SAFETY PLANNING

Safety planning is a way that victims of interpersonal violence can best ensure their safety while still in an abusive relationship, as they leave a relationship and after they have left a relationship. All domestic violence programs have staff available to help develop a personalized safety plan (National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1?800?787?3224).

Forethought and communication with trusted friends and family are a critical component. Each victim is an expert in their own lives, they know what works, what will not work and how best to handle dangerous situations. Below are items that can help victims develop their own safety plans.

If a victim is still in the relationship…

  • Try to only have arguments in the safest place possible (rooms with multiple exits, or without weapons (i.e. kitchen)
  • Plan with children around a safety place if abuse or violence erupts (trusted neighbor’s house, room with locked door, etc.). Ensure children know it is not their job to protect you.
  • Think about and make a list of safe people to contact
  • Memorize all important phone numbers/addresses
  • A code word or sign attached to a specific plan that children and trusted people know in case of emergency. Sometimes this word indicates to the kids to call 9-1-1
  • Remember, domestic violence hotlines are always available for support, guidance and help
  • Recognize warning signs to abuse, put children and animals in safe place, when possible

If a victim is planning to leave….

  • Victims should carefully plan how you will leave to ensure your children’s, your pet’ and your own safety
  • Do not let your abuser know your plan, act as though nothing has changed
  • If applicable, develop a plan for pets (LINK)
  • It is critical to organize and have….
    • Drivers license (or other ID)
    • Social Security Number/Cards
    • Welfare Identification
    • Keys
    • Health Records
    • Birth Certificates
    • Health Insurance Cards
    • Important phone numbers (best to memorize the most important)
    • Money/Credit Cards/Checkbook
    • If you have children, favorite blanket or toy
    • When possible, pack a bag with copies of some of these items as well as money and clothes in case you leave in an emergency
    • A code word or sign attached to a specific plan that children and trusted people know in case of emergency. Sometimes this word indicates to the kids to call 9-1-1
    • Call a domestic violence assistance helpline at any time for support, assistance or for assistance with safety planning

If a victim has already left….

  • Obtain a protection order and have a copy on you at all time
  • Your workplace can obtain a protection order too
  • Change your phone number/email
  • Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries, etc.
  • Communicate with people around you (neighbors, children’s teachers, friends, co-workers, family, etc.) to call 9-1-1 if the abuser shows up unexpectedly
  • If applicable, change locks on your doors
  • If possible, avoid staying alone
  • Avoid walking alone at night, or walking/running the same route daily
  • Provide a list to daycare, school, baby sitters of people who are allowed to pick up or take children
  • Call a domestic violence assistance helpline at any time for support, assistance or for assistance with safety planning

 

 

Getting Help Staying Safe (CCADV) 

Safety Plan for a Friend, Relative, or Co-Worker Who Is Being Abused by an Intimate Partner