Safety planning involves preparing for a crisis and how you will react BEFORE IT OCCURS. During high times of stress, the automatic response is to react. Safety planning ensures that the automatic response during a crisis will be a reaction the survivor has explored and that they feel is the best way to keep themselves safe.
Safety During an Argument
- Stay in an area with an exit and avoid letting the aggressive person get between you and the exit.
- Practice getting out of your home safely.
- Avoid rooms with weapons and hard surfaces, such as the kitchens and bathrooms.
- Tell trustworthy neighbors about the violence. Ask them to call 911 if they hear/see anything violent.
- Talk to your kids! Tell them to not get involved and to leave the home. Remind them, that if there is violence, their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
- Devise a code word or signal to use with your children, family, or friends when you need the police.
- Trust your instincts and judgement.
Safety When Preparing to Leave
- Establish your independence. Open a savings/checking account in your name only!
- Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents, extra medication, extra clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
- Determine safe people you can stay with.
- Rehearse your safety plan!
Safety in Your Own Home
- Change the locks on your doors. (Landlords are legally obligated to change locks within 24 hours if you are experiencing DV).
- Install locks on your windows.
- Install security cameras around your home.
- Inform your children’s school or caregivers who has permission to pick up your child(ren).
- Inform your neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and to call the police if they see him/her near your home.
Internet and Computer Safety
- Remember all computers, tablets, and phones and any online activities can be monitored.
- Abusers may monitor your emails and internet activity. When preparing to leave, do not search for jobs, apartments, houses, bus tickets, etc on your devices.
- It’s safer to use a computer in a public library or a trusted friend or relative’s house. DO NOT SIGN IN to any personal accounts.
- If you think your abuser is tracking your location via your cellphone, take your phone to the provider to have it thoroughly checked.
- If you think your phone has been compromised and you get a new one, do NOT update your phone from the cloud.
- Use an app like “My Plan” to learn how to safely use your phone when leaving.
What Should You Take
- Legal Papers (Restraining orders, lease, rental agreement, house deed, car registration, health and insurance cards, divorce papers, custody papers.)
- Identification (Driver’s license, birth certificate, children’s birth certificate, social security cards, self-sufficiency/disability identification, work permit, green card)
- Other (House and car keys, medications, valuables, photos, address book, phone charger, clothes, hygiene necessities, medical records)
- For the kids (special blanket/toy, toys, clothes)