3.2 Measures to improve personal safety

Housing staff are well placed to make initial suggestions on how tenants can improve their personal safety and security when in their property. This extends to tenants housed temporarily elsewhere, or those who have chosen to remain in the relationship with the perpetrator.

However, these measures should not be confused with developing an individual safety plan. The Free from Fear Partnership advocated housing staff signpost tenants disclosing abuse to specialist agencies to develop and individual safety plan.

Providing information on initial safety measures can help individuals protect themselves. It also helps them prepare in case of further relationship issues with the perpetrator - including after the relationship has ended.

A common misconception is that when the relationship stops the abuse stops; this is not the case. A controlling abusive partner or family member can reappear at any time and attempt to regain control over the victim. People experiencing abuse are often at the greatest risk when leaving the perpetrator.

Some suggestions housing staff can offer tenants for improving personal safety:

  • If in immediate danger dial 999
  • Keep phone charged (if not on contract keep credit topped up)
  • Consider changing phone number if seperated
  • Turn off location settings on mobile phones
  • Develop code words with friends and neighbours - alert them to any alarms
  • Train children to dial 999 in an emergency and/or direct them to alert neighbours or family
  • Ensure access to cash in an emergency (enough for a taxi)
  • Keep downstairs windows closed and doors locked to prevent someone from entering when you're inside the property
  • Plan escape routes and establish safe places
  • Consider getting personal details such as an address removed from any public directories
  • Change routines where possible
  • Consider safety at work. Has the emplyer informed? An employer should ensure safety at work
  • Keep a diary or notes of events