Violence Indicators & Staying Safe

Violence Indicators of Lethality When an Abuser Might Kill

  • The abuser has threatened to kill
  • Partner has left or the abuser has discovered their partner wants to leave, file for separation or divorce
  • Weapons are present.
  • The abuser has easy access to partner or partner's family
  • A history of prior calls to the police for help
  • Stalking behavior on the part of the abuser may be an indication of willingness to engage in life-threatening behavior
  • The abuser has threatened the children
  • The abuser has threatened to take partner hostage or has held partner hostage
  • The abuser has killed or mutilated a pet
  • The abuser has a history of assaultive behavior against others
  • The abuser has a history of weapon use
  • The abuser has threatened suicide
  • The abuser has an alcohol or drug problem

During an Explosive Incident

  • Stay away from the kitchen, or anywhere near weapons
  • Go to a room with a door or window to escape, or a room with a phone, lock the abuser outside if you can
  • Call 911 right away
  • Identify neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home If a police officer comes, tell what happened; get name and badge number
  • Get medical help if you are hurt
  • Take pictures of bruises and injuries

Stay Safe

Whether or not you feel able to leave an abuser, there are things you can do to make yourself and your family safer.

How to Protect Yourself at Home

  • Learn where to get help; memorize emergency numbers
  • Keep a phone in a room you lock from the inside; get a cell phone and program it to 911, keep it with you always
  • Practice how to get out of your home safely; identify which doors, windows, elevator or stairwell would be best
  • Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you don't think you will need to ); make arrangements for pets
  • Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need the police If the abuser has moved out, change the locks on your doors; get locks on the windows
  • Get an unlisted phone number; block caller ID; use an answering machine; screen calls, save messages
  • Pack a bag with important things you would need if you had to leave quickly and put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative to keep for you.

How to Protect Yourself Outside the Home

  • Change your regular travel habits; try to get rides with different people
  • Shop and bank in a different place
  • Cancel any bank accounts or credit cards you shared; open new accounts at a different bank
  • Keep your Personal Protection Order (PPO) and emergency phone numbers with you at all times

How to Make Yourself Safer at Work

  • Decide who at work you will inform of your situation, this should include office or building security
  • Provide a picture of the abuser
  • Don't go to lunch alone If the abuser calls you at work, save the voice mail and email
  • Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or bus
  • Use a variety of routes to go home