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A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave a relationship, or after you leave a relationship. It helps lower your risk of being hurt by an attacker/abuser. Everyone deserves to be safe, and to be in a healthy, supportive relationship. It is important to start to think of ways to keep yourself safe. While you can’t control the abusive behaviors of others, you can take action to keep yourself as safe as possible.

Safety during an explosive incident

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

  • Try to be in a place that has an exit and not a bathroom, kitchen or room that may contain weapons.

  • Practice getting out of your home safely.  Identify doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell to use.

  • Decide where you will go and plan the easiest escape route if you ever have to leave home.

  • Pack a bag and have it ready at a friends or relative’s house.

  • Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence, and ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.

  • Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need the police.

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

  • Use your instincts and judgment.  In some dangerous situations, give the abuser what they want to calm them down.  

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

Safety when preparing to leave

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

  • Save threatening voicemails, notes and emails.

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

  • Open a checking or savings account in your own name.

  • Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes and medicines in a safe place or with someone you trust.

  • Get your own post office box.

  • Know your abuser’s social security number, birth date and place of birth.

  • Identify a safe place where you can go and someone who can lend you money.

  • Always keep the shelter phone number, a calling card, or some change for emergency phone calls with you.

  • If you have pets, make arrangements for them to be cared for in a safe place.

  • Call a friend or someone who will be supportive, when you feel down and ready to return to an abusive partner.

  • Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled.

Remember leaving your batterer is the most dangerous time!

Safety in your own residence

  • If you stay in your home, lock your windows and change the locks on your doors as soon as possible.

  • Replace wooden doors with steel or metal doors.  Install security systems and motion sensitive lighting system if possible.

  • Change your phone number and request an unlisted/unpublished number from the telephone company.

  • Get Caller ID on your telephone so you can screen your calls.

  • Develop a safety plan with your children for times when you are not with them.

  • Inform your children’s school, day care, etc., about who has permission to pick up your children.

  • Inform neighbors and the landlord that your partner no longer lives with you, and that they should call the police if they see him/her near your home.

  • Never tell the abuser where you live.  Never call the abuser from your home because the abuser may find out where you live.

Safety on the job and in public

  • Inform someone at work of your situation.  Include the security officers at work and provide them with a picture of your batterer.

  • Have someone screen your telephone calls at work.

  • Have someone escort you to and from your car, bus or train.

  • Use a variety of routes to come and go from home.

  • If possible, change work hours, change place of worship, change children’s school

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

  • If your abuser violates the restraining order, contact the police immediately.  Contact your attorney/advocate and advise the court.

  • If your abuser is charged with a crime, stay in contact with the police and/or victim witness coordinator to be advised if abuser is being released from jail.

  • Reschedule appointments that the offender is aware of.

  • Use different stores and go to different social spots

Safety with children

  • Teach your children when and how to get help.

  • Instruct them not to get involves in the violence between you and the abuser.

  • Identify a room they can go to when they’re afraid and something they can think about when they’re scared.

  • Instruct them to stay out of the kitchen, bathroom and other areas where there are items that could be used as weapons.

  • Help them make a list of people that they are comfortable talking with and expressing themselves to.

  • Enroll them in a counseling program.

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