Safety Planning

Whatever else you may decide to do, one thing that many victims of domestic violence find helpful is making a safety plan. You can make one yourself or you can call your local domestic violence program and ask them to help you think through a plan. If you decide to write out a safety plan, be sure to keep it in a place where your partner can't find it. Safety plans can be made for a variety of different situations - for dealing with an emergency such as when a physical assault occurs, for continuing to live with a partner who has been abusive, for continuing to date a partner who has been abusive, or for protecting yourself after you have ended a relationship with an abusive partner.

Whether you are with your partner or have ended the relationship, whether or not you have used the court system whether or not you have ever called the police, there are certain things that are helpful to consider in planning for your future safety.

  • Where can you keep important phone numbers (police, hotline, friends, shelter) for yourself and your children?

  • Is there anyone you can ask to call the police it they hear suspicious noises coming from your house or apartment?

  • If you need to get out of your house or apartment in a hurry, what door, window, elevator or stairwell will you be able to use in order to get out safely?

  • If you need a place to stay for a while, where can you go? Can you arrange to stay with family or friends in a crisis? Do you know how to contact the local domestic violence program in order to arrange for emergency shelter?

  • Where can you keep your purse, car keys and some change to make a phone call so that you can grab them quickly?

  • Do your children know how to use the telephone to contact the police?

  • Is there a code word you can use with friends, family and/or your children to alert them to call for help?
  • Can you keep some money, some changes of clothes and important papers hidden somewhere your partner doesn't know about, but that you can get to quickly? Can you keep the "escape bag" with a neighbor or in the trunk of the car?

  • If you think you and your partner are about to have an argument, how can you get to a room where there are fewer things that can be used as weapons? How can you avoid getting trapped in the kitchen, bathroom, basement or garage?

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