What can I do?How can I protect myself?
Is the situation so bad that something has to be done immediately? Or has it always been like that but you don’t want to put up with it anymore and want to do something?
There are situations that need to be stopped immediately. There’s no time to think or make a plan. This happens when you are directly threatened with violence or have been hit or had to watch e.g. your mother being abused. This also happens when the adults around you are no longer capable of protecting and looking after you. Your feelings will tell you how urgent it is. If you’re afraid that things are getting out of control, you need to protect yourself.
- Call the police 133, the fire brigade 122, Kindernotruf 0800/567 567, Rat auf Draht 147, Frauenhelpline 0800/222 555, Opfernotruf 0800/112 112 or an adult. It’s better to make too many calls than too few!
- If you’re locked in, call out for help or try to draw attention to yourself.
- Use situations where you feel safe to get help: going to school, going shopping, visiting the doctor.
- Let others know how you are and ask them to get help.
- If you’ve run away, report to the police or the emergency hotlines above, or the juvenile authorities. They will all assist you.
Planning and organising help
There are situations that are bad, but you’ve put up with them for so long that a few days more or less won’t make a difference. There are things that happened in the past and could happen again – and it’s for these things that you need an emergency plan.
- Carry enough money with you so that you can buy a bus or tram ticket or pay for a taxi. Don’t forget that the police will pick you up and take you to a crisis counselling centre, where you’ll get help.
- Carry a Be Free card for your mobile so you can call for help. You can call the police (133) even if you have no credit on your phone.
- You can arrange a code word with your friends. If you say the word on the phone, everyone will know that they should send the police to your home.
- Find out where you can get help.
- Don’t forget that there are people out there (experts and friends) that have your interests at heart and would be willing to help you.
- Decide what first small step you want to take.
- Take this step.
- Check whether this step has helped.
- Carry on with whatever helps you and abandon anything that doesn’t.
- Stay with people who give you strength and courage, and avoid those who discourage and weaken you.
By the way, by protecting yourself you are also protecting others. How? Whoever you ask for help, they’ll not only look after you, but also your brothers and sisters, and they’ll offer help to the adults.