If you are living with an abusive or alcoholic partner, you will probably feel on edge and unsafe a lot of the time. It’s important that you seek help and consider finding somewhere else to live if you are very worried about the safety of yourself or others, but in the meantime this short guide will help you stay safe at home.
Keep Your Phone With You
If you find yourself in danger, it’s essential that you can call for help. Many phones have SOS options where you press a couple of buttons and send a message to a friend or family member to say you’re in trouble, but if you feel your life is being threatened you should call 999.
Make Sure Your Smoke Alarms Are Working
Fire is a major risk factor for anyone living with an alcoholic, especially if they smoke. Even if cigarettes are not involved, accidents with chip pans, electrics and unattended barbecues can easily happen, often with devastating consequences. It is essential that your home is fitted with quality smoke detectors and alarms that are regularly checked, so you and your family will be safe in the event of an emergency.
Have Clear Exits Ready At All Times
If your partner becomes aggressive you will need to be able to get yourself and any children to a safe space as quickly as possible. Always keep doorways and windows clear, and if you feel an argument starting consider your escape route and try to remain as calm as possible. Keeping your exits clear is also essential in the case of emergencies such as house fires.
Keep An Eye On Dangerous Objects
Domestic arguments can quickly escalate, and if your partner is particularly aggressive it’s possible they will use items around the home as weapons. Be aware of where sharp knives and heavy objects are kept and try to avoid any situation where your partner can grab one easily and use it against you. If you feel in danger, try to stay calm and remove yourself from the room as quickly as possible.
Be Careful On The Stairs
Stairs can be very dangerous when you live with an abusive or alcoholic partner – trips and falls can easily happen, and it’s not uncommon for victims of domestic abuse to be pushed down the stairs. If possible, try to stay downstairs if you feel you may be in danger and have a clear escape route. If that’s not possible, always keep your stairway clear of obstacles and keep your phone with you at all times.
Anyone who lives with an abusive partner will know this is easier said than done, but if possible try not to engage with an argument. If you feel your partner is becoming aggressive, try to move yourself away from the situation as calmly as possible without reacting.
Living with an abusive partner can feel very lonely and confusing, but it’s important that you talk to someone before things become unbearable. Friends and family may be able to provide you with a bed for the night, and if you feel that you and any children or pets are in danger, you must get help straight away. Seek advice from an organisation such as Scottish Women’s Aid, Abused Men in Scotland or Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline and if you are at immediate risk call 999.