Between 50 and 60 percent of victims who escape domestic violence are stalked by their ex-partner. If you've ever been a victim of domestic violence, this is a scary, yet important bit of information to know. While your dangerous relationship may be behind you, you still need to take measures to protect yourself from your former abuser. If you haven't done so already, it's time to call a locksmith and request the following services.
Change The Locks On Your Exterior Doors
The average stalker follows their victim for a period of time between 6 months and 2 years, but in extreme cases, the crime can go on for decades. Worse yet, the length of time a stalker engages in stalking activity correlates to their amount of emotional investment in their victim.
If, upon escaping your abusive relationship, you never changed the locks on your doors, it's time to do so now. Even if your ex hasn't resurfaced to cause problems since you left them, there's still a chance that they're lingering about waiting for an opportunity to strike.
So what kind of lock should you ask your locksmith to install? You'll want a solid handle lock set with a dead-locking latch bolt. Another choice is a handle lock set with a separate deadbolt lock, but the locking system that incorporates both features together will allow you to unlock the door and get out of your home with a single motion should you face an emergency.
You'll ideally want a Grade 1 lock, which is the super-secure commercial grade, but if you can't afford a Grade 1, Grade 2 locks are considered high-security locks for residential homes. Ask your locksmith for the most heavy-duty lock you can afford, and state the need for hardened pins, a sturdy face plate, and 3 inch screws to fasten the face plate to your door.
Install A Safe
Should your former abuser gain access to your home while you are not there, they could go through your mail and other belongings. This isn't only unnerving, but it also means that your ex could discover clues about your routine and when you are most vulnerable.
The best way to protect against this invasion of privacy is to have a safe installed in your home where you can place all of your mail, documents, and even your personal computer before you leave for an extended period of time. Even if your abuser gains access to your home, they won't gain access to personal information that they can later use against you. Ask your locksmith to recommend a high-security, fire-resistant safe.
Create A Safe Room
Now it's time to prepare for the worst case scenario. You need a room in your home where you can flee to should you become wounded or trapped in your home by your former abuser. This room doesn't need to be big (a closet will do), but it does need to have only a single entryway and no windows.
The door on your safe room needs to be sturdy, opt for solid core wood or steel, and it should also have a reinforced door jam and open outward. Ask your locksmith to install a deadbolt on the door that is only accessible from inside the room.
Keep a flashlight, a first aid kit, a cell phone (with a charger), and some means of defense in this room at all times. Should worse come to worse and you find yourself trapped in your home with your former abuser, flee to the room, lock yourself in it, and phone the police for help.
It isn't fair that you have to take steps to boost your home's security after leaving an abusive partner, but in some cases, it's the only way to ensure your long-term safety. If you've ever been the victim of domestic violence, it's time to call a locksmith from a company like Suburban Lock and request that they help you install the above security features in your home.