To find out where to get help or to file for a Protection from Abuse Order in your area. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
Whether or not you fell able to leave an abuser, there are things you can do to make yourself and your family safer.
In an Emergency
If you are at home and you are being threatened or attacked
- Stay away from the kitchen, bathroom, or other small spaces, such as closets, where the abuser can trap you.
- Get to a phone and call 911, or call your local emergency number
- Leave the house immediately, and find a friend you can run to for help.
- Call medical help, if you are hurt.
Make sure to contact your local domestic violence program or call the national hotline at 1-800-799-7233. you can get legal assistance, housing and financial support.
How to Protect Yourself at Home
- Learn where to get help; memorize emergency phone numbers
- Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside; if you can get a cellular phone that you keep with you at all times.
- If the abuser had move out, change the locks on your door; get locks on the windows
- Plan an escape route out of your home; teach it to your children.
- Think about where you would go it you need help to escape.
- Ask you neighbors to call the police is they see the abuser at your home.
- Pack a bag with important things you’d need if you had to leave quickly, Include cash, car keys, and information such as; court papers, passport or birth certificates, medical records and medicines and immigration papers.
- Get an unlisted phone number and block user ID.
- Use an answering machine, screen the calls.
- Take a good self defense course.
How to Make Yourself Safer at Work
- Keep a coy of your court order at work.
- Give a picture of the abuser to security and friends at work.
- Ask everyone who answers phones not to give out any information about your work schedule, location, home address and phone numbers.
- Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or the bus.
- If the abuser contact you at work, save voice mail and e-mail messages.
How to Make Your Children Safer
- Teach them not to get in the middle of a fight even if they want to help.
- Teach them how to get to safety, to call 911 and to give you address and phone number to the police.
- Give the principal at school or the daycare center a copy of your court order, tell them not to release your children to anyone without talking to you first; use a password so they can be sure it is you on the phone; give them a photo of the abuser.
- Make sure the children know who to tell at school if they see the abuser.
- Make sure the school knows not to give your address or phone number to anyone.
How to Protect Yourself Outside the Home
- Change your regular travel habits.
- Try to get rides with different people
- Cancel any bank accounts or credit cards you shared.
- Shop and bank in a different place
- Keep your court order and emergency numbers with you at all times
- Keep a cell phone, and program it to speed dial 911 or other emergency numbers.
Protection from Abuse Orders
- You can get a Protection from Abuse Order against a family member or
intimate partner who has abused you. In a Protection from Abuse Order,
a judge can.
- Order the abuse to stay away from you or your children.
- Order the abuser to leave your home.
- Give you temporary custody of your children and order the abuser to pay temporary child support.
- Order the police to go with you to get your personal belongings
- Order the abuser to pay you back to things that were damaged or repaired, as well as for your medical expenses.
- Order the abuser not to call you at work.
- Order the abuser to give guns and weapons to the police.
- Order the abuser to pick up and return the children at a safe place other than your home.
- Order that visits with the abuser be supervised, if the abuser has harmed or threatened the children.
**Get a certified copy of the court order and keep it with you at all times.
If you have to travel to another state for work, or to get away from the abuser, take your protection order with you. It is valid everywhere.
- Show the prosecutor your court orders
- Show the prosecutor medical records about your injuries, or pictures, if you have them.
- Tell the prosecutor the name of anyone who is helping you, such as a victim advocate or lawyer.
- Tell the prosecutor about any witness to injuries or abuse.
- Ask the prosecutor to notify you ahead of time if the abuser is getting out of jail.
Be Safe at the Courthouse
1. Sit as far away from the abuser as you can.
2. Bring a friend or relative with you to wait with you until you case is heard.
3. Tell a bailiff or sheriff that you are afraid of the abuser and ask him / her to look out for you.
4. When court is over, make sure you have a copy of your court order before you leave,
5. Ask the judge or the sheriff to keep the abuser there until you have left the building, or wait until the abuser has left first.
6. If you think the abuser is following you when leave. Call the police immediately.
This information was produced by:
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims Committee of the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness.American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence