Safety Planning

What s a safety plan?

AWARE is here for you. No matter who you are, no matter if you are in an abusive relationship right now, whether you are living with an abusive partner, planning to leave, or have already left, you may want to make a safety plan. AWARE advocates will always provide non-judgmental, free, 24/7 support.

You are the expert in your experience. Ask yourself: what are things I have done before that have helped me stay safe in dangerous situations? Only the person who is harming you can stop the abuse but making a safety plan is about steps you can take to be safer. It is not safe for every person to call 911 and you always get to decide what your safety plan looks like. In an abusive relationship, violence usually escalates over time. Your safety plan will adapt and change depending on your circumstances.

SAFETY WITH KIDS

Talk to your kids about how to stay safe when violence happens. Consider what you might do to intervene or distract if your children are being abused. These can be hard conversations to have. Reassuring your children that you love them and reaching out to AWARE to find resources for them, such as counseling, is a great place to start.

SAFETY WITH PETS

Your safety plan can include your pets. You might collect documents to prove ownership or find temporary care with family or friends.

SAFETY IN YOUR HOME

You deserve to be safe in your home. Home can mean many things–a shelter, a tent outside, an apartment, or a house. If you’re trying to keep the abusive person away from you, consider changing locks, telling other people who live around you, or applying for a protection order.

SAFETY AT WORK & IN PUBLIC

Isolation is a common tactic used by people who are being abusive. Think about if there are safe people at your job or in your life that you could talk to about your relationship. If the person abusing you is stalking you, think about letting people at work know, taking different routes when you’re walking, driving, or taking the bus, and documenting what’s happening. Not everyone has safe people in their lives they can talk to and that’s ok. AWARE advocates are here to be that for you.

SAFETY WITH AN ABUSIVE PARTNER

Develop a support network. Think about places you could go during a violent situation, such as a room in your home that locks. If violence is happening outside, think of a public place where others can see you. Make a plan for how you can get to those places.

DOCUMENTING ABUSE

Documenting abusive incidents with photos, notes, emails, and text messages can be helpful Abuse is a pattern of behavior over time so documentation helps to prove the pattern Documentation can help with getting a protection order or making a police report if that’s something you choose to do. Always prioritize your safety over documentation.

PREPARING FOR VIOLENT INCIDENTS

Violence is overwhelming and scary. You don’t have to face it alone. An advocate can help you make a safety plan. Think about where to go if you have to leave. In the moment, it may be safest to give the person what they want to calm them down. Listen to your instincts.

PREPARING TO END A RELATIONSHIP

Leaving an abusive relationship is often the most dangerous time. It’s important to know that as you make a plan to leave. If there are items you need to gather before leaving make a plan to do so, but safety is the most important thing. AWARE provides emergency shelter for people of all genders and people with children. Even if you come with nothing, AWARE advocates will work with you to help get you what you need.