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If you choose to stay in the family home, there are several things you can do to keep safe.
Safety improvements at home
You may be able to increase your safety at home by physically altering the premises. Decide which of these options suits you based on the risks and threats your former partner makes:
- ensure that your house number is visible from the street so that you can be reached easily in an emergency
- do not open a door unless you know who is there; do not be afraid to ask for ID
- trim back plants near doors and windows to provide fewer hiding places
- remove objects from fences that could be used to access your property such as rubbish bins, and branches
- install peepholes on entrance doors to see who is at the door without opening it
- place dowels (thin wooden poles that can be bought from any hardware) in window runners and sliding doors to make it difficult to force open
- lock the garage, shed and/or side gates – lock tools and other objects that could be used to cause harm
- padlock mailboxes or rent a Post Office Box to prevent mail theft
- bolt or lock ceiling manhole covers, especially if your house has a tiled roof or the manhole is outside or in the garage
- install security screens to as many external doors and windows as possible
- change the locks on doors and windows, and keep a key by the door in case you have to leave through this door in an emergency
- install outside sensor lights
- install cameras (or fake cameras); low-cost cameras are available online or from a local technology or hardware store
- install a landline answering machine and use it to screen incoming phone calls
- Contact organisations for financial support so you can supplement the cost of security upgrades
- take out a family violence restraining order (FVRO) against your former partner so they cannot come to your home, or place of work. For more information, see Prepare 1G
- ask a supportive family member or close friend to stay with you for a while
- ensure that you have a safety plan, discuss this safety plan with children and friends or family
- consider using a code word with children, family and friends so that they know when to call the police if it’s not safe for you to do so
- most security measures are not foolproof but may slow someone down who is attempting to gain access to the property so that you can follow your safety plan and escape from the house if needed
- Contact specialist family and domestic violence services for support and advice regarding your circumstances. For more support service directors, see Act Now
Safe at home programs
Safe at Home is a government-funded program to help women experiencing family and domestic violence stay safely in their homes after separation from their former partner. The Safe at Home Program is free, confidential, and available to women with or without children. Safe at Home outreach workers can help with:
- risk assessment and a safety audit of your home
- upgrading your home’s security
- safety planning for you and your children
- looking at other ways to help you stay safe
- providing information and referrals to other support services
Safe at Home service providers operate in the metropolitan area and regional WA. For your area’s Safe at Home program, see Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing.
Safer in the Home provides case management for women affected by family violence, focusing on women’s self-identified goals and exploring avenues to increase safety and decrease isolation.
The program also provides an assessment of surveillance technologies that may have been installed without your knowledge, such as:
- spyware on mobile phones, iPads, computers and social media
- tracking devices on vehicles
- monitoring devices within the home, such as cameras and/or recording devices
Safer in the Home can be accessed either via self-referral or referral by community-based workers, including police, counsellors, community advocates, legal representatives and child protection workers.
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