Safety Planning

  • Call 911 if you or your children are in danger or have been hurt by your partner.

  • Teach your children to use the telephone to call the police and go to a safe place during a violent incident.

  • Identify a safe place to go in case of an emergency, such as your local police precinct.

  • Lock all the windows and doors at night and when you leave your home.

  • Inform your children’s school/daycare about who has permission to pick them up and provide administrators with copies of restraining orders or custody orders.

  • Request to have your telephone number changed to an unlisted number.

  • Keep your home address confidential and, if possible, do not tell the abuser where you live. If you have a visitation arrangement, try to have a family member help with pick up and meet at a neutral location.

  • Avoid going out alone.

  • Change your route to and from work often.

  • If possible, have someone screen your calls at work, request that your office telephone number and email address be changed, and vary your schedule.


In case you need to leave quickly, you should gather important documents:

  • Passports/Green cards/Work Permits

  • Social Security cards/Birth Certificates

  • Bank account details/House deed/Lease

  • Order of protection

  • Custody/Visitation orders

  • Marriage license

  • Children’s immunization/school records

  • Address book and a calling card

Pack a bag with money, extra keys, clothes, medicine, and important documents – leave it in a safe place or with someone you trust.
-- Information adapted from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.


Internet and Computer Safety

If you think your activities (online and offline) are being monitored, you are probably right. People who are abusive often want to know their victim’s every move and interaction. If this is something you’re experiencing, it’s important to think through how they might be tracking your online activity. These tips can help you think through how to access information online more safely:

  • Computers, mobile devices, and online accounts store a lot of private information about what you view online – the websites you visit (like this one), the things you search for, the emails and instant messages you send, the online videos you watch, the things you post on social media, the online phone or IP-TTY calls you make, your online banking and purchasing, and many others.

  • If your mobile device or computer are easily accessible to the abuser, be careful how you use it. You may want to keep using those devices for activities that won’t trigger violence – like looking up the weather – and find safe devices (like a public computer at the library) to look up information about how to get help.

  • If the person who is abusive has access to your online accounts (social media, email, phone bill, etc), or has had access to them in the past, it is often helpful to update the usernames and passwords for those accounts from a safer device.

  • You can also set up a new email address that they aren’t aware of, and connect your online accounts to it (rather than the old email address they know). It can be helpful to make the new address something that is more anonymous, instead of using your actual name or a handle you are already known by.

  • Keep in mind, if you think you are being monitored, it might be dangerous to suddenly stop your online activity or stop them from accessing your accounts. You may want to keep using those devices or accounts for activities that won’t trigger violence – and find safer devices (like a public computer at the library) and accounts to look up information about how to get help, or to communicate with people privately.

  • Email, instant messaging and text messaging with domestic violence agencies leaves a detailed digital trail of your communication, and can increase the risk that your abuser will know not only that you communicated, but the details of what you communicated. When possible, it’s best to call a hotline. If you use email, instant messaging, or text messaging, try to do so on a device and account that the abuser doesn’t know about or have access to, and remember to erase any messages you don’t want the abusive partner to see.

-Information from National Network to End Domestic Violence,


Anonymous and confidential help is available 24/7 by calling the following hotlines:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
Rachel Coalition: 973-740-1233
Rape Crisis Hotline: 877-733-CARE (2273)
Safe House: 973-759-2154


ESSEX COUNTY FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER  Leroy F. Smith Jr. Public Safety Building, 60 Nelson Place, 2nd Floor, Newark, NJ 07102, 973-230-7229

Services available Monday through Friday 8:30am-4:30pm NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY

Easily accessible via public transportation. Click here for directions to the center.

Please use a computer at a safe location. There is always a computer trail.

If you are in danger, call 911 or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 TTY 1-800-787-3224

Join our mailing list