Making a Safety Plan

If you are in an unsafe situation, making a safety plan is very important. Here are a few things to consider when making a plan.

Safety During an Explosive Incident

  1. If there is an argument, try to be in a place that has an exit and not in a bathroom, kitchen, or room that may contain weapons.
  2. Practice getting out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell to use.
  3. Pack a bag and have it ready at a friend’s or relative’s house.
  4. Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask them if they can call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from  your home.
  5. Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need the police.
  6. Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave home.
  7. Use your instincts and judgment. In a dangerous situation, give the abuser what he wants to calm him down.

REMEMBER:  You don’t deserve to be hit or threatened.

Safety When Preparing to Leave

  1. If possible, open a checking or savings account in your own name.
  2. Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, and extra clothes and medicines in a safe place or with someone you trust.
  3. Get your own post office box.
  4. Identify a safe place where you and your children can go or who can lend you money.
  5. Always keep the shelter phone number and some change or a calling card on you for emergency phone calls.  If you have a cell phone, keep it with you (and charged) at all times.
  6. If you have pets, make arrangements for them to be cared for in a safe place. (AWARE advocates can help with this.)

REMEMBER: Leaving your batterer is often the most dangerous time.

Checklist: What You Need To Take

IDENTIFICATION

  • Driver’s License
  • Birth Certificate
  • Children’s Birth Certificates
  • Social Security Cards

FINANCIAL

  • Money and/or credit cards (in your name
  • Checking and/or savings account books

LEGAL PAPERS

  • Protective Order
  • Lease, rental agreement, house deed
  • Car registration and insurance papers
  • Medical records for you and your children
  • Vaccination records
  • School records
  • Work permits/Green Card/Visa
  • Passport
  • Divorce and custody papers
  • Marriage license

OTHER

  • Medications
  • House and car keys
  • Valuable jewelry
  • Address book
  • Pictures and sentimental items
  • Change of clothes for you and your children

Safety With a Protective Order

  1. If you or your children have been threatened or assaulted you can request a protective order from the court. (AWARE advocates can help with this.)
  2. Once you have obtained a protective order, always keep it with you.
  3. Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.
  4. Inform family members, friends, neighbors and school personnel that you have a protective order in effect.
  5. Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond immediately

Safety In Your Own Residence

  1. If you stay in your home, lock your windows and change the locks on your doors as soon as possible.
  2. Develop a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
  3. Inform your child’s school, day care, etc., about who has permission to pick up your child.
  4. Inform neighbors and the landlord that your partner no longer lives with you, and they should call the police if they see him near your home.
  5. Never call the abuser from your home; he may find out where you live.  Never tell the abuser where you live.
  6. Request an unlisted/unpublished number from the telephone company.

Safety On The Job and In Public

  1. Decide who at work you will inform of your situation.  Include the office building security.  (If possible provide them with a picture of your batterer.)
  2. When at work, if possible, have someone screen your telephone calls.
  3. Have someone escort you to and from your car, bus, or home.
  4. If at all possible, use a variety of routes to come and go from home.