Domestic Violence Safety Instructions: Care Instructions

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If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number.

Be careful online too. Your online activity may be seen by others. Do not use your personal computer or device to read about this topic. Use a safe computer such as one at work, a friend's house, or a library.

When you are abused by a spouse or partner, you can take actions to protect yourself and your children.

You can increase your safety whether you decide to stay with your spouse or partner or you decide to leave. You can also prepare an action plan and kit ahead of time. This will allow you to leave quickly when you decide to. Remember, you cannot stop your partner's abuse, but you can find help for you and your children. No one deserves to be abused.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Make a plan for your safety

  • If you decide to stay with your abusive spouse or partner, you can do the following to increase your safety:
    • Decide what works best to keep you safe in an emergency.
    • Decide who you can call to help you in an emergency.
    • Decide if you will call the police if you get hurt again. If you can, agree on a signal with your children or neighbor to call the police for you if you need help. You can flash lights or hang something out of a window.
    • Choose a place to go for a short time if you need to leave home. Memorize the address and phone number.
    • Learn escape routes out of your home in case you need to leave in a hurry. Teach your children different ways to get out of the house quickly if they need to.
    • Take objects that can be used as weapons (guns, knives, hammers) and hide them or lock them up.
    • Learn the number of a domestic violence shelter. Talk to the people there about how they can help.
    • Find out about other community resources that can help you.
    • Take pictures of bruises or other injuries if you can. You can also take pictures of things your abuser has broken.
    • Teach your children that violence is never okay. Tell them that they do not deserve to be hurt.

Pack a bag

  • Prepare a kit with things you will need if you leave the house suddenly. You can try to hide this in your house, or you can leave it with a friend or relative you can trust. You should include the following items in the kit:
    • A set of keys to your house and car.
    • Emergency phone numbers and addresses. You might also want to have a map and a small flashlight in case you need to leave in the night.
    • Money such as cash or checks. You can also ask a trusted friend or family member to hold money for you.
    • Copies of legal documents such as house and car titles or rent receipts, birth certificates, Social Security card, voter registration, marriage and driver's licenses, and your children's health records.
    • Personal items you would need for a few days, such as clothes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and any medicines you or your children need.
    • A favorite toy or book for your child or children.
    • Diapers and bottles, if you have very young children.
    • Pictures that show signs of abuse and violence. You may also add pictures of your abuser.

If you leave

  • If you decide to leave, you can take the following steps:
    • Go to the emergency room at a hospital if you have been hurt.
    • Ask the police to be with you as you leave. They can protect you as you leave the house.
    • If you decide to leave secretly, remember that activities can be tracked. Your abuser may still have access to your cell phone, email, and credit cards. It may be possible for these to be traced. Always be aware of your surroundings.
    • Take the kit you have prepared. If this is an emergency, do not worry about gathering up anything. Just leave—your safety is most important.
    • If your abuser moves out, change the locks on the doors. If you have a security system, change the access code.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You or someone else has just been abused.
  • You think you or someone else is in danger of being abused.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter A752 in the search box to learn more about "Domestic Violence Safety Instructions: Care Instructions".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.