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COVID-19 Safety Planning

Sin categorizar / mayo 20, 2020

 As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve daily, we encourage individuals who are experiencing abuse to continuously review and adjust their safety plans as necessary.  

Fortunately, many of the same elements of your existing safety plan are applicable during COVID-19 quarantine and through phasing back to regular life. Below, you will find some factors to consider that may be unique during quarantine. Please remember, you are the expert in your situation and to always trust your instincts.

Emergency Information

  • Law enforcement officers are still serving and responding to calls for emergency service as usual. Call 911 and alert the 911 dispatcher that you are experiencing an emergency and provide them the address of your location
    • If unable to speak to 911 dispatcher, hide the phone and leave the
      phone line open if safe to do so, to allow the dispatcher to hear what
      is occurring and allow them to update responding officers with
      details
  • Safehome’s 24-hour Hotline is still operating and can be reached for
    support and safety planning at 913-262-2868
  •  The Johnson County Courthouse is still open to file for a Protection from
    Abuse/Protection from Stalking order on the 5th floor
  •  The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24 hours a day to
    support those experiencing suicidal ideations 1-800-273-8255

Considerations if Quarantining Separate from Abuser

  • Ensure doors and windows of residence are locked at all times
  •  Hang bells on the doors/windows to alert you to movement, and utilize
    furniture to wedge against door, if necessary
  • Do not leave garage door openers in unattended vehicle, bring inside the
    residence with you
  • Alert neighbors/landlord the relationship has ended, and they are to notify
    law enforcement if they see abuser near your home
  • Contact local police department to request extra patrol around residence
    during quarantine period
  • Remind children exactly what you want them to do if abuser arrives (i.e.
    “do not open door under any circumstance,” “I know it’s confusing, but
    right now, we can’t let _____ in the house for any reason. If that changes,
    I promise I will be the one to let you know,” run to a particular neighbor’s
    home or seek safety in house)

Considerations if Quarantining with Abuser

  •  Have a detailed visualization of residence, and potential escape routes
    -Avoid rooms with one door (often bedrooms & bathrooms), and
    rooms where weapons are kept (including the kitchen) during
    potential escalations
  •  Consider obstacles outside of home that may prevent an escape
    Fences, bushes, locks on gates, balcony, etc.
  • Identify a safe place to escape to on foot
    -Take special note of what businesses may be open during the “Stay
    at Home” order to escape to in the event of an emergency, and what
    their temporary hours may be
    – While neighbors may be home, they may not feel comfortable
    answering the door while quarantining. Reach out to safe neighbors
    ahead of an emergency to discuss how they could help (i.e. call 911
    for you from a distance)
    – Intentionally park allowing you to leave in an emergency (i.e. can’t
    be blocked in by another vehicle or stuck in garage)
    – Prepare emergency bag and identify a safe place to store it
    – Brainstorm reasons you may need to step outside of the house to reach out
    for help or support
    – Take children or pet on a walk, take a walk alone for fresh

Considerations Regarding Children

  • Instruct children they are not to try to protect you and they can help you
    by getting to a safe place in the home or leave the house for help
  •  Create a “code word” with children to signal to them to go to the agreed
    upon safest location in the home
  • Review with children how to call 911 and the address you’re located
  •  Complete child exchanges at public location or contact police department
    to discuss the option of an officer standing-by during child exchanges (this
    may vary depending on department’s current procedures of operation and
    officer staffing available)

General Considerations for Safety Plan during COVID-19

  • Due to potential of limited shelter availability, safety plan in advance with
    family or friends who you may be able to stay with if necessary. Confirm
    they are still an option for you to stay with during quarantine and ask
    them to let you know if this may change as the situation surrounding
    COVID-19 evolves.
  •  Create/remind support system of code word: Create a code word with a
    few of your safe people to inform them if you need the police called and are
    Safehome unable to do so yourself (i.e. “If I text you the word “red” or the phrase “I
    need to pick up that book” I need you to call the “_______ Police
    Department and tell them to respond immediately to an emergency at my
    address”). Make sure the safe person knows they are to immediately call
    the police with no questions asked and have your address handy.
  • Schedule virtual/telephone “check-ins” with members of support system
    so they would be alerted if something unexpected came up and they did
    not hear from you during your scheduled “check-in” time.
  •  If co-parenting with abuser, complete child exchanges at location that feels
    safest at this time (this may be a new location if previous location is now
    isolated)
  •  Notice the phases of the Cycle of Violence may begin to look different or
    accelerate due to rapid changes in the environment; adjust your safety
    plan accordingly
  • Be aware of surroundings while walking pets and keep an eye on pets
    while they are outside
  • To combat isolation while quarantining, it is important to stay connected
    with support system as much as possible via telephone, social media, and
    video chatting platforms

Self-Care During Quarantine is a Necessity

  • Identify things you can do at
    home to find a moment to be at peace

    • Yoga, exercise, games, coloring, puzzles, TV shows, movies,
      gardening, reading, cleaning, take a walk, etc.
    •  Visualization
    •  While taking slow, steady breaths, close your eyes and
      imagine your calm place. What do you smell in your calm
      place? What do you feel, is it warm, cool, cozy? What do you
      feel under your feet? Sand, water, or a soft blanket? What
      sounds do you notice in your calm place? Birds, children,
      waves, church bells, music? Give yourself a moment to feel
      the comfort of your calm place and return to it as often as
      necessary