Your safety is important and making informed decisions about staying or leaving an abusive relationship is critical to your safety. You are the expert in your own life and the only one who knows what is right and safe for you. Florida’s certified domestic violence centers have trained advocates who are dedicated to assisting you with finding options and developing your safety plan.
Do I Need a Safety Plan?
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you may want to consider developing a safety plan. A safety plan is for:
- individuals living with an abuser – because danger can occur at anytime
- individuals planning to leave – because few abusers allow their partners to leave peacefully
- individuals living away from the abuser – because danger often increases after a survivor leaves or ends the relationship
The trained advocates at one of Florida’s 42 certified domestic violence centers or a hotline advocate at the toll-free statewide hotline – 1-800-500-1119 – can help.
What are Some Safety Tips in the Meantime?
- Identify a safe place to go if an argument occurs – avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom) or rooms with weapons (kitchen).
- Calls for assistance should be made from phones in safe locations.
- If you use email or instant messaging, use a computer and an account your abuser does not know about, or use a more private computer at a trusted friend’s house, a library or an internet café. For more information regarding computer and internet safety: (include the link to internet/computer safety here)
- If someone is threatening you or your children, take the threats seriously.
- Keep important items in a bag with someone you trust. Items include your identification papers/cards, keys, cell phone, bank statements, money, medicine, pictures of the family that include the abuser, proof of income, financial statements, visas, passports, green cards, insurance documents, birth certificates for you and your children, your partners personal information including date of birth, social security number, place of employment and license plate number.
- Change your shopping habits by choosing different grocery stores, retail outlets, etc. and change your travel routes to and from the stores.
- Change your travel routes to work, school, or places you travel to on a regular basis.
- Request confidentiality when working with agencies and religious organizations.
- Establish a code word so that family, trusted friends, teachers, or co-workers know when to call for help.
- Contact your local certified domestic violence center for assistance with safety planning.
Florida Domestic Violence Hotline
FCADV operates the statewide domestic violence hotline. Information is available in English, Spanish, and Creole. From anywhere in Florida, a survivor can access the nearest certified domestic violence center for emergency services by dialing 1-800-500-1119 and pressing the number 1 after the prompt answers. Legal advice, referrals, and information for victims are available by pressing 3 on the menu. To speak with the FCADV administrative office or obtain resources from the statewide library, press 4 on the menu.