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The Domestic Violence Division

Domestic Violence Safety Plan

You may not have control over another person s violent behavior, but you do have choices about how you respond. Victims of domestic violence can take steps to increase their safety and the safety of their children.

The Cook County State s Attorney s Office has established a special Domestic Violence Prosecutions Division to create and implement a county-wide strategy to hold abusers accountable for their actions and to offer victims the help they need.

The prosecution of these cases is a top priority in my office. If you happen to become a victim, always report incidents of abuse to the police.

Anita Alvarez
Cook County State s Attorney

Safety at Home

  • Develop a safety plan and discuss it with your children. Review the plan as often as possible.
  • Change the locks and install devices to secure your windows.
  • Make sure your children's school, day-care center, or camp know who is authorized to pick up your children.
  • Tell your neighbors and landlord that your abuser no longer lives there and ask them to call the police if they see him or her near your home.
  • Before you resume a potentially abusive relationship, discuss alternatives with someone you trust.

Safety in Public or at Work

  • If you have an order of protection, keep it with you at all times.
  • Inform building security and coworkers you trust of your situation. If possible, provide a photograph of your abuser to building security.
  • Vary your routes to and from work and arrange for someone to escort you to your car, bus, or train.
  • Plan what to do in various situations if the abuser confronts you.

Safety during Volatile Domestic Violence Incident

  • If an argument seems unavoidable, move to a room or area with easy access to an exit - not a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.
  • Identify which door, window, stairwell or elevator offers the quickest way out of the home - and practice your route.
  • Have a bag packed and ready. Keep it in an undisclosed but accessible place where you can retrieve it quickly.
  • Find neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance.
  • Devise a code word to use with your children, family, and friends when you need the police.
  • Decide where you will go if you have to leave, even if you do not think it will come to that.
  • Use your instincts and judgement. Consider giving the abuser what he or she wants to defuse a dangerous situation.
  • You have a right to protect yourself when you are in danger. You do not deserve to be battered or threatened.

Checklist - What you may want to take if you have to leave

  • Money, checkbook, passbook
  • Identification - driver's license, Social Security card, passport, green card, public assistance ID, work permit, etc.
  • Order of Protection
  • Birth certificates - yours and your children's
  • Clothing
  • Lease, rental agreement, or house deed
  • Insurance papers
  • House and car keys
  • Medications
  • Jewelry/saleable objects
  • Address book
  • Divorce papers
  • School records
  • Toys

Domestic Violence Division
555 W. Harrison
Chicago, IL 60607
Fax: 312.325.9270