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Safety Planning

Safety Planning

This is a quick guide about how to keep yourself and your children safe, agencies and organisations that may be able to help you in an emergency.  This plan should be able to provide you with a quick outline and summary of the options you have.

Please remember in an emergency you should ALWAYS phone the police first.

Housing Options

  • Refuge Accommodation – emergency accommodation for victims of domestic violence, it provides a safe and secure place to stay if you need to leave your home most refuges are 24 hour access.
  • Local Authority – you are considered homeless if you have to leave your home due to domestic violence, your local authority has a duty to provide you with advice and guidance. If it is unsafe for you to return home they will look at alternatives such as refuge, temporary accommodation and sometimes bed and breakfast accommodation, until you are re-housed permanently.
  • Sanctuary Scheme – this scheme was introduced to aid victims of domestic violence stay in their home safely; the scheme can assess the safety of your home and install further measures if it is deemed necessary. The scheme offers various levels of safety from extra door/window locks and panic alarms all the way up to panic rooms in the home.
  • Housing Associations and Private Rent – these can be applied to for permanent housing, however it is not an emergency service.

Domestic Violence is dealt with under both criminal and civil law, civil law aims at protecting the victim and criminal law is aimed at punishing the perpetrator.

Civil Law Remedies

  • Non molestation orders/injunctions – are aimed at preventing your partner or ex-partner threatening or using violence, intimidation and harassing you and/or your children. It is a legal document served by the court and is a criminal offence to breach the order, you can get non-molestation orders yourself but it is helpful to use a solicitor.
  • Occupation orders – these are used to regulate who lives in the family home, they may be useful if you want to return to the home and have the offender removed, you will need a solicitor to apply to the court for this to be granted.
  • Child Contact Orders – these can be arranged through a solicitor at court, they are aimed at resolving any child contact issues between yourself and ex-partner.

Criminal Law Procedures

  • South Tyneside operates a Specialist Domestic Violence Court, which have specially trained magistrates and legal advisors. The court is designed to encourage trust and improve comfort for the victim whilst they go through the court process and improve communication throughout.
  • If you are going through the court process a pre-court visit can be arranged and special measures such as video link or screening to prevent witness intimidation can be applied for. It can be arranged for a worker to meet and greet you at court and take you down to the witness suite where you will wait in a separate room until it is time to give your evidence.
  • There are services that can support you throughout this time.

Risk Management/Safety Planning

  • Think about the options outlined above.
  • Keep any important telephone numbers with you (such as the ones listed under further support).
  • Teach your children to call 999 and what they will be asked such as name address and telephone number.
  • Rehearse an escape route so you and your children can leave safely and quickly.
  • Pack an overnight bag and keep it somewhere safe, such as a friend or family member however try to avoid mutual friends.
  • Try to keep a small amount of money on you at all times.
  • Always remember where your nearest phone is and keep your mobile phone on you at all times, try to keep some credit on it and remember you can still call 999 if you have no credit at all or have no signal.
  • If you suspect your partner may assault you try to get to a place where you will have an escape route avoid rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens and garages.
  • Be prepared to leave the house.
  • If you have neighbours or friends you can trust it may benefit you to make them aware of the situation and make up a code name/word that will indicate to them something is wrong and they need to call the police.
  • Try to keep important ID such as drivers licence, legal documents, birth certificates and passports in a safe accessible place.
  • Vary the route you take to work, school, home etc.
  • Go through your safety plan regularly.

Further Support

Options/Independent Domestic Violence Advisors – 0191 456 7577

South Tyneside Women’s Aid – 0191 454 8257

South Tyneside Domestic Violence Police Unit – 0191 454 7555

24 hour non-emergency police – 101

National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247

Remember in an emergency always dial Police – 999