla español. This hotline is staffed by trained counselors, ready to provide immediate crisis intervention assistance. Calls to the hotline are confidential.