It is not easy for battered women to leave the perpetrator therefore the separation process may take time. No matter what the woman’s current decision is, help her prepare a safety plan to be followed if her and her children’s safety is at risk.
- Memorising phone numbers of people and services that could help: a friend, mother, specialised help centre and the police.
- Having a ready escape plan if violence recurs.
- Preparing and hiding at the relatives’ all the necessary items to be used if she is unable to return home during outbursts of violence:
- documents (or copies thereof): passport, children’s birth certificates and marriage certificates;
- some money;
- the bank agreement and credit card codes;
- indispensable medicines and prescriptions thereof (should she or the children need them);
- spare home and car keys;
- a notebook with most important phone numbers;
- several personal items – clothes and children’s favourite toys.
- To agree on a password to be used while calling a friend to warn her of recurring violence and say that help is needed.
- To ask a neighbour to call the police if she hears a row at their home.
- To tell the closest people about it – maybe they will offer ways to help.
Explain that in the case of recurring domestic violence she should:
- Trust her gut feeling – if she senses danger to her or the children she should seek a safe place immediately.
- Avoid closed spaces and places where there are dangerous items, try to stay in a place at home with an easy escape route.
- Call the police and call those who can help as soon as she finds a phone.
Point out that once she decides to get a divorce, she will also have to do the following:
- Change the phone SIM card and save the most important phone numbers.
- Open a personal bank account where she could gradually save up money and think who could lend her money for settling down and starting an independent life.
- Think in advance where she could stay – perhaps relatives would agree to provide accommodation, or maybe she will find a solution herself (for example, agree to stay at the Crisis Centre).
- Discuss the prepared action plan with her relatives and the staff of the Specialised Help Centre who would be able to advise on the best course of action.
- Use the free legal assistance available at the Specialised Centre and find out everything about the divorce procedure, division of property and custody rights.
- Contact the consultants of the Specialised Help Centre even when she feels support is lacking – they will offer every help and assistance.
- Be positive about each step and decision she makes, even if it fails sometimes.