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First Steps to Safety

Everyone has the right to feel safe in their relationship and within their families. Sometimes, this isn’t the case. Here are some steps to building a safety plan. A safety plan isn’t necessary to leave, but it can be helpful. You can do this on your own, with trusted support or with the help of a local agency (more info) experienced in creating and maintaining a safe environment for you and/or your children.

  • In an emergency, call 111
  • Keep a getaway bag packed somewhere safe with essential items for you and/or the kids (medications, documents like protection orders/bank account details/identification, clothes, spare money/food/nappies, clothes). This could be kept with friends or family
  • Always have a cell phone you can access – you don’t need credit to dial 111
  • Let trusted people know of your situation and your plan
  • Have an escape route sorted and practise it with your children if you have them
  • Clear call history or internet history if you have contacted support agencies that you don’t want your abuser to know about
  • If you are worried about pets or loved things, consider arrangements for them, too

Women’s Refuge specialise in assisting women and children to leave violent relationships – they are an amazing support and extremely helpful resource for building a comprehensive safety plan and putting you in touch with other people to help maintain your safety e.g. police family violence response coordinator, social supports, safe emergency accommodation. You can find their South Canterbury details here (click here); they are always available for guidance and practical help.