Safety Plan

A safe plan is a plan of action designed to help keep survivors of domestic violence and their children as safe as possible.

I. SAFETY DURING AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT

  • If aggression or an argument seems unavoidable, try to move to a room or area that has access to an exit and not in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.

___ Open Space in House

  • Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, stairwell, or elevator would be best.
  • Have a packed bag ready or have a bag with a friend, neighbor or family member. Keep it in an undisclosed but accessible place in order to leave quickly.
  • Identify a neighbor whom you can tell about the violence and ask that they 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 or help.
  • Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave home even if you do not think you will need to leave.

___ Contact Person

___ 2 – 3 different places to go

  • Use your own instincts and judgment to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
  • Always remember, you don’t deserve to be threatened or abused verbally, emotionally, physically, sexually or spiritually.

II. SAFETY WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE

  • Open a bank account in your name to start establishing or increasing your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
  • Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone you trust so that you can leave quickly.
  • Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you money.
  • Keep the Sistercare crisis line number close at hand – 803 765-9428.
  • Review the safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your batterer.

___ Cell phone charged

___ Gas in vehicle is full

___ Extra phone (911 cell phone, prepaid phone, etc.)

  • Law enforcement officers can escort you to pick up some of your belongings.
  • Please remember, the most dangerous time for a domestic violence survivor is when planning to leave or leaving the abuser.

III. SAFETY IN YOUR OWN HOME

  • Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows.

___ Check locks and windows daily/nightly

___ Install peephole

  • Discuss a safety plan (“fire drill”) with your children.

___ Together

___ Children have copy of house keys

___ When not together

___ Memorize important numbers and home address together

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

___ Copies of order of protection or restraining order

___ Secure, safe childcare

___ Copy of picture of abuser

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

___ Extra lights

___ Obtain P.O. box address

___ Change email/password

___ Log journal – document all incidents: texts, calls, etc.

___ Signs: No trespassing, beware of dog, etc.

___ Go to different stores than before (grocery, gas, etc.)

___Save all text messages and voicemails from abuser

___ Take a break from social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.)

___ Change the pin number if you have a joint checking/savings account

IV. SAFETY WITH A PROTECTIVE ORDER

  • Keep your protective order on you at all times. (When you change your purse that should be the first thing that goes in it.)
  • Call police if your abuser breaks the protective order.
  • Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
  • Inform family, friends, and neighbors that you have a protective order in effect.

___ Contact Person

  • If currently incarcerated, learn how you may know when your abuser is released.

V. SAFETY ON THE JOB AND IN PUBLIC

  • Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security. Provide a photo of your abuser if possible.

___ Copies of order of protection or restraining order

___ Contact Person

  • Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls if possible.
  • Devise a safety plan for leaving work. Have someone escort you to your transportation. Use a variety of routes to go home if possible. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home in your vehicle, a bus or cab, etc.

___ Check in with contact person

___ Keep vehicle doors locked while driving

___ Code word

___ Avoid dark places

VI. YOUR SAFETY AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH

  • If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
  • If you must communicate with your abuser, determine the safest way to do so.
  • Have positive thoughts about yourself. Read books, articles, and poems to help you feel stronger.
  • Be assertive about your needs as they are just as important as the needs of others.
  • Decide to whom you can call to talk freely and openly and to receive support when you need it.
  • Plan to attend a domestic violence survivor’s support group for at least four weeks to gain support from others and to learn more about yourself and domestic violence.