Safety planning is
a critical step for someone in an abusive relationship and can
be used while you are still with the abuser, when you make the
decision to leave, and after the relationship has ended.
Remember, your safety and the safety of your children, if you
have them, is the most important thing.
Please note that safety planning can be dangerous. Please
call our 24-hour hotline at 1-800-460-SAFE and
let one of our advocates help you develop a safety plan.
Safety During Occurrences
Safety When You Decide to
Leave the Abuser
- Avoid rooms that contain items that can be used
as weapons and rooms without an exit. During an
argument, make sure to stay out of rooms where you can be
cornered or trapped. Remain in rooms with an exit and escape
route. Bathrooms and kitchens are typically dangerous rooms
to get cornered into.
- Practice getting out safe. When you are
home alone, think about and run through what doors, windows
and stairs you can use to get out of different situations.
- Be packed and ready. Leave a packed bag
ready at a friend or family member's house. Have necessities
and essentials packed safely in the bag.
- Know who you can go to for help.
Identify at least one neighbor who you can go to for help.
If you can, let them know what is happening and ask them to
call the police if they suspect a violent outbreak.
Come up with a code word.
Come up with a word or signal to let friends,
family, children and neighbors know that you need help, you
need them to call 911 for the police, or it is time to run.
Safety at Home
- Open a checking and savings account and a PO box in your
- Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents,
extra clothes and medicines in a packed bag with a family
member or friend who you trust.
- Identify a safe place for you and your children to go
immediately. If you can't go anywhere else, go to the police
- If you have access to a cell phone or landline, call 911
as soon as you can.
- Identify someone who can lend you money if you need it
to cover the very basics.
- Keep the Hope Alliance hotline number in a safe place
and call to be screened for shelter eligibility if needed.
Safety at Work and in Public
- If you stay in your home, and your abuser leaves, lock
your windows and change the locks on your doors immediately.
- Coach your children on how they can stay safe when you
are not with them.
- Let your neighbors and landlord know that your partner
no longer lives in the residence, and ask them to call 911
immediately if they see the person on or near the property.
- Never call the abuser or give them any access to
information that may let them know where you are.
- Never tell the abuser where you live or when you are
- Call the telephone company to request an unlisted
Special Note for Survivors of
- Let a friend at work know what is going on. Let security
at work know about the situation at home and provide them
with a picture of your abuser. Let them know to call 911 if
they harass you at work.
- If possible, have an assistant or coworker screen your
- Ask a coworker or friend to escort you to and from your
- Vary your routine. Don't park in the same place. Don't
take the same route home.
- In general, many of the safety planning suggestions for
survivors of domestic violence also apply to survivors of
- If you were assaulted in your home or apartment, make
sure that you have your locks changed immediately. Also
replace or repair any broken windows or doors. Contact your
landlord or leasing office for assistance with this at a
- If you are an adult, you can receive a forensic exam
after your sexual assault without a report to law
If you are
thinking about leaving your abuser, it is important to gather
certain items ahead of time and keep copies of important
documents in a safe, accessible place. Your safety is the most
important thing. Don't risk your safety to get an item. Things
can be replaced, but you are irreplaceable. Keep it light. No
more than you can carry alone.
Forms of identification - Driver's
licenses, birth certificates, social security cards and any
other forms of ID for you or your children.
- Financial Documents - Cash, credit
cards in your name and bank account information.
- Legal Papers - Protective orders, lease agreements, house deed, car insurance and registration, health and life insurance policies, medical records for you and your children, school records, work permits, visas, passports, and immigration paperwork.
- Marriage license, divorce decree and/or custody papers.
- Basic necessities - Medications, prescriptions, house and car keys, cell phone, change of clothes, address book, valuables, etc...