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Safety Planning

​A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to enhance safety while:

  • in a relationship/situation

  • planning to leave

  • when you leave

  • after you leave


Safety While Living with an Abusive Partner

  • Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons & there are ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.

  • If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target. Dive into a corner & curl up into a ball with your face protected & arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.

  • If possible, have a phone accessible at all times & know what numbers to call for help. Know where the nearest public phone is located. Know the phone number of your local shelter. If your life is in danger, call the police.

  • Let trusted friends & neighbors know of your situation & develop a plan & visual signal for when you need help.

  • Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you & your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.

  • Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.

  • Keep weapons like guns & knives locked away & as inaccessible as possible.

  • Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway & keeping it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked & others locked — for a quick escape.

  • Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you.

  • Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night.


Preparing to Leave

  • Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures of injuries.

  • Keep a journal of all violent incidents, noting dates, events & threats made, if possible. Keep your journal in a safe place.

  • Know where you can go to get help. Tell someone what is happening to you.

  • If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room & report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.

  • Plan with your children & identify a safe place for them, like a room with a lock or a friend’s house where they can go for help. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.

  • Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.


When You Leave

Make a plan for how & where you will escape quickly.

  • You may request a police escort or stand-by when you leave.

  • If you have to leave in a hurry, use the following list of items as a guide to what you need to bring with you.

    • Identification

    • Legal papers

    • Emergency Numbers

    • Medications

    • Extra set of house & car keys

    • Valuable jewelry

    • Pay-as-you-go cellphone

    • Address book

    • Pictures & sentimental items

    • Several changes of clothes for you & your children

    • Emergency money


After You Leave

  • Change your locks & phone number.

  • Call the telephone company to request caller ID. Ask that your phone number be blocked so that if you call anyone, neither your partner nor anyone else will be able to get your new, unlisted phone number.

  • Change your work hours & the route you take to work.

  • Change the route taken to transport children to school or consider changing your children’s schools.

  • Alert the school authorities of the situation.

  • If you have a restraining order, keep a certified copy of it with you at all times, & inform friends, neighbors & employers that you have a restraining order in effect.

  • Call law enforcement to enforce the order & give copies of the restraining order to employers, neighbors & schools along with a picture of the offender.

  • Consider renting a post office box or using the address of a friend for your mail.

  • Be aware that addresses are on restraining orders & police reports & be careful to whom you give your new address & phone number.

  • Reschedule appointments that the offender is aware of.

  • Use different stores & frequent different social spots.

  • Alert neighbors & request that they call the police if they feel you may be in danger.

  • Replace wooden doors with steel or metal doors. Install security systems if possible.

  • Install a motion sensitive lighting system.

  • Tell the people you work with about the situation & have your calls screened by one receptionist if possible.

  • Tell people who take care of your children or drive them/pick them up from school & activities.

  • Explain your situation to them & provide them with a copy of the restraining order.

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