Home Security Crisis Plan for Abused Women

A study has found that in SA a woman dies every eight hours at the hands of her husband or boyfriend. A SAPS crisis plan might be of some help to in avoiding becoming a statistic.

Why would you need a home security crisis plan?

Three men kill their wives or girlfriends every day. It’s not a statistic I’ve thought about much, but the high-profile Oscar Pistorius case that’s being reported on throughout the world has highlighted domestic violence. And whatever the circumstances were, even Oscar doesnâ’t deny that he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp.

Newspapers reported that a similar case has been heard in the next door courtroom, with the convicted man now awaiting sentencing. Then there are the cases that never reach the public domain, even though they are equally tragic for the people involved.

What is domestic violence?

In the light of all this, my local SAPS branch has put out a crisis plan for anyone that is a victim of domestic violence, which I thought would be useful to repeat here. Interestingly, they have quite a broad definition of domestic violence. They say the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 includes:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse or assault
  • Damage to property or anything you value
  • Stalking
  • Economic abuse

This last one I found interesting because I wasn’t aware that it was officially classed as abuse. The SAPS spokesperson said that economic abuse is where the perpetrator keeps money to which the victim is legally entitled by refusing to pay or share the rent or mortgage bond for the home which is shared.

They said that anyone who feels they are being abused has the right to apply for a protection order at the nearest police station or magistrate’s court. Alternatively, the victim can also lay a criminal charge against the perpetrator at the police station in conjunction with their application for a protection order.

The Crisis Plan

The SAPS representative then outlined a crisis plan which I thought was a practical idea. It anticipates that the woman and her children, if she has any, will eventually leave the husband or boyfriend and includes:

  • Money hidden in a safe place to be used if transport is needed
  • An extra set of keys for the house or car
  • A set of clothes for the victim and her children, packed in a bag and kept in a safe place
  • Essential documentation such as ID documents, medical aid card and bank card
  • A plan to leave when the abuser is not around

To me it makes sense to add: a place to go to, perhaps the local police station, a relative or a safe house for abused women and children. They also list some useful contact numbers to keep written down or on a cell phone.

Useful emergency contact numbers:

SAPS 10 111

SAPS Crime Stop 08600 10111

Gender Violence Helpline 0800 150 150

Childline 0800 055 555

I truly hope you never have to use this information, but perhaps you could pass it on to someone that does need it.

Take a look at a video on how to create an emergency escape route at home that can be used in any crisis.

emergency exits are a good addition to your home security

Bedfordview and Edenvale News, Wednesday 5 March 2014, page 5

Contributor: Lindy Barry

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