Working Out a Safety Plan
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A safety plan covers steps a person needs to take to keep him or herself, and his or her children, safe from domestic violence. Although each safety plan is different, the following are among the questions each person should consider before applying for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order:
Where will you live?
- Should you leave your present residence, or should you ask the court to order the person you want restrained to leave?
- If you will leave, how and when will you leave? When and where will you go? What will you take?
- If you leave, will you need to keep your plans secret? Find a place to store your things until you are ready to go?
Where will your children live?
- If the person you want protection from is also the parent of any of your children who are under 18 years of age, you need to get advice from an attorney, the district attorney, or a domestic violence counselor regarding the rights and responsibilities that both you and the other parent have concerning the children.
What important documents will you need?
- You should keep certified copies of your Restraining Order with you at all times, and keep copies of other important legal or other papers such as court orders if you move or go to live in a shelter.
What emotional support or counseling will help you and your family members?
- Sometimes choosing to leave an abusive relationship means you could be in MORE danger than you were before. Because this can be so difficult to figure out on your own, it makes good sense to talk to someone you trust about what you should consider.
- Domestic Violence hotlines, shelters, and other counseling resources can be very helpful in trying to assess how dangerous your situation is. You might also contact your doctor, religious leader, your local police or sheriff's department, or you county's department of human or social services for more referrals.
- Many domestic violence victims need extra help in handling their experiences, or in dealing with substance abuse, mental health issues, anger management, and parenting or relationship problems.
- Financial issues can also be of great concern. Often domestic violence organizations know if there are any funds in your county that can help.
For some suggestions and resources for where you can turn for help, see the information on Domestic Violence cases in Contra Costa County.
To read an information sheet called "Can a DVRO Help Me?" (DV-500-INFO) in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese, click on the language you need:
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