Stop Abuse @ Virginia Tech

 

Safety Planning

 

 

If you are in an abusive relationship, it is important to plan ahead for ways to keep yourself safe in various situations. Below are some suggestions to help you think about your safety - not all of these may apply to your situation, and you may have circumstances that are not covered by any of these suggestions. Please contact an advocate from the Women's Center at Virginia Tech (540/231-7806) or from the Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley (540/639-1123) if you want to talk about your safety plan.

Safety Planning if you are in an abusive relationship (students)

  • This is not your fault! No one deserves to be treated in an abusive way!
  • Seek outside help in a support group or in counseling. Talk to someone at the Women's Center (540.231.7806) or the Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley (540.639.1123).
  • Share what's happening with a trusted friend. It is important to have a good support system to get through this.
  • Abusers will often isolate their victims; reach out to friends and family you may have not connected with in a while.
  • Make a plan of what to do and where to go if you are in danger.
  • If you live together, try to save small amounts of money. Keep it in a safe place like a safety deposit box or with a friend.
  • Open your own savings account; if you live together, do not have the statements sent to your home; get a P.O. Box, pick them up at the bank, or utilize online banking.
  • Change the passwords to your email accounts, bill paying sites, social networking sites, and other services you use online.
  • Leave some extra money at a friend's home.
  • If you want to try to stay in school, talk to the Women's Center about services that can help you get through tough semesters, You may also inquire about withdrawing from classes so you can take a break away from campus.
  • If possible get a part time or full time job - check out student employment opportunities.
  • Identify family members or friends who could lend temporary financial support.
  • Consider taking out extra student loans to help pay for a new apartment.
  • Investigate student housing options - emergency loans and housing are sometimes available.
  • Call campus police or 911 if you feel you are in danger.
  • Be aware of weapons your partner may have access to.
  • Avoid going on long trips alone with your partner.
  • Tell your RA/roommates about the situation.
  • Arrange for double dates - if possible try not to be alone with your partner.
  • If the abuser also lives in your residence hall, talk to the Women's Center or a Residence Life staff member about your options for moving to a safer space.
  • Try to let friends, roommates and RAs know where you are going and when you should be back - check-in with them while you're out.
  • If your abuser has a copy of your key, request that s/he return it to you, or change your locks.
  • If you live with your abuser: keep keys, emergency phone numbers, money for calls or a prepaid calling card, a change of clothes for you and your kids (if you have children), and medications in a separate and safe place.
  • Don't forget important documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, your driver's license or ID, immigration paperwork, and your Hokie Passport.
  • Arrange for a safe place to leave your school books, such as a trusted friends' place, the locked trunk of your car, etc.
  • Call the Women's Center at Virginia Tech (540.231.7806) or the Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley (540.639.1123) to talk to someone about your civil and criminal legal options.

Adapted from The Red Flag Campaign, which is a project of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance and was created thanks to the generous support of the Verizon Foundation.

 

Safety planning if you are in an abusive relationship (faculty/staff)

  • This is not your fault! No one deserves to be treated in an abusive way!
  • Seek outside help in a support group or in counseling. Talk to someone at the Women's Center (540/231-7806) or the Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley (540/639-1123).
  • Call 911 if you feel you are in danger.
  • Share what's happening with a trusted friend. It is important to have a good support system to get through this.
  • Abusers will often isolate their victims; reach out to friends and family you may have not connected with in a while.
  • If you live together, try to save small amounts of money. Keep it in a safe place like a safety deposit box or with a friend.
  • Open your own bank account; if you live together, do not have the statements sent to your home; get a P.O. Box, pick them up at the bank, or utilize online banking.
  • Leave some extra money at a friend's home.
  • Change the passwords to your email accounts, bill paying sites, social networking sites, and other services you use online.
  • Identify family members or friends who could lend financial support if needed.
  • Make a plan of what to do and where to go if you are in danger. If you have children, tell them of your plan if they are old enough to follow directions and will not tell the abuser. Teach your children how and when to call 911.
  • If the abuse is causing problems for you at work, talk to someone at the Women's Center who can discuss your options and help you problem-solve.
  • If you have access to transportation, make sure it is in good repair and has gas.
  • Keep an extra set of keys to your home and vehicle in an accessible hiding place outside your home. If you are staying at home and the abuser may have copies of the house keys, get your locks changed.
  • Keep important legal and financial papers (or copies) in a safe place at work, a friends house, or with family: social security cards, birth certificates, driver's license or state ID, immigration paperwork, Hokie Passport, health and auto insurance, registration and titles, individual and joint checking and savings account numbers, passports, deeds, leases, immunization records, mortgage papers, and your marriage or divorce certificate.
  • Pack clothing for yourself and your children (if you have children). Keep the bag in a safe hiding place in your car, at work, or with a neighbor or friend. Don't forget diapers, favorite toys, baby bottles and nonperishable canned formula. Also, pack refill information for any prescription medicines.
  • Be aware of any weapons in the house or that your abuser may have access to. Be aware of the safe rooms in the house (rooms with soft furniture, several exit doors; not the kitchen, bathroom, or garage).
  • Is there a neighbor you can tell about the violence and that you may need to them to call the police? If so, maybe work a signal such as lights blinking on and off, etc. Have a back-up plan of how to signal and where to go in case your first plan doesn't work.
  • If you leave, the most important thing is to make sure you and your children are safe. Do not leave your children. If you must leave them for a short time, go back as soon as possible. If you are afraid, ask for a police escort. If your children are in school, pick them up from school and go.
  • Talk to an advocate from the Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley or the Women's Center at Virginia Tech about your legal options.
  • Taking identification and other important paperwork with you when you leave is helpful, but is not worth risking your life. Your safety (and the safety of your children if you have them) is most important.
  • Adapted from Project Horizon, Inc.

    Safety Planning if you are being stalked

    • This is not your fault; no one deserves to live in fear.
    • Tell friends, neighbors, roommates, professors, co-workers, RAs, and other people you trust about the situation. If they do not know the stalker, give them a detailed description and/or show them a picture. This support system can help you stay safe.
    • Get a new, unlisted phone number. Consider using a pre-paid cell phone with no contracts or billing.
    • If possible, have a phone nearby at all times, preferably one to which the stalker has never had access. Memorize emergency numbers, and make sure that 911 and helpful family or friends are on speed dial.
    • Treat all threats, direct and indirect, as legitimate and inform law enforcement immediately.
    • Use a Stalking Incident Log to document the stalker's behavior, including date, time, location, what the stalker was doing, and if there were any witnesses. Save all emails, texts, and other messages.
    • Vary routines, including changing routes to work, school, the grocery store, and other places regularly frequented. Limit time spent alone and try to shop at different stores and visit different bank branches.
    • Trust your instincts. If you're somewhere that doesn't feel safe, either find ways to make it safer, or leave.
    • Try not to travel alone and try to stay in public areas.
    • If in imminent danger, locate a safe place such as a police station, shelter, or populated public area
    • Identify escape routes out of your house. Teach them to those you live with.
    • Make sure your home is secure. Change the locks if your stalker may have a key. Work with the police or your leasing agency (if you rent) to make sure your doors, windows, and other entrances/exits are secure.
    • Pack a bag with important items you'd need if you had to leave quickly. Put the bag in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust.
    • Use Safe Ride (540/231-7233) when you are on campus to escort you to your car, building, or residence hall.
    • Make sure your personal information is marked confidential with the University. Log on to Hokie Spa to make sure or to change your confidentiality levels. Remember that by default, the university lists personal contact information unless you change your privacy settings.
    • Adjust the privacy settings on social networking sites, or consider deleting your profiles altogether.
    • Consider taking out a stalking charge and requesting a Stalking Protective Order. Talk with someone at the Women's Center at Virginia Tech (540/231-7806) or the Women's Resource Center of the NRV (540/639-1123) about your criminal and civil options.
    • Adapted from The Stalking Resource Center

       

      Grant statement: This project was supported by grant # 2005-WA-AX-0020 awarded by the Violence Against Women Office, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of View in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

       

 

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Contact Information

Women's Center

206 Washington Street (0270)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-7806 (8am-5pm, M-F)

After hours, call the WRC 24-hour hotline at (540) 639-1123

Student Conduct

New Hall West Suite 141 (0428)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-3790 (8am-5pm, M-F)

VT Police Dept

Sterrett Facilities Complex (0523)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-6411 (24 hrs)

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