Safety Planning

If you or someone you know is being abused or experiencing domestic violence, it is critical that you make plan for how you can remove yourself from the violent situation safely.  A safety plan can be an important tool for a survivor of abuse, whether or not s/he is planning to leave the relationship. Remember: survivors are at an increased risk of violence when they attempt to leave. The following list includes options a survivor might consider when making a safety plan.

  • Use caution when browsing websites and clear anything from your browser history that may impact your safety after visiting. Know that it is not difficult for someone to look back on your computer to see where you have been. Be sure to log out of Facebook and any other networking site when you are done visiting.
  • Prepare an emergency kit and keep it where the person hurting you won’t find it (might include extra keys, money, important papers, ID, prescription medicine, and clothes for you and your children).
  • Teach your children to stay out of the fight. Let them know their job is to stay safe, not protect you. Show them a safe place to go in an emergency (examples might be a neighbor’s house or a room with a lock).
  • Keep a list of important phone numbers with you (police, hotlines and/or friends).
  • Apply for a restraining or stalking order and keep it with you. Give a copy to your employer, school, children’s care provider, and anyone else who might need to show it to the police.
  • Arrange a signal with a safe neighbor for when you need help.
  • Call 911, if possible.
  • Pay attention to and plan for the safest time to leave. Know how to get out of the house quickly and practice with your children.
  • Learn what resources and options are available if you need to leave in an emergency (call shelters, crisis lines, and/or talk to friends).
  • If someone is stalking you, keep a written journal with details about what happened and when.
  • Get legal assistance in filing for divorce, arranging for custody and visitation.
  • Change locks if the person hurting you moves out.
  • Talk to someone you trust about your plan