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Safety Planning

Home should be a safe place

Safety During an Explosive Incident
  • If an argument seems unavoidable, try to stay close to an exit and away from places where you could get trapped, such as bathrooms and/or bedrooms. Avoid the kitchen or other rooms where weapons might be accessible.

  • Trust your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, do what you need to feel safe. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.

  • Always remember-you don’t deserve to be hit or threatened.

Safety When Preparing to Leave
  • Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.

  • Think of a code word to use with your children, friends and neighbors when you need the police.

  • Practice getting out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator or stairwell would be best.

  • Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave quickly.

  • Open a savings account and/or a credit card in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence.

  • Have a packed bag ready and keep it at a trusted relative’s or friend’s home so you can leave quickly. Include money, extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra medications, clothes, etc.

  • Determine who would be able to let you stay with them, lend you money, help you with transportation, etc.

  • Keep the domestic violence hotline number close at hand. Keep a charged cell phone with you at all times.

  • You may request a police standby or escort while you leave.

  • Beware that leaving an abusive relationship is the most dangerous time for most battered women.

Safety Planning
Safety with a Protection Order
  •  Keep your Protection Order with you at all times. You may want to make several copies and keep one in your car, your home, your purse, etc.

  • Inform family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, health care provider, etc. that you have a Protection Order. You may choose to give them a copy.

  • Inform the school, daycare, etc. of who has permission to pick up the children. Provide a copy of your Protection Order.

  • Call the police if your partner violates the order.

Safety in Your Home
  • Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. 

  • Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows. Make sure you have blinds.

  • Don’t ever answer the door without knowing who it is.

  • Don’t let your abusive partner into the home for any reason.

  • Discuss a safety plan with your children, especially for when you are not with them.

  • Purchase a motion light.

  • Inform neighbors and the landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see him near your home.

  • Make a habit of backing your car into the driveway and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and all others locked for a quick escape.

Safety at Work & in Public
  • Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office/building security. 

  • Provide a picture of your batterer if possible. 

  • Let co-workers know that you have chosen not to see or speak with your abuser on the telephone.

  • Have security escort you to your vehicle or walk with a friend.

  • Don’t park in isolated, unlit areas.

  • Have your key in your hand as you walk toward your vehicle.

  • Change your daily routine. For example, if you normally go to the post office at noon, choose to go after work instead. Use a variety of routes to drive home.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.

  • Make sure that nobody is following you home.

Your Safety and Emotional Health
  • Keep a journal about the abuse, any threats that were made, when and where the abuse occurred, and any witnesses that were present

  • Keep any evidence of abuse, such as torn clothing, hospital records, pictures, etc.

  • If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss your options with someone you trust and who will give you unbiased information.

  • If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so ( by phone, letter or through an attorney).

  • Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs.  Read books, articles and poems to feel stronger.

  • Decide who you can freely and openly call to talk to and who will give you the support you need.

  • Plan to attend a women’s or victim’s support group to gain support from other survivors and learn more about yourself and the dynamics of abusive relationships.

Technology Safety
  • Use a safe computer, such as a public one at a library.

  • Create a new e-mail account. Use an anonymous name and account. Do not provide detailed information about yourself.

  • Change all passwords. Avoid obvious ones or ones that your abuser may be able to guess.

  • Check your settings on social networking sites, such as Facebook. Don’t post personal information about yourself. Think about what you’re “sharing.”

  • Use a donated or new cell phone– phone bills and call logs may reveal your plans to an abuser.

  • Block your number (*67).

  • Be cautious when giving out personal information. Try to never give out your true residential address.

  • Minimize use of cordless phones or baby monitors.

  • Do internet searches on yourself to see what information is out there and available.

  • Trust your instincts. If you suspect your abuser knows too much, it is possible that your phone, computer, e-mail, and other activities are being monitored.

  • Talk to an advocate who can additionally assist you with safety planning.


For more information about Safety Planning visit these national sites:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence

Keep in mind that even though safety planning can help lessen the danger you are in there is no guarentee of complete safety. 


What you need to take if you decide to leave:



—Driver’s licenses

—Birth certificates

—Social security cards


—Welfare identification

—Abuser’s social security number



—Money/credit cards

—Bank books & other documents



Legal Papers:

—Protection Order

—Lease, rental agreement, house deed

—Car registration & insurance papers

—Medical records

—School records

—Work permits/Green Card/Visa

—Divorce papers

—Custody papers



—House & car keys


—Special jewelry

—Address book/contacts

—Pictures of you, children, & abuser

—Children’s special toys


—Change of clothes

—Sentimental items

—Cell phones/chargers/phone card

—Change for pay phone

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