Many articles when talking about domestic violence, talk about the victim and children leaving the home. But what if you, like I did, have your abuser removed from your home by police or court order? What should you do and know to keep safe afterwards. Here are some suggestions and tips.
Change the locks!
I know this seems obvious but when you are under that stress of “Will he/she come back?”, you will be surprised at what you forget to do! Changing the locks should be your first priority. If you can’t do it yourself, call a locksmith or ask a neighbor. Where I rent from, my landlord was more then happy to do it for me.
Get his/her name off of the bills, lease, etc.
This may be a little tricky to do if you don’t have a protection or restraining order against them. I did and everyone cooperated with me. My landlord even gave me a statement saying he was no longer residing at my apartment to give to the phone and electric companies. Now I have a friend who left her husband in March. She is having a heck of a time getting the electric company to take his name off of the bills. Bank accounts are important as well. Your abuser could really mess your credit and accounts up.
Program your phone with emergency numbers
Another obvious, I know, but if your abuser breaks into your house it is easier to hit one key instead of 7. Program 911 into the phone and teach your children both 911 and the quick dial. Ask a neighbor if there is an emergency, can you contact them for help. The more people you have on your side, the safer you will be and feel.
Tell everyone you can that you have a protection order
Neighbors, children’s schools, relatives, etc. This way if they see the abuser around, they can notify the police. Let your children and their schools know who is authorized to pick your child up. Put a copy of a protection or restraining order into the main office.
Notify your work of the situation
Yes, it may be embarrassing to talk about something this personal with your bosses and co-workers, but just think of all of the people killed in work places in recent years that could have been prevented. Not only could you be saving your life but the lives of those around you.