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Advocates are Available to Help You Whether You Decide to Stay or to Leave

  • If you are being abused, please visit our Find Help Near You page to find your local domestic violence program. Services are free and confidential.
  • All domestic violence programs have staff who can help you make a safety plan, talk to you about other community resources and laws, help you get a protection order.
  • Always Remember: You are the expert on your own life. Think about what has or has not helped you stay safer in the past as you consider the ideas below.

Safety Planning

  • Safety Planning is an ongoing process, not a one time event. An advocate can help you create, revise, and update what works best for you.
  • There are pros and cons to every choice. In an emergency, one option is to call 911.
  • If you have children, safety plan with them. Assure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.

    • Teach your children how to call 911 and to give their home address to the operator.
    • Consider a code word for children to let them know when they need to go get help.
    • Identify a safe place for them to go if needed.
  • If you are thinking about staying, you can meet with an advocate to discuss possible options for enhancing your safety and independence within your situation.

    • Get the number for your local crisis center
    • Tell your neighbor about the abuse and ask them to call the police if they hear signs of violence
    • If you have to leave your house, where can you go for the day? Overnight? For longer?
    • Talk about your situation with a friend or relative you trust. That person may be able to offer you support. Establish a code word or sign that you can use to let friends, family, teachers, or co-workers know when to call for help
  • If you are thinking about leaving, please note that this can be a time of increased danger. A free and confidential advocate can help you think about risks and options.

    • Talk with an advocate in advance to create a safer exit/break-up plan
    • Check with a friend or relative to see if you could stay with them or if they could lend you money in an emergency
    • Consider talking to your employer to address safety in your workplace
    • Consider the option of obtaining a protection order
    • Consider where you could take your pets.
  • If you decide to leave, and you feel it is safe to do so, take important items with you. You may want to pack these items in advance and keep them at the home of a friend or relative. Important items may include:

    • Passports, green cards, work permits
    • Lease agreements/House deed
    • Birth, marriage and/or divorce certificates
    • Address book
    • ID card or Driver’s license
    • Medicine
    • School and medical records
    • Keys (house, car, office)
    • Insurance Papers
    • Clothes
    • Money (cash, bankbooks, credit cards)
    • Pictures or other sentimental items
    • Car registration
    • Your children’s favorite toys
  • If your abuser has moved out, consider changing up your routines and be aware that your abuser may still try to contact you.

    • Consider change the locks on your doors and get locks for the windows.
    • Screen your calls and/or get Caller ID.
    • Consider changing your phone number and/or trading in your mobile phone.
    • Your home computer use may be monitored, so use a safer computer at a library/public area, change passwords, and create a new and anonymous email address.
  • If you will be moving, you may want to use the Colorado Address Confidentiality Program to protect your new address.  An advocate at your domestic violence program will be able to help you with this, or you can contact the ACP directly: 1-888-341-0002.

DV Fatality Risk Factors

The factors below may help domestic violence victims assess the dangerousness of their abusive partners. All domestic violence programs have staff who can help you make a safety plan, talk to you about other community resources and laws, help you get a protection order.

Caution: Comparing any abuser’s behavior to the list below might help victims realize if their safety is at risk. But, the presence or absence of any or all these factors is not a guarantee of lethality or safety. These risk factors are not ranked in any order. Trained domestic violence advocates are available in every county to discuss safety and options.

  • Threats of homicide or suicide
  • Stalking
  • Previous physical assaults
  • Access to firearms
  • Separation/estrangement
  • Strangulation during previous assaults
  • Access to victims
  • Public display of violence toward victim
  • History of sexual violence
  • Destruction of property
  • Jealousy and possessiveness
  • Controlling of victim’s daily activities and contacts with others
  • Drug or alcohol consumption
  • Depression
  • Prior calls to police
  • Pet abuse
  • Lack of respect for the law
  • Obsessed with partner or family
  • Intimidation/threats
  • Witnessed intimate partner abuse as a child
  • Acute mental health problems
  • Unemployment
  • Victim has children who are not the abuser’s

(From: http://www.pcadv.org/Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Fatalities/DV-Fatality-Risk-Factors/)