Making a Safety Plan
*American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation video available at bottom of page.
You can’t control your partner’s abusive behavior but you can take steps to protect yourself and your children from harm. You are the best person to know your situation. You know when the risk of remaining in the home and/or in the relationship becomes excessive. Whether you decide to stay or to end the relationship, you should consider creating a safety plan.
A safety plan is a personalized and practical plan that helps you identify things you can do to better protect you and your children at home, school, work and in the community. It will also help to reduce your risk of being hurt. The changes that occur may be big, like going to a confidential shelter or changing schools. Or the changes may be small, like changing your e-mail passwords or the route you take to work. Planning ahead can enhance your safety during or after a violent incident. Your safety plan can help you to safely escape violence, protect your children and get assistance or support if needed.
Below are some suggestions that can help increase your safety.
We strongly encourage anyone interested in developing a safety plan to contact your local domestic violence agency for assistance with developing a personalized plan.
Tips on how to stay safe in various situations
Remember– Leaving an abusive partner puts you at greater risk for increased violence. Learn more about risk factors.
- Put aside emergency money.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows or stairwell would work best.
- Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home, even if you don’t think you will need to leave.
- Have an extra set of keys along with a packed bag, ready to go in a safe but accessible location.
- Memorize the Connecticut Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline number: (888) 774-2900
- Review your safety plan on a regular basis for ensured safety.
- Give a copy of your restraining or protective order to your boss and trusted co-workers.
- Tell your boss and co-workers to call the police if they see your abuser at your workplace.
- Identify a trusted neighbor you can tell about the violence.
- Ask the neighbor that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Devise a code word with your neighbor so they know when to call the police.
- Carry a copy of your restraining or protective order at all times.
- Try to use a safe computer that your abuser doesn’t have direct or remote (hacking) access to.
- If you are being monitored, don’t suddenly delete your entire internet history if you don’t normally do that. It’s impossible to delete or clear all of the “footprints” of your computer or online activity.
- Remember, computers can store a lot of private information about you, such as your emails, bank account information, sites you’ve visited, etc.
- Create an email address that doesn’t use your full name and is not overly identifying.
- Change passwords to your existing online accounts, such as your email and bank accounts.
- Be sure to use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols when creating the password.
Protect Your Children
- Teach them how to dial 911. Ensure them that they can trust the police.
- Make sure they know a safe place for them inside or outside of the home (e.g.; a room with a lock or a trusted neighbor’s house).
- Reassure them that violence is not their fault and that you want to be sure they stay safe.
- If your child has a restraining or protective order against your abuser, be sure to share it with their daycare or school.
- Teach them how to distinguish between a real emergency and a simple argument.
- Give them a list of important phone numbers to keep with them, such as numbers of relatives or trusted neighbors.
In an emergency
- Do not run into a room with no escape (e.g.; a closet) or with weapons (e.g.; the kitchen).
- Get to a safe place, such as a trusted neighbor’s house, where you can call 911.
- If possible, grab your emergency bag.
Checklist: Items to consider keeping in your emergency bag
- Driver’s license
- Birth certificates (yours, your children’s)
- Citizenship documents (passport, green card, etc).
- Copies of your restraining or protective order
- Copies of custody orders
- Insurance documents
- Credit cards or a list of credit cards you jointly hold or hold yourself
- Pay stubs
- Information about bank accounts and other assets
- List of phone numbers of friends, relatives, doctors, schools, etc.
- Regularly needed medication
- Extra set of house or car keys
- Sentimental objects of yours and your children’s
Sample Safety Plan
Click HERE to download a sample safety plan.
Remember, we strongly encourage anyone interested in developing a safety plan to contact your local domestic violence agency for assistance with developing a personalized plan.
This video provides the webpage information in American Sign Language (ASL). Click to play. While playing, scroll over the video and click on the icon in the lower right corner to expand to the video to your full screen.