there is a way out.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
The first step towards safety and change involves having a plan. See Creating an Action & Safety Plan below for information on what to consider in creating a plan.
The Gatehouse is not an emergency shelter or housing program. If you are only looking for housing, see Housing Resources below for a list of North Texas shelters, transitional housing and supportive living communities.
Develop an Action & Safety Plan
Leaving an abusive situation can be hard. Knowing what to do and how to do it can feel ovewhelming. Having a plan can help.
Ask yourself: Am I honestly willing to walk away from this life, leaving with nothing but my children and myself? If the answer is “Yes,” and you have some time, here are some steps to help you create an Action and Safety Plan:
1. Identify a neighbor or friend you can tell about the violence and ask them to call 911 if they see or hear anything of concern.
2. Have a plan for where you can go if you need to leave in an emergency. See Housing Resources below for a list of North Texas shelters, transitional housing and supportive living communities.
3. Keep a bag packed in an undisclosed location (with a friend or hidden away in your home where you can quickly grab it and go). Include 3 days of clothing for you and your children in one bag. Keep it simple:
- – one pair of shoes for each of you
- – pajamas
- – day clothing
- – two small special toys per child
- – prescriptions in original bottles from pharmacy
- – small mementos, such as photos
4. Gather all important documents for you and your children:
- – birth certificates
- – social security cards
- – driver’s license / passport
- – school records
- – insurance and medical records
- – bank and savings statements
- – credit cards and bills
- – automobile titles
- – any legal documentation
5. If you are going to a shelter temporarily, give valuable jewelry to a well-trusted friend for safekeeping until you leave the shelter.
6. If you have time before leaving, save as much cash as you can.
7. Begin to establish independence by seeking job training, setting up a bank account and scheduling childcare.
8. Notice your surroundings coming from and going to work or home. Vary your daily routine. Keep a cell phone with you, and turn off key sounds, so you can dial 911 silently.
9. Some abusers will track you through your phone, electronic devices and your car. Plan ahead to leave your phone behind. Record all your contacts’ info and delete that info from the phone you leave behind.
10. Contact shelters (see Housing Resources below), and ask if they have openings. Emphasize you and your children are in an actively abusive situation and are in immediate and continuing danger. If they say they have no openings, ask if there is a wait list. If a shelter has an opening, accept it immediately – do not wait.
11. You can drive to the shelter; the police or a friend can also drive you. Some locations do not have parking spaces, so you may want to drive to a friend’s, leave your vehicle there and have your friend drive you. Pick up your children from school or daycare if they are not at home with you.
If you would like help creating a plan based on your personal situation or need additional support and resources, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Know that you are stronger than you realize – you can do this. You are not alone. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.