Domestic abuse: Reducing the risk – physical safety

November 6th 2023

When planning how to reduce risk, you may want to consider the following:

  • Make a plan if you can.
  • Get help. Abusers isolate their victims, but there is help available from family, friends and professionals. Victims can be surprised that they are the last to identify abuse, those around them may already have spotted a problem.
  • If you can plan, put ID documents somewhere safe to enable you to open a bank account or claim benefits more easily.
  • Get a solicitor to send a Warning letter. This is not right for everyone, especially in a high risk situation, but it may be suitable for some.
  • Think about a Non-Molestation Order, but if circumstances justify one of these being made Without Notice (that means without telling the abuser), then have a fall back plan in case the court refuses to make an Order without notice. The making of an Order can increase risk in the short term, so plan accordingly.
  • An Occupation Order that removes someone from their home will not generally be made without notice.
  •  If you have to go into hiding, beware of spyware on electronic devices, trackers on your car, Airtags and joint account notifications, to name a few, “Find my Phone” software can be misused.
  • Is it time to ditch your smartwatch?
  • Do you need a Pay as You Go phone?
  • Beware of Child Arrangements being used to get to you, ask yourself if the children are safe to spend time with the other parent. Think about contact centres, handovers through 3rd parties such as friends and family. Think very hard about whether face to face visits are safe for children especially in the short term.
  • Report incidents to the police. Physical assaults, threats to kill, harassment, stalking are all crimes. The police cannot do anything about crimes they are unaware of. Persevere, speak to specially trained officers if you have to.
  • In an emergency dial 999.