What is a Safety Plan?


Safety planning is creating a plan to keep you, your children and perhaps even pets safe while living in an environment of domestic violence. It helps you prepare to leave, the process of leaving, and life after you've left your abuser. Leaving is the most dangerous time for a domestic violence survivor. Having an effective safety plan will help allow you to be prepared and to hopefully be as protected as possible.


Important Planning Points


  • Be ready for a crisis
  • Plan to leave
  • Leave
  • Take steps after you leave

For Emergencies Call 911


Helpful Safety Planning and Ongoing Safety Tips


  • Call the Domestic Violence program to help with planning
  • Always seek professional legal advice
  • If the situation is dangerous, move to a space that is the lowest risk; think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away
  • Determine where and how long you can stay and who can lend you money if needed
  • Practice how to get out safely
  • If you have children, rehearse your escape plan and practice with them; discuss the safety plan with your children for when you are not with them
  • Give your childcare providers emergency numbers and copies of any custody or protection orders (childcare providers should know who has permission to pick up your children)
  • Make a plan to care for your pets if you are not able to take them with you
  • Put necessary items in a secure location so you can leave quickly
  • Know where to go during an emergency
  • Use a code word/signal to indicate that it is time to go or that you need help
  • Tell a neighbor and request they call the police if they hear suspicious noises
  • Program emergency numbers and teach your children to use the auto dial
  • Keep change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls
  • Open a bank account and get credit cards in your name
  • Take work related classes or expand job skills
  • Take copies of all important papers and documents you might need such as identification, birth certificates, school/vaccination records, money checkbook, bank books, ATM cards, credit cards, medication, medical records, insurance papers, keys, driver's license, car registration, auto title, passports, legal papers, lease or rental agreements, house deed, car or mortgage payment book, security items for children, photos, etc.
  • Change your cell phone number
  • Be careful what you put on your social media pages
  • Inform your supervisor, security, HR/or employee assistance program about your situation and ask to have your calls screened at work
  • Lock your car doors, take alternative routes
  • Have an escort to your car or bus when traveling
  • When traveling, plan for what to do if there is trouble
  • Change your travel patterns to avoid your partner or people following you
  • Purchase locks and security/safety devices and secure property with steel doors and window guards
  • Always keep your Order of Protection on or near you and replace lost or destroyed protection orders from the court that issued it
  • If your partner violates the order, call the police and report a violation, contact your attorney, advocate, and/or the court


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