Safety Planning

Safety Tips For You And Your Family

Whether or not you feel able to leave an abuser, there are things you can do to make yourself and your family safer.

In An Emergency

  • Try to get rides with different people
  • Shop and bank in a different place
  • Open new accounts at a different bank so you will have funds that are available that the abuser cannot obtain
  • Keep your court order and emergency numbers with you at all times
  • Keep a cell phone and program it to speed dial 911


How To Make Yourself Safer At Work

Protective Orders

  • You may apply for a Protective Order if you are involved in a domestic abuse situation. Applications are provided at the Polk County Clerk of Court, Room 115, Polk County Courthouse, 5th & Mulberry in Des Moines.
  • The Family Violence Center (243-6147) can assist you in the application process upon your request.

The judge can:

  • Order the abuser to stay away from you or your children
  • Order the abuser to leave your home
  • Give you temporary custody of your children & order the abuser to pay you temporary child support
  • Order the police to come to your home while the abuser picks up personal belongings
  • Give you possession of the car, furniture and other belongings
  • Order the abuser to go to a batterers intervention program
  • Order the abuser not to call you at work
  • Order the abuser to give guns to the police

At the time of requesting a Protective Order you should:

  • Show any pictures you have of your injuries
  • Tell the judge that you do not feel safe if the abuser comes to your home to pick up the children to visit with them
  • Ask the judge to order the abuser to pick up and return the children at the police station or some other safe place
  • Ask that any visits the abuser is permitted are at very specific times so the police will know by reading the court order if the abuser is there at the wrong time
  • Tell the judge if the abuser has harmed or threatened the children; ask that visits be supervised; think about who could do that for you

Criminal Proceedings

Tell the prosecutor of any assault incidents or times in which the abuser threatened to harm you or your children.

Be Safe At The Courthouse

To find out about assistance in the Polk County area, call:

Polk County Attorney's Office

Family Violence Center

Children and Families of Iowa

Des Moines Police Department

Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Abuse

Iowa Domestic Abuse Hotline

National Domestic Violence Hotline








1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)