Safety Planning

These safety suggestions have been compiled from safety plans on domestic violence websites I have linked to. Following these suggestions is not a guarantee of safety, but can help improve your safety situation.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

If you feel your relationship is, or could be, unsafe, call for help. A local shelter should have a 24 hour hotline, but the best alternative may be the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Or you can check out their website, www.thehotline.org

Even if you feel like you are safe, you can still call a local shelter or the hotline for advice and help.

Whether staying in an abusive situation or leaving one, you should have a safety plan in place.

A safety plan is most effective when you confide in at least one person.

1. Pack a bag (bags) for yourself (and your children, if you have them) and leave it (them) at the trusted person’s house in case you need to flee in a hurry.

Your bag(s) should include:

  • The basics, such as clothes and toiletries
  • Important documents, such as copies of your driver’s license, birth certificates, social security cards, immunization records, school records, and health insurance cards, as well bank and credit card information.
  • Medications
  • Cash, keys to the house and a car, and any valuables or keepsakes you have

If you have no one to confide in, consider packing the bag (s) and hiding it (them) somewhere you have access to.

2. Pick a code word and share it with your friend. If they ever hear you say it, they will know to call 911 for you.

3. Have a safe place your children can go if there is danger. This may be a neighbor’s house or hiding place in the house. Practice going to the safe place with them.

4. Teach your children how to call 911 and explain reasons they may need to do so. Have a code word that tells your children to go to their safe place and call 911. Make sure they know to never try to interfere or stop your abuser from attacking you, as he may turn on them. Stress to them their job is to stay safe, not protect you.

5. Never allow yourself to be backed into a room without an exit, such as a bathroom, or a room with weapons, such as a kitchen, when your abuser is angry.

6. Have an escape plan ready. Know where the possibilities are, such as windows, doors, emergency exits, and stairwells.

7. If violence is imminent, make yourself as small a target as possible. Curl up into a ball with your face down and arms wrapped around your head. A corner is the best place to do this.

8. Be in the habit of backing your car into the driveway and keep it fully fueled. This can allow for a quick escape. Hide an extra set of car keys in case he takes yours.

9. Begin saving money. Consider opening a bank account in your own name.

10. Know that your computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear.

11. If you are afraid your internet and/or computer usage might be monitored, please use a safer computer, call your local hotline, and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

12. Have a safe, public place in mind in case you need to leave in a hurry. It’s best if the place is open 24 hours, such as a police station, a store (many Wal-Marts are open 24 hours) or a restaurant, such as Denny’s or Whataburger.

13. Keep evidence of abuse, such as pictures and written records of dates, events, and threats.

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