You can't control your partner's behavior, but you can plan ways to keep yourself and your children safe if or when violence next erupts. Create a safety plan by thinking about our suggestions for your situation, whether you're living with an abuser, are preparing to leave, or have left an abusive situation, and then filling in the form below. Everyone's experience is different, so choose options that will work best for you.
If you need some help and guidance, call our helpline anytime -- 1.877.890.7788.
Step 1. Safety during a violent episode
- If I decide to leave, I will go to ________________________________________.
- I can keep a bag ready and put it ________________________________________ so I can leave quickly.
- The bag should have these things in it: _____________________________________________________________________________
- I can tell ________________________________________ about the violence and have him or her call the police when violence erupts.
- I can teach my children to call 9-1-1.
- I will use the code word ________________________________________ to alert my children, friends, and family to call for help.
- When an argument erupts, I will move to a safer room such as ________________________________________.
- I can teach these strategies to my children: ________________________________________________________________________.
- I will use my instincts, intuition, and judgment. I will protect myself and my children until we are out of danger.
Step 2. Safety when getting ready to leave
- I'll leave money, important documents, and an extra set of keys with ________________________________________.
- I'll open a savings account in my own name by this date ________________________________________ .
- Other things I can do to increase my independence are ______________________________________________________________.
- I'll memorize the domestic violence helpline ________________________________________.
- I'll memorize the number I need to use to request emergency shelter ___________________________.
- I'll use a prepaid cell phone, a friend's phone, a prepaid phone card and someone else's phone (relative, work, or school), or I'll call collect, so my batterer can't trace my calls from the cell phone bill.
- I'll make sure I can leave extra clothes at the safety home I can go to, the home of ________________________________________ or ____________________.
- I can borrow money from ___________________.
- I'll review my safety plan every __________ days/weeks.
- I'll use this route to get out of my house or apartment and to my safety house: ______________________________________________.
- I'll review this plan with ________________________________________ (a friend, counselor, or advocate).
- I'll rehearse my escape plan and practice it with my children.
Step 3. Safety at home (if you no longer live with your partner)
As soon as possible, I will...
- Change the locks on my doors and windows.
- Replace wooden doors with steel doors.
- Have security systems installed: additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, electronic sensors.
- Purchase rope ladders, so we can escape from the second floor.
- Install smoke detectors and buy fire extinguishers for each floor of my home.
- Have an outside lighting system installed that lights up when someone approaches my home.
- Teach my children how to use the phone to make collect calls to me and to ________________________________________ (friend, family, minister) if my partner tries to take them.
- Tell the people who care for my children or who have permission to pick up my children that my partner is NOT allowed to. I will inform these people:
Day Care ________________________________________
Sunday School ________________________________________
- Tell these people that my partner no longer lives with me and that they should call the police if they see my partner near my residence:
Church Leaders ________________________________________
Step 4. Orders of protection
To help enforce the order of protection, I will
- Always keep a certified copy of the protection order with me.
- Give a certified copy of the protection order to the police departments in the areas where I visit my friends and family, where I live, and where I work.
- Tell my employer, my church leader, my friends, my family, and others that I have a protection order.
- Go to the courthouse and get another copy if my protection order is destroyed or lost.
- If my partner violates the protection order, I will call the police and report it. I will call my lawyer, my advocate, my counselor and/or tell the courts about the violation.
- If the police do not help, I will call my advocate or my attorney, AND I will file a complaint with my local police department.
- I can file a complaint with the police in the jurisdiction where the violation took place. A domestic violence advocate can help me do this.
Step 5. Job and public safety
I can do the following:
- Tell my boss, security, and ________________________________________ at work about this situation.
- Ask ________________________________________ to help screen my phone calls.
- Take these precautions when leaving work: ________________________________________ .
- Take these actions when driving home from work and problems arise: ________________________________________ .
- Take these steps when using public transportation: ________________________________________ .
- Shop at different grocery stores and shopping malls at different hours than I did when I was with my partner.
- Use a different bank and bank at different hours than I did when I was with my partner.
- Protect myself in other ways by________________________________________.
Step 6. Drug and alcohol use
I can stay safer around drugs and alcohol if
- I use them in a safe place with people who understand the risk of violence and who are committed to my safety.
- I ________________________________________ when my partner is using.
- I ________________________________________ in order to protect my children.
Step 7. Safety and my emotional health
If or when...
- I feel depressed and ready to return to a potentially violent situation/partner, I can ________________________________________, and I can call ________________________________________.
- I have to talk to my partner in person or on the phone, I can ________________________________________.
- I need to be assertive, I will use "I can" statements.
- I feel people are trying to control or abuse me, I can tell myself
- I need support, I can call the following people: ________________________________________.
- I need to feel stronger, I can ________________________________________.