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A Sense of Safety (Guest Post)

A Sense of Safety: Protection for Survivors of Domestic Violence

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Many young adult DV relationships begin during the teen years. When involved in a DV relationship, a person's safety is very often in peril. Nora Hood guest blogs for YBBG in this post.

A Sense of Safety: Protection or Survivors of Domestic Violence.

Approximately 20,000 calls are made to the National Census of Domestic Violence Services every day. It’s a fact of life for
domestic violence survivors who live in fear that a former partner will show up without warning, seeking revenge. Unfortunately, the vast majority of victims haven’t prepared a plan of action, or had security or monitoring devices installed. Protection is a major concern in light of the fact that three women are killed by a partner every day.
Providing for your safety and that of your children can seem an overwhelming objective for domestic violence victims who are just trying to get away from destructive relationships and get on with their lives. Many assume that security equipment is beyond their means. Fortunately, there are many effective and budget-friendly options that can allow you to reclaim a sense of safety.
Have a plan
Living in fear is torturous for women who have had the courage to get away from an abusive situation. You never know when a former partner may show up at your front door or try to break in -- truly a nightmare scenario. It’s very hard to think or take coherent action when you’re being threatened with physical violence. That’s why it’s so important to have some kind of safety plan in place, detailing a procedure you can follow automatically in the event of an emergency. Be deliberate and detailed with your plan, and be sure to practice it so that you’re not left wondering what to do when the time comes.
There are many elements that should be part of any safety plan. Find safe spots in your home that offer some means of escape if needed, and practice escaping quickly and safely. Keep a phone handy at all times and have emergency contact numbers on speed dial. Establish a prearranged signal that will alert a neighbor or someone nearby that you need help, and have a code word that alerts your children to seek shelter or get away. If possible, keep your car backed into the driveway so you can pull out quickly.

Portable alarms
Alerting law enforcement quickly is critical if you’re being threatened or attacked. Many people have turned to portable alarm systems, which contact local police within seconds through the press of a button. The alarm button, a pendant which can be worn in your home and yard, activates a message that automatically goes out over police and sheriff department two-way radios. Law enforcement is alerted right away.
Surveillance and safety
A security camera is an affordable and reliable way to monitor your surroundings (some cost as little as $25). Many have recording capability, while others feature alarms or send an alert when activity is detected. Remember, choose a security camera that’s easy to install and use, and try to make it as unobtrusive as possible. Today’s cameras also come with high-resolution technology, which makes it easy to identify an intruder. Most operate off your WiFi signal, and come with easy-to-follow instructions. If security monitoring or alarm technology isn’t an option for you, putting an extra lock on your doors is an effective way to discourage a would-be intruder.
A new home
Safety should be your first concern when you’ve left an abusive relationship and moved into a new home. Try to find a place that’s in a populous, well-lit area, and investigate options for maintaining anonymity, such as an unlisted phone number. Try to find a home that already has a security system, or has exterior lights activated by motion sensors.
Preparation is key for domestic violence survivors who are concerned with keeping their homes and loved ones safe. A well-thought-out safety plan and security devices, such as alarm buttons or cameras, are also important. Consider these measures an investment in your safety.

Nora Hood considers domestic violence to be a form of domestic terrorism and aims to raise awareness about the issue through her efforts including

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