A safety plan helps you think of strategies for keeping safe while you are in an abusive relationship, when you are ready to leave the relationship and after you have left. Contact the SAFEline to receive help building a personalized safety plan.
Before you leave the relationshipSafety during an attack or confrontation
- When an argument begins, try to have it in a room or area where you have access to an exit. Try to stay away from the bathroom, garage, kitchen or near weapons or anywhere else where weapons might be available.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator or stairwell would be best.
- Identify a friend or neighbor you can tell about the violence and ask them to call 911 if they hear a disturbance coming from your house.
- Think about a list of safe people to contact; memorize contact numbers/information including the SAFEline phone number – 512.267.SAFE(7233).
- Figure out a code word you can use with your children, friends and family to let them know when to call the police.
- Plan where you will go if you have to leave your house (even if you don’t think you are going to need it).
- Use your own judgment and feelings. If the situation is dangerous, consider giving the abuser what they want to calm them down.
Safety when preparing to leave
- Open a savings account and/or get a credit card in your own name. Get your own post office box so that you can receive mail and checks.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important papers, extra medicine and clothes with someone you can trust so you can leave quickly.
- Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
- Contact our SAFEline for help in safety planning and to inquire about how to get an emergency 911 phone.
- Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.
- Keep the SAFEline number with you—512.267.SAFE (7233). Keep some change with you for emergency calls. Using a calling card is not safe.
Once you have left the relationshipSafety in your home
- Change the locks on the doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks for your windows – remember the patio door.
- Talk to your children about a safety plan when you are not with them.
- Tell your children’s school or daycare who has permission to pick up the children.
- Tell your neighbors and your landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see your partner near your home.
- Never call your partner from your home. If they have Caller ID they will be able to locate you.
Safety with a protective order
- Keep your protective order with you at all times. When you change your purse that should be the FIRST thing that goes into it. Give a copy to a trusted friend or family member.
- Contact the SAFEline for more information about getting a protective order.
- Call the police immediately if your partner breaks the protective order, for any reason.
- Think of ways to keep safe if the police don’t come right away.
- Tell your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, landlord and health care provider that you have a protective order.
Safety at work and in public
- Decide which co-workers you can tell about your situation. Include office or building security.
- Provide a picture of your partner if you have one.
- Arrange to have an answering machine, caller ID or someone screen calls for you.
- Vary your routine.
- Have a safety plan to use when you leave work. Ask someone to walk you to your car, bus or train. Use a different way to go home. Think of what you would do if something happened on the way home.
Safety and emotional help
- If you are thinking of going back to your abusive partner, talk to someone you trust first about another option.
- If you have to communicate with your partner, do it in public or on the telephone.
- Have positive thoughts about yourself. Be assertive with other people about what you need.
- Decide whom you can call to talk openly and who can give you the support you need.
- Plan to attend a women’s or victims’ support group for at least 2 weeks to gain support from others and to learn more about the effects of abuse and control.
- Contact the SAFEline for more information about individual or group counseling.
Important items to take when you leave
- Social security cards
- Birth certificates
- Children’s birth certificates
- Marriage license
- Charge cards/debit cards
- Bank statements
- Proof of income