SAFETY ALERT: If you are in danger, please use a safer computer, or call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224. Use the “Esc” button on the left to quickly leave the site.
Personal safety is the most important thing for anyone in a coercive or physically abusive relationship. If you have managed to keep yourself and your children safe thus far you have courage and resourcefulness that you may not give yourself credit for. If you are working with victims and survivors remember that they’ve kept themselves relatively safe and alive thus far so most often they will be the best person to outline a safety plan for themselves and their children. While safety plans differ according to each individual circumstances they still have some things in common.
Below are some things to consider that may keep you or the person you’re concerned about safer:
Have important phone numbers for police, friends, and the local hotline nearby.
Consider a neighbor you’re comfortable with and ask them to call police if they hear violent sounds coming from your home. Teach your child(ren) how to call 911 by making up a code word to use when you want them to call for help.
Think about the safer places at home where there are exits but little access to weapons (guns, knives, tools, etc) What’s t he best way to get safely out?
While leaving may not be an immediate option begin (safely) doing things out of the house without raising red flags for your partner. Walk the dog, run next door, take out the garbage, wash the car, and go to the store, library, or other public place. Really think about leaving and who could help.
Plan on change for a phone or getting a throw-away phone.
Imagine what you’ll need immediately: Money, drivers’ license, lease, car registration, school/medical records or medication, social security cards & birth certificates, passports or other immigration documents, and your address book.
If it’s safe to do so plan to take things which could be destroyed by your partner: pictures, jewelry, or things with sentimental value.
If there are children be sure to take custody documents, birth certificates, or things that comfort them (special toys or other things).
Think about where to go if the time comes to leave: people unknown to your partner, shelters in confidential locations or relatives or friends you’ve managed to reconnect with.
Review the safety plan all the time. It’s impossible to think or talk enough about how you or someone keeps themselves safe. As conditions change so does the safety plan.
If you or someone considers leaving their partner, remember that when the abusive person begins to sense a loss of control the abuse may escalate. A survivor leaving their abusive partner is in immediate danger and sometimes long after they’ve left. Keep an active safety plan at all times.