What Is a Safety Plan?
A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action and more.
At The Hotline we safety plan with victims, friends and family members — anyone who is concerned about their own safety or the safety of someone else.
A good safety plan will have all of the vital information you need and be tailored to your unique situation, and will help walk you through different scenarios.
Although some of the things that you outline in your safety plan may seem obvious, it’s important to remember that in moments of crisis your brain doesn’t function the same way as when you are calm. When adrenaline is pumping through your veins it can be hard to think clearly or make logical decisions about your safety. Having a safety plan laid out in advance can help you to protect yourself in those stressful moments.
The most important thing for victims of domestic violence is safety. If you are in an abusive situation, you must develop a safety plan. You can call our 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1-800-33-HAVEN or 912-588-9999 and an advocate will help you create a safety plan. Think ahead when developing a safety plan. When in the home, stay out of rooms with no exits. Stay away from anything that could be used as a weapon. Keep a spare key hidden where no one will find it in case you have to run out the door. You do not need to bring all of your belongings when you leave. We have what you need at the shelter. Do not write your safety plan down. An abuser may find it. These are just the basics of developing a safety plan. We can help you develop a personalized safety plan to include how you will leave, what you will bring, etc.
Thinking of leaving? Be prepared.
Take important documents with you if you leave, such as:
-Social Security Cards
-Driver’s License or proof of identification
-Checkbook or cash
-Rental lease or deeds to property
-Medical Insurance Cards
-Documents of past abuse: photos, police and medical reports
Protecting yourself at home:
Memorize emergency numbers for people and agencies that can help you. Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside, or keep a cell phone with you at all times. (Make sure the bill or minutes are always paid up!) Plan an escape route out of your home and teach it to your children. Know ahead of time where you can go for help in an emergency. Pack a bag with important things you’ll need if you have to leave quickly. Include cash, car keys, and important information such as court papers, bank book, birth certificates, medical records, prescriptions, immigration papers, etc. Put the bag in a safe place or give it to a friend of relative you trust. If the abuser moves out, change the locks on the doors immediately, and put locks on all windows. Get an unlisted number. Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the abuser at your home. Set up a signal for them to call the police in an emergency, for example, if a certain window shade is pulled down or a particular light is turned on. Victims of domestic violence all deserve to be safe!