How to keep safe

How to keep safe

Domestic violence

What you can do to keep safe

To keep yourself safe from domestic violence, create a safety plan:

  • Decide where you will go and who you will contact if you need a safe place.
  • Make a list or memorise important phone numbers including local police, friends and family
  • Keep all cards and documents in a safe place including your bank and credit cards, Medicare, birth certificate, Centrelink documents and scripts for any medications. Take photographs of these documents and email them to a trusted friend or relative.
  • Consider preparing a bag with basic essentials for you (and your children) and leave it with a trusted friend or relative.
  • Teach your children to dial triple zero (000) in emergency situations and to give your address on the phone.
  • Seek help in advance from your neighbours to call the police if they overhear any noises that would cause them concern.
  • Have a code with friends or family that you can easily share if you are in danger and you want them to know you need help.
  • Think about exits and safe places in your home when you’re feeling threatened.

The National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service has more information on safety planning.

Remember! In an emergency, call triple zero (000).

If you have experienced domestic or family violence, you should:

  • Contact the police.
  • Tell someone you trust – a friend, family member, teacher, workmate or your doctor – and ask for help.
  • Seek medical attention for any injuries or if you are sexually assaulted.
  • Contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or the NSW Domestic Violence Line on 1800 65 64 63.
  • Keep a record of abusive incidents including text messages and voicemails.
  • Apply for an apprehended domestic violence order or ask the police to do this for you.

Keeping safe after violence

Leaving an abusive relationship is an important and positive step in protecting yourself.

This transition may include barriers and difficulties. You may experience emotional responses such as grief, euphoria, anger, fear and regret.

Support is available.

You may also need to take steps to prevent any future harassment or violence from the perpetrator.

Here are some strategies to keep safe:

  • Keep your apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO) with you, and store a copy with someone you trust.
  • If an ADVO is breached, inform the police immediately.
  • Seek legal advice and be aware of your rights.
  • Change your locks.
  • Cancel joint bank accounts and credit cards.
  • Organise for your mail to be redirected to a post office box.
  • Teach children not to open the door without checking who is there first.
  • Inform your children’s school or day care who is authorised to collect them, and if there is an ADVO in place.
  • Get guidance from the police about safety, including the security of your home.
  • Change your routines, and ask someone to go with you when you have concerns.
  • Consider changing your bank account, your postal address and your phone numbers.
  • Seek support from a domestic violence worker or counsellor.
  • Keep a record of any contact you have with the perpetrator or offender.

Staying home leaving violence 

Staying Home Leaving Violence is an initiative that protects women who want to separate from a violent partner but want to stay in their home, even if it is owned or leased by the abusive person.

It operates in a number of places throughout NSW, including Eastern Sydney (0439 414 673) and Redfern (02 9699 9036).

For more information about the initiative, call the Domestic Violence Line:

1800 65 64 63

If you are planning or need to leave your home:

  • Contact the Domestic Violence Line to talk about options for safe accommodation or referral to a refuge (1800 65 64 63).
  • Call the NSW government homeless information and referral hotline Link2home for information about crisis accommodation in your area (1800 152 152).
  • If you have pets, contact the RSPCA to arrange safe accommodation for them (02 9782 4408).
  • If you need to break a lease, you can usually do so without penalty if you have an ADVO, as long as you provide 14 days notice in writing.
  • Arrange your transportation in advance.
  • Safely store a package of crucial items – money, documents and keys – for leaving.
  • Only tell trusted people of your intended new location.
  • Provide police with your updated contact details.

Sample checklist of items to take when you leave:

  • driver’s licence
  • bank details and cards
  • credit cards
  • certificates of birth, marriage and/or divorce
  • any paperwork related to Centrelink, taxation, employment and/or immigration
  • keys
  • medications, Medicare cards and medical records
  • court papers, including your ADVO
  • mortgage or tenancy paperwork
  • clothing
  • mobile phone
  • address book and key contact numbers
  • items of comfort, such as children’s toys
  • items that are of personal value to you, such as your photos or jewellery.

If you need to return home to collect your possessions, you can ask for support from the police to do so.

Last updated: Wednesday, 20 July 2016