Are you at high risk of serious harm?
If any of the following are happening to you, you could be at risk of serious harm and we strongly encourage you to seek support and protection from the police or another domestic abuse service:
- The violence is getting worse or you have been seriously hurt
- The perpetrator (= the person who is abusing you) has threatened to kill you
- You have recently separated, or told your partner you are going to leave
- The perpetrator has access to weapons
- The perpetrator has raped or sexually assaulted you
- The perpetrator is harassing or stalking you after you have left
- The perpetrator is extremely jealous, possessive and controlling
- You are pregnant or have recently given birth
- You are socially or culturally isolated by the perpetrator
- There is extended family involvement and collusion with the abuse
- The perpetrator is misusing drugs or alcohol
- The perpetrator is abusive, aggressive or threatening towards your children
- The perpetrator has a history of ignoring or breaking injunctions or other court orders.
What you can do in advance
- Put together a list of phone numbers. Include friends, relatives, Helplines, local police, Womens Aid, support workers etc. Do not rely on numbers being stored in your mobile phone. Even well known numbers are forgotten in a panic. Keep the list with you, or put it somewhere safe that you can easily get hold of
- See if there is someone who lives nearby who you can tell about the abuse, ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance
- Try and save some money for travel costs
- Get an extra set of keys cut for the house/car. Keep keys, money, documents & clothes for you and the children packed, so that you can get away quickly
- Think about where you would go; have a couple of options. How would you get there?
- Talk to the children (if you think it would be appropriate/safe to do so) so that they understand and can help/co-operate in an emergency. Teach them how to dial 999; even if the phone is left off the hook the police can still trace the call.
What you can do to protect yourself in an emergency
- Try to move to a low risk area/room. Avoid places with sharp instruments, such as the kitchen, bathroom or garage. Avoid places that you can get trapped in; try to stay near a door so that you can get out
- Find somewhere you can easily and quickly use a phone, at a neighbours or relatives house etc.
- Ring 999 yourself or if possible get one of the children to ring
- Trust your own judgement. If you’re frightened don’t hesitate to find a way to get help or to get out.
GM Police switchboard: 101
Greater Manchester Women’s Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0161 636 7525
National Domestic Violence 24 hour Helpline: 0808 2000 247
Things to remember if you plan in advance to leave
- Leave when the abuser is not around
- Take all your children with you
- Have some money saved in case you need to use a taxi or public transport
- Take legal & financial papers (court orders etc.), marriage & birth certificates, national health cards, passports, driving license, benefit books, benefit/tax credit award letters, cheque book, credit cards, bank statements etc.
- Take clothing for at least several days
- Take any medicine/details of repeat prescriptions you or the children might need
- Get an extra set of keys cut for the house/car
- Take personal possessions, which have sentimental value such as photographs & jewellery
- Take favourite toys for the children
- If you discover you have left something essential behind, you can always arrange for a police escort so that you can return for it. Never return on your own.