Safety Planning

Calling 911 and Using Cell Phones

When someone calls 911 from a LAND LINE phone (home phone), the dispatcher is provided with a name, phone number, and precise location of the call.

However, when someone calls 911 from a cell phone WITH A PLAN, the dispatcher is provided with the phone number of the cell phone and the address of the tower through which the call is routed. That’s it. They may be able to find your address/name if you’ve called them before from the same number and a report was filed, but they do not receive your home address automatically.

AND… when calling from a “911 cell phone” with no plan (an “uninitiated cell phone”), dispatch will get ONLY the address of the tower. No phone number, no name.

IF the cell phone has an active GPS chip (whether the phone has a plan or not), they may get an address of the caller’s location, but it is often not exact. For example, it might give an address three houses away from the caller. The technology is new and not very reliable. Be aware that a name NEVER comes up at dispatch when you’re calling from a cell phone.

So in summary, there are limitations, whether you are using your own cell phone or a 911 phone.  If you’re calling from a cell phone (ANY cell phone) you cannot assume the police will be able to find you.  You should be prepared to give detailed information to the dispatcher whenever possible if you need them to locate you.  Cell phones simply can’t provide the information yet that land lines can.

It is important that you know the address of the place that you are calling from, or nearby landmarks, so that emergency workers can find you as quickly as possible.

It is also beneficial to know the addresses that your significant other would possibly take you. Example: Parents’, Siblings’, Friends’ homes- basically anywhere you could potentially be assaulted. Knowing these addresses also helps when you are seeking a Protection Order. On the Protection Order forms there is a place where you will need to fill in your abuser’s address so that s/he can be served.

Teaching your children to call 911 and teaching them their address should always be included in your safety planning.

Protective Orders and No Contact Orders


This is a civil order and is not connected to the criminal court.  In order to apply for a protective order in Indiana, the petitioner needs to have been a victim of:

  • domestic or family violence;
  • stalking; or
  • a sex offense.
  • Any court of record in any of the following jurisdictions can issue a civil order of protection:
  • county where petitioner currently or temporarily resides;
  • county where respondent (perpetrator) resides; or
  • county where offense occurred.

There is no fee for filing a petition for an order of protection in Indiana.

No law enforcement report is required in order to petition for a protective order.  Protective Orders are a civil matter, whereas a police report is a criminal matter.

Only the Court can nullify an order of protection. Neither the perpetrator nor the victim can do so by ignoring the order, violating the order or any other evasive behavior.  The following language is required to appear in every Indiana Order of Protection:

“Violation of this order is punishable by confinement in jail, prison, and/or a fine.  If so ordered by the Court, the respondent is forbidden to enter or stay at the petitioners residence, even if invited to do so by the petitioner or any other person.  In no event is the order for protection voided.”

Protective Order paperwork may be obtained from the County Clerk’s office at the courthouse or from Crisis Connection, Inc. (CCI).  Personnel within the clerk’s office may assist with the completion of this paperwork, or a CCI advocate will be happy to assist you if help is needed.  The completed protective order forms must be submitted to the Court Clerk during the hours of office operation (generally 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM).

The Judge will review the petition at his/her earliest convenience and will decide to sign or reject the petition.  Either way, the petitioner (victim) will be notified by the Court Clerk of the Judge’s decision, and the paperwork can be picked up at the Court Clerk’s office.  Once the Judge has signed the petition, it is valid; however, the petition will not be enforceable until it has been served on the respondent (perpetrator) by a deputy sheriff.  Petitioners are advised to keep several copies of the valid order in various locations, and always have one copy with them.

The Sheriff’s Department in each county picks up summons, orders, subpoenas, etc., from the Court Clerk every business day, usually in the morning and again before closing.  If the PO has been signed and certified by the Court, it will be in the outgoing box for the deputy to take.  The Sheriff’s Department is the only agency that is authorized to formally serve this document upon the respondent.  A deputy will serve the document as time allows between his other duties.  The victim has the right to call the Sheriff’s Department each morning to ask if the PO was served on the respondent the night before.  If the department states that they do not have the paperwork yet, the victim should call the Court Clerk’s office and inquire when the paperwork might be ready for pickup by the deputy.

The petitioner must appear in court on the date set by the Court.  The respondent will also be ordered to appear; however, the respondent did not request the civil order, therefore, if s/he does not choose to appear, the Court will proceed without him/her.  If the respondent waives his/her right to appear, another opportunity will not be given and the petition will generally be granted as requested by the petitioner.

Violations of a PO should be reported to law enforcement.  If the responding officer determines that there is probable cause that the order has been violated, the respondent may be arrested on a misdemeanor charge of invasion of privacy.  If the respondent has previously been convicted of invasion of privacy, s/he may be arrested on a Level 6 felony.  If the violation consists of battery or intimidation, stalking or trespass, additional criminal charges can be filed against him/her.

There is no need for the petitioner to hire an attorney when filing a PO.  The paperwork can be comfortably completed with minimal assistance from a victim’s advocate.  The Prosecutor’s office does not assist with protective orders.  Protective orders are civil; the Prosecutor’s office deals with criminal matters only.


A No Contact Order (NCO) is not a civil order.  It can only be issued in a CHINS (child in need of services), delinquency, or criminal case.  NCOs are not limited to family/household members, stalking or sex offenses as are POs.

NCOs are often ordered by the Judge in connection with criminal cases to protect the alleged victim from the defendant.  No action is required by the victim.  If the perpetrator of a crime is arrested immediately and taken before a judge soon thereafter, a NCO will take the place of a PO.  If there is a lag between the offense and any court action, the victim is advised to begin the process of obtaining a PO.  It is not necessary to have a NCO and a PO, as they offer the same protections.  The NCO, as part of the criminal case, will take effect immediately and does not require the victim to fill out paperwork. However, the NCO is only valid for the length of the criminal proceedings.  A PO will remain in effect until its expiration date (usually two years).

Safety Planning for the Entire Family

In An Emergency

If you are at home & you are being threatened or attacked:

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number).
  • Stay away from the kitchen (the abuser can find weapons, such as knives, there)
  • Stay away from bathroom, closets or small spaces where the abuser can trap you.
  • Get to a room with a door or window to escape.
  • Get to a room with a phone to call for help: lock the abuser out if you can.
  • Is there a neighbor you can run to for help?
  • If the police do respond, as calmly as possible, tell them what has occurred, request that they call Crisis Connection for you and request a police business card from each officer present.
  • Get medical help if you have been injured. The police can transport you to the nearest ER and Crisis Connection can meet you there.  The Indiana Victims of Violent Crime Compensation Fund may pay the bill.
  • Be sure that pictures are taken of all injuries. The police, the hospital and Crisis Connection all have photography equipment.
  • Request a No Contact Order when the police write their report.
  • Request that Crisis Connection accompany you to court.
  • Have Crisis Connection assist you with safe lodging for the night and contacting family or a friend for support.


  • Memorize emergency numbers or have numbers by every phone.
  • Keep a phone in a room that you can lock from the inside and keep a cell phone with you at all times. You can obtain a free 911 cell phone from Crisis Connection or use an old cell phone that holds a charge to keep in case of emergency. If the abuser has moved out by choice, or because of a protection or no contact order, change all the locks.  If you need assistance with this, please contact Crisis Connection.
  • Plan an escape route out of your home and teach it to your children.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to be alert for a signal or sign that you prearrange with them should you need emergency help.
  • Have a packed bag of emergency supplies and papers secured safely away from the abuser. Include cash, car keys, important information such as court papers, birth certificates, social security cards, medical records, medications and immigration papers.
  • Block caller ID with *67 before any dialing.
  • Screen all incoming calls by using an answering machine.


They do know there’s something very wrong:

  • Teach them to not get in the middle of an attack, they can be seriously injured.
  • Teach them where they can run for help, how to call 911, and how to clearly give the names and address.
  • Tell the children to stay out of the kitchen, bathroom, closets and small confined spaces during an attack.
  • Give the children’s school principal a copy of any court orders so they understand that they are not to release the children to the abuser. If possible give the school a picture of the abuser.
  • Be sure your children understand who they should report to if they see the abuser.
  • Make sure that the school understands that they aren’t to give your phone number or address to ANYONE.
  • Develop a personal safety plan with your child. Crisis Connection has colorful, age appropriate safety plans for children.
  • Introduce your children to your Crisis Connection advocate.


At work, shopping, walking, in public:

  • Change your routines, don’t be predictable.
  • Take a friend or family member with you whenever possible.
  • Cancel all bank accounts and credit cards you shared with the abuser.
  • ALWAYS have a copy of your protective order, emergency numbers, and a cell phone with you.
  • Talk to your supervisor and human resources manager at work. Give them a copy of your protective order and a picture of the abuser. Ask for their assistance in protecting you by keeping an eye open, refusing to forward phone calls from the abuser (but recording that he did call) and escorting you to and from your car.


  • Contact a Crisis Connection advocate for court advocacy.
  • Ask your advocate to contact courthouse security for an escort, if necessary.
  • Do NOT go to court alone. Your advocate will accompany you and a friend or family member at your request.
  • Bring a copy of any court orders with you and do not sit anywhere near the abuser or any of his family or friends.
  • Request that law enforcement supervise the abuser’s removal of his belongings from your home.
  • Request that the abuser be ordered to surrender all lethal weapons to law enforcement.
  • Request supervised visitation with a responsible person of your choice.
  • Wait until the abuser and his people have left the building and parking area before you leave with an escort.

If you think you are being followed by the abuser or his friends and family, call 911 and go directly to a law enforcement agency/officer!


A daily walk can be used as a way to look at the layout of your neighborhood and to plan a possible escape route.  A walk can also be used as an excuse to leave the house when you sense that a volatile situation is about to erupt. Remember to take your cell phone while on your walk.

If you are planning on staying:

  • Keep emergency provisions for your pet in case your abuser withholds money.
  • Keep the phone number of the nearest 24 hour emergency veterinary clinic
  • Establish ownership of your pet by creating a paper trail (e.g., obtain a license, have veterinarian records put in your name).

If you are planning to leave:

  • Obtain safe emergency shelter for pet, somewhere that won’t be disclosed to your abuser (e.g., veterinarian, friend, family, etc.)
  • Pack a bag for your pet that includes:
  • food
  • medicine
  • leash
  • carrier
  • toys
  • bedding
  • documents of ownership (receipts, vet records, license to establish ownership, receipts for animal purchases)

If going to a domestic violence shelter consider your pet: you may want to arrange (in advance) for a place that will shelter both you and your pet.  (If you must leave without your pet, remember to leave enough food, fresh bedding, litter, etc. for your pet.)

If you have already gone:

  • Keep pets indoors (if possible)
  • Don’t let the pet outside alone
  • Pick a safe route and time to walk your pet
  • Don’t exercise/walk pet alone
  • Change your veterinarian
  • If pet was also abused remember to include that information on a protection order

Information obtained from

If you have larger pets such as horses, goats or other animals, check with friends, family or animal rescue to ensure proper care of your animals. Possibly someone can stable these animals until you’ve obtained safety for yourself and for them.