About Abuse

Safety with an Abuser

Updated: 
March 28, 2016

During the violence

  • The abuser may have patterns to his/her abuse.  Try to be aware of any signs that show s/he is about to become violent so that you can assess how dangerous the situation may be for you and your children.
  • If it looks like violence may happen, try to remove yourself and your children from the situation before the violence begins if you can.1
  • Be aware of anything the abuser can use as a weapon.  If you can, try and keep any sharp or heavy objects that s/he may use to hurt you, like a hammer or an ice pick, out of the way.
  • Know where guns, knives, and other weapons are.  If you can, lock them up or make them as hard to get to as you can.
  • Figure out where the "safer places" are in your home – the places where there aren't weapons within arm's reach.  If it looks like the abuser is about to hurt you, try to get to a safer place.  Stay out of the kitchen, garage, workshop, or other room where items that can be used as weapons are kept.  Try to avoid rooms with tile or hardwood floors if possible.
  • If the abuser does start to harm you, don't run to where the children are; the abuser may hurt them too.
  • If there's no way to escape the violence at that moment, make yourself a small target.  Dive into a corner and curl up into a ball.  Protect your face and put your arms around each side of your head, wrapping your fingers together.
  • Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry.  The abuser could use these things to strangle you.

1 If you have pets and you are worried about their safety and welfare in an abusive situation, consider reading through the Animals & Family Violence section in the Animal Welfare Institute webpage.  They provide information about this topic including safety planning for pets.