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   Resources: Safety Planning Saves Lives

If you or someone you know is afraid of their spouse/partner or family member they may be a victim of abuse. Here are some ideas that can be used to increase a victim's personal safety - this is called Safety Planning.

Safety planning helps develop tools in advance of potentially dangerous situations. Choose only the suggestions listed that make sense for you and your set of circumstance. Take extra precautions when weapons are present in the home.

Safety During An Explosive Incident
  • If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or place where you can escape. Try to stay away from the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, or anywhere else where potential weapons might be available.
  • Have a bag packed. Keep it at a relative's or friend's home in order to leave quickly. Pack clothing for yourself and your children.
  • Ask a neighbor to call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
  • Devise a code word to use with your children, grandchildren, family, friends, neighbors and others to communicate that you need the police.
  • Decide and plan for where you go if you have to leave home *even if you don't think you will need to).
  • Use your instinct and judgment. If you the situation feels dangerous, consider any action that will allow you to access safety. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
  • Always remember: You don't deserve to be hit or threatened!

Safety When Preparing To Leave
  • Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra medicines, and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
  • Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
  • Keep the shelter or hotline phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.

Safety In Your Own Home
  • Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows. Consider installing or increasing your outside lighting.
  • discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them. Inform their school, day care, etc., about who has permission to pick them up.
  • Inform neighbors and your landlord that your abuser no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see your abuser near your home.

Safety With A Restraining Order
  • Keep your restraining order with you at all times. Give a copy to a trusted neighbor or family member. If it is lost or destroyed, you can get another copy form the County Clerk of Courts office.
  • Call the police if your abuser violates the conditions of the restraining order.
  • Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
  • Inform family, friends, teachers and neighbors that you have a restraining order in effect.

Safety On The Job And In The Public
  • Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security. Provide a picture of your abuser if possible.
  • Devise a safety plan for when you are in a public place. Have someone escort you to your car, bus, or taxi. If possible, use a variety of routes to go home. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home. Make a plan to call someone when you get home safely.

Your Safety & Emotional Health
  • If you have to communicate with your abuser, arrange to do so in the way that makes you feel safest, this can be by phone, mail, in the company of another person, etc. Do not go alone!

 

Remember!
Leaving Can Be The Most Dangerous Time