Central Texas Family Violence Task Force
On June 21, the White House unveiled a PSA supporting Vice President Biden’s 1is2Many campaign. The PSA features President Obama, Vice President Biden and male sports leaders including Eli Manning, Jeremy Lin, Jimmy Rollins, Evan Longoria, David Beckham, Joe Torre and Andy Katz.
Vice President Biden launched the 1is2Many initiative to focus on a troubling fact – women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rates of relationship violence.
Prevention efforts like this video are key in spreading awareness about dating abuse.
To effectively address the issue of family violence in Central Texas.
Where to Turn for Help
In an emergency:
Call 911 if you need immediate assistance or have already been hurt.
For advice and support:
- Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
For a safe place to stay:
- Families in Crisis supports and empowers victims of family violence and sexual assault. You can call them at 1-800-799-7233 anytime, 24 hours per day. Or call them at 254-634-1184 or 254-773-7765 during normal hours.
Families In Crisis, Inc., a 501(c)(3) United Way agency, was established in 1978 to assist and empower victims of family violence and sexual assault in Bell, Coryell, and Hamilton counties, including Fort Hood, the nation’s largest military installation. Services provided include emergency safe shelter; provision of food, clothing, and personal items; transportation assistance and referral to medical, legal, law enforcement and social service agencies in the community; a 24-hour crisis hotline; crisis intervention counseling; support groups; and educational groups. The agency also provides outreach services.
Whether or not you’re ready to leave your abuser, there are things you can do to protect yourself. These safety tips can make the difference between being severely injured or killed and escaping with your life.
Prepare for emergencies
- Know your abuser’s red flags. Be on alert for signs and clues that your abuser is getting upset and may explode in anger or violence. Come up with several believable reasons you can use to leave the house (both during the day and at night) if you sense trouble brewing.
- Identify safe areas of the house. Know where to go if your abuser attacks or an argument starts. Avoid small, enclosed spaces without exits (such as closets or bathrooms) or rooms with weapons (such as the kitchen). If possible, head for a room with a phone and an outside door or window.
- Come up with a code word. Establish a word, phrase, or signal you can use to let your children, friends, neighbors, or co-workers know that you’re in danger and the police should be called.
Make an escape plan
- Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Keep the car fueled up and facing the driveway exit, with the driver’s door unlocked. Hide a spare car key where you can get it quickly. Have emergency cash, clothing, and important phone numbers and documents stashed in a safe place (at a friend’s house, for example).
- Practice escaping quickly and safely. Rehearse your escape plan so you know exactly what to do if under attack from your abuser. If you have children, have them practice the escape plan also.
- Make and memorize a list of emergency contacts. Ask several trusted individuals if you can contact them if you need a ride, a place to stay, or help contacting the police. Memorize the numbers of your emergency contacts, local shelter, and domestic violence hotline.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there are 60,000 incidents of on-the-job violence each year, and most victims know their attackers intimately. The guidelines below are from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Please visit their website for more information.
What to Do . . .
If you are experiencing domestic violence:
- Notify your supervisor and the human relations manager about the circumstances regarding your situation.
- Discuss options available to you, e.g., scheduling, safety precautions,
- employee/family assistance benefits.
- Submit a recent photo of the perpetrator to your safety manager in the event of a confrontation at work.
- Request that all information be treated with confidence to provide for your safety and well-being.
If you are the co-worker of someone experiencing domestic violence:
- If you suspect a co-worker is suffering abuse, do not directly confront her/him since it is important for an individual to self-disclose for her/his own safety and well-being.
- Express concern and a willingness to listen and be supportive if needed.
- Offer support by listening and assisting; when an individual is ready, she/he will confide.
- If a co-worker confides in you, encourage communication with the human resources manager and her/his supervisor.
- If you witness an incident at work, contact your safety manager or law enforcement immediately. Make sure that the incident is documented.
If you are the supervisor or manager of an employee who is experiencing domestic violence:
- Be aware of unusual absences or behavior and take note of bruises or emotional distress.
- Contact the human resources manager to discuss concerns, resources available and ways to support the employee, e.g., safety planning, employee assistance counseling, family resource referrals, flexible scheduling, security measures.
- Be familiar with community resources and referrals.
- Maintain confidentiality at all times; be sensitive to the seriousness of the situation.
- Discuss who is appropriate to speak with the employee; agree on all forms of communication, e.g., providing the safety manager with a photo if there is a risk at work.
- Assist the employee in documenting all incidents with the batterer that occur in the workplace.
- Take action against domestic violence by encouraging employees to volunteer and by providing financial or in-kind support to your local domestic violence programs.
If you are in danger, please try to use a safer computer that someone abusive does not have direct or remote (hacking) access to.
If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.
It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints” of your computer or online activity. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.
If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for innocuous activities, like looking up the weather. Use a safer computer to research information on domestic violence, an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, or ask for help.
Email, Instant/Text Messaging (IM), and Social Networking sites (such as Facebook or Blogs) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about danger or abuse in your life. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.
For safety reasons, we do not recommend emailing for help. Since your email can be traced by an abusive partner, it is not a safe way to communicate safety planning or escape plans.
Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, Social Networking sites, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY call you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities.
It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, an Internet Café, or at a trusted friend’s house.
Although it’s impossible to erase all trace of online activity, most modern browsers have tools to allow private browsing. Please click here for more information on your particular browser and how to set it for private browsing.
Cell Phone Safety
Cell phones are excellent resources to contact help in emergency situations. However, this same technology can also be used by current or former abusive partners to track your activity. Cell phones contain GPS technology. Please be aware this is a feature that can be turned “on” and “off” on your cell phone. Having it turned on may allow emergency crews such as 911 to locate you. Abusive partners may also use this technology to track your whereabouts.
Please also be aware that your cell phone tracks the history of all calls and texts. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your cell phone behaviors such as suddenly deleting your call and text history if that is not your regular habit.
If you are in danger, please call 911.
After You’ve Left
Keeping yourself safe from your abuser is just as important after you’ve left as before. To protect yourself, you may need to relocate so your former partner can’t find you. If you have children, they may need to switch schools.
To keep your new location a secret:
- Get an unlisted phone number.
- Use a post office box rather than your home address.
- Apply to your state’s address confidentiality program, a service that confidentially forwards your mail to your home.
- Cancel your old bank accounts and credit cards, especially if you shared them with your abuser. When you open new accounts, be sure to use a different bank.
If you’re remaining in the same area, change up your routine. Take a new route to work, avoid places where your abuser might think to locate you, change any appointments he knows about, and find new places to shop and run errands. You should also keep a cell phone on you at all times and be ready to call 911 if you spot your former abuser.
You may want to consider getting a restraining order or protective order against your abusive partner. However, remember that the police can enforce a restraining order only if someone violates it, and then only if someone reports the violation. This means that you must be endangered in some way for the police to step in.
If you are the victim of stalking or abuse, you need to carefully research how restraining orders are enforced in your neighborhood. Find out if the abuser will just be given a citation or if he will actually be taken to jail. If the police simply talk to the violator or give a citation, your abuser may reason that the police will do nothing and feel empowered to pursue you further. Or your abuser may become angry and retaliate.