Talk to your child
If your child is older, you can help keep them safe by talking to them about your concerns. You can also talk to them about what happens when they are with their other parent.
You don't want to frighten your child. You also don't want your child to think you're trying to make them not like their other parent. So, you need to be careful about what you say and how you say it.
It is important for children to know:
- emergency contact information (police, your cell phone number, the cell phone number for a trusted family member or friend)
- how to use a landline telephone, pay phone, and cell phone
- your address and the address of their other parent
You might also want to talk to your child about how they can keep themselves safe. For example, you could talk to them about how they can get to a safe place if they need to.
If they are at their other parent's home, they could go into a room that has a door that locks and a way out. For example, there might be a bathroom with a window on the main floor. Usually the kitchen is unsafe because it has knives and cooking items that could be used as a weapon. A bathroom can also be unsafe if there is no way out.
If they are in a public place, they could shout for help. Or, they could ask someone if they can use a phone to call for help.
You can encourage your child to tell you about anything that happens when they are with their other parent that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Let them know that, by telling them about their safety concerns, it doesn't mean that they don't love or care for their other parent. If your child doesn't want to talk to you about this, you can suggest another person they could talk to.
You should keep notes about what your child tells you in case you need to use the notes later.