what is a safety plan?
A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that can help you stay safe during an abusive situation, no matter where you are. For example:
If you do not want to, or are unable, to leave an abusive situation, a safety plan can help minimize the effects of the abuse.
If you are leaving an abusive situation, a safety plan can help you find the safest way to leave.
If you have left an abusive situation, a safety plan can help keep you safe, since violence often escalates once the victim has left their abuser.
how can i safety plan?
Memorize important phone numbers. Such as: trusted friends, family members, local police number and your local shelter’s number
Create an emergency go bag and leave it in a place your abuser can not find (you may want to leave it in your car or at a trusted friend or relative’s home). Be sure to pack: medicines, cash, important documents, a spare key, spare cellphone charger and clothes.
Keep copies of important documents in a safe place (such as your emergency go bag).
Documents could include:
Driver’s licenses or other identification
Birth certificates or adoption papers
Social security cards
Naturalization papers or Green cards
Medical insurance card
Financial records (such as bank statements, tax returns and W-2s)
Marriage or divorce papers
Lease or mortgage information
Proof of benefits or disability documentation (or any documentation regarding access to government benefits or assistance)
Important addresses and phone numbers
Any other important documents
Keep your cellphone charged and with you at all times
If you look up resources about abuse, sexual assault or domestic violence, be sure to clear your browser history
If possible, open your own bank account
Stay in touch with friends and relatives. Resist the temptation to isolate yourself even if you do want to be alone
Get to know your neighbors
If you live with an abuser, identify safe areas of your home where there are ways to escape. In arguments or escalating situations, move into the safer spaces in your home so you may escape
Be aware of the things that make your abuser escalate (such as arguments, substance use, financial problems, childcare)
Practice your escape plan
Teach your children to dial 911
Instruct your children to leave home if things escalate
Have a plan of where to meet your children (or other family members) if you have to leave home
Know where any weapons in your home are so you may avoid those areas if the situation escalates
If you own a car, keep the doors locked and keep it fueled
Document evidence of abuse (such as taking pictures of bruises or other physical injuries).
Save abusive communications (do not delete threatening text messages, social media posts, emails or voicemails)
Keep a journal of violent incidents with dates, describe events that happened, any threats that were made. Keep the journal in a safe place
Think of reasons to leave your home (taking out the trash, buying groceries, helping a neighbor, walking the dog, etc.)
After leaving an abusive situation
Change your phone number
Change your routine
Keep your social media accounts private
Stay with others (if possible)
If you have to meet with your abuser for any reason, only do it in public and have a friend or family member accompany you
Change your locks and keep your doors locked
Inform your neighbors that your abuser is not welcome on your property or near your home and ask them to call the police if they see your abuser
Obtain a protective order and keep the documentation with you at all times
Seek counseling, attend support groups, create a supportive network of friends and family members
Make sure the school or daycare your child attends is very clear about who is allowed to pick up your children
Discuss the situation with your employer (if you feel comfortable doing so) to have a plan for what to do if your abuser shows up at your work