Actions you can take to improve your safety at homeTOP
If you are able, and choose, to stay in the family home there are a number of things you can do to keep you and your children safe. This document provides a checklist for women staying at home after separating from their abusive partner. Some of the actions below may be expensive (e.g. changing or installing locks or screens) but other actions require less expenditure while still being effective (e.g. dowels on windows and sliding doors, trimming vegetation, padlocks). Do what you can.
- You may wish to consider a violence restraining order so that your former partner has to maintain a certain distance from the house. More information about Violence Restraining Orders can be found at 2c. Family Violence Restraining Orders – What they are and how to get one.
- In the early days, ask a family member or close friend to stay with you for a while.
- Change all the locks, install door and window deadlocks. Double cylinder deadlocks cannot be unlocked from the inside without a key. If you install double cylinder deadlocks ensure that you have a key by the door and readily accessible at all times in case you have to leave through this door in an emergency (e.g. fire or your partner breaks in).
- Dowel (thin wooden pole that can be bought from any hardware store) can be put in window runners and sliding doors to prevent them from being forced open.
- Install security screens to as many external doors and windows as possible.
- Install outside sensor lights.
- Trim back plants near the front door and windows that could provide a screen.
- If you have them, lock your garage, shed and side gate. Ensure all tools and implements that could be used against you are locked away.
- Padlock your mail box, so your mail can't be opened or stolen by your former partner. Even better rent a post office box.
- Ensure that your house number is clearly visible from the outside, so that if you need to call for emergency help, you can be easily found.
- If you have a landline, install an answering machine and use it to screen your incoming phone calls.
[Last update: 30/5/21]