Children require a safe environment in which to live. When their home life is a battleground involving adults who live there, it can be traumatic and possibly dangerous. As the non-violent caregiver, you need to develop a safety and escape plan with your children.
This plan provides safeguards for your children and a way for them to get you immediate emergency help when necessary. The children need to understand the violence is not their fault nor is it their responsibility to intervene in an attempt to protect you from your abuser.
I will provide the following for my children:
1. I will set up a safe room in our home for the children to go to in the event that my partner becomes abusive. This room will be, if possible, on ground level so the children can leave through a window if it becomes necessary.
2. The safe room will have a lock on the door and a cellular/cordless phone in a location, known to only the children and myself, with the police emergency number pre-programmed on a speed dial.
3. The children will become familiar with the telephone and the location of the emergency speed dial key. We will practice saying, “Someone is hurting my mommy/daddy/son/stepmom/stepdad/etc.” just in case one of the children has to call the police.
4. I will teach the children to take the telephone inside the closet in the safe room when they call the police. The children will not hang up the phone after they call. I will teach them to stay on the line with the police operator until the police arrive at our house.
5. I will teach my children our home phone number and complete address including directions:
6. The children and I will have a predetermined code word: _________________________________ to alert the children to go immediately to the safe room. I will have an additional code word_________________ to alert the children to immediately leave our home and run to____________________ (our pre-arranged “emergency friend” such as our neighbor, the corner store, or a Block-Parent house) and ask an adult to call the police.
7. The children know the location of the “emergency friend” and the fastest route to get there_________________________________________.
8. The children will contact their pre-arranged “emergency caregiver”_________________________ (my closest friend, grandparents or another pre-selected responsible adult) immediately after the “emergency friend” has called the police.
9. The children will go with the “emergency friend” to the home of the “emergency caregiver” where I will meet them as soon as I am able.
10. We have discussed the Neighborhood Block Parent Program. The children are familiar with the Block Parent red and white sign, and when they see it in the window of a house or store, they know it is a safe place where adults will be present and willing to help.
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