If you are a domestic violence survivor who has managed to escape a dangerous and threatening situation, you doubtless understand the importance of finding safe haven and keeping your whereabouts as private as possible. Even a restraining order may not be enough to prevent an abusive former partner from seeking revenge. It is for that reason that you must be careful to cover your tracks. Once you’ve found another residence, never self-identify using a physical street address; always use a post office box. Do likewise with your phone number, which should remain unpublished. Close any bank accounts or credit cards your abuser could use to track your whereabouts. And make sure your family and friends understand the nature of your situation and that they protect your privacy as well.
Consider taking part in a survivor of domestic abuse confidentiality program. This protective measure, which is offered in many states, provides you with a substitute address. Any mail sent to that address is forwarded to your actual address. Use a safe and secure method of communicating with your landlord if you’ll be renting. Give your rental company a cell phone number that your abuser doesn’t have access to, or communicate only via email using a computer at your local library. Find a room in your new residence where you can find safety should your abuser manage to break in.
Try to find a room that offers some means of escape if you’re caught in a desperate situation. Make sure that your car always has gas, and that it’s parked with the front end pointing toward the street. It goes without saying that your cell phone should always be kept charged and in your possession at all times. Safety and surveillance Even covering your tracks effectively may not be enough to keep your assailant from finding you. A very determined and angry individual can prove very determined and resourceful in finding someone he’s targeting. For that reason, you need to take extra precautions at your new residence. Install extra locks on your front and back doors, which you can install yourself with relative ease. And install security cameras or external lights connected to a motion sensor.
There are other kinds of security cameras that won’t prove too costly, such as motion detector alarms activated by motion sensors that can be mounted on the outside of your home. In many cases, you can survey the exterior of your home via a security camera. Advance warning Domestic violence survivor advocacy groups have teamed up with technology companies to provide abuse victims with automated warning systems when an abuser who’s been released from jail or prison, or placed in a halfway house. One such program is called VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday), a computer-automated early warning system. VINE receives regular updates from jail and prison booking systems.
Crime victims who have cause to fear the release of an abuser can register to receive a phone call, text, email, mail or receive notification via TTY device, as soon as their abuser is back on the streets. An automated message advises them to take shelter as soon as possible and seek the assistance of advocacy resources. Victims can register for notification on a secure website, or by phone. To register, all you need is the offender’s name or jail incarceration number.
The system was established in 1994 in response to the stalking murder of an abuse victim by a former boyfriend and abuser who had been released on bail with no notification to the young woman or her family.
Abuse victims should always take seriously the threat of revenge violence by an abuser. There are many affordable means of protecting yourself in your new residence if you are unable to afford a home security system. And take advantage of any victim notification system that might be available in your state. Courtesy of Pexels.com.