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

    • Passports

    • 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)

    • Checkbooks

    • School records

    • Marriage or divorce papers

    • Lease or mortgage information

    • Proof of benefits or disability documentation (or any documentation regarding access to government benefits or assistance)

    • Wills

    • Vehicle titles

    • 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

Call 907-225-9474 to safety plan with a wish advocate

Or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233