Safety Strategies and Plans
One way to protect yourself in abusive relationships is through the development of a safety plan. The safety plan can be made for any important place in your life, such as the home, workplace, or even a friend's house. It allows you to collect and organize the materials you need to stay safe and prepares you mentally and strategically in the event that you may need to leave.
The Home Safety Plan
How to be prepared if you must escape
- Gather important documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, school and health records, insurance, welfare and immigration documents, as well as divorce or other important documents. They may be the originals or copies.
- Include credit cards, ATM cards, money, and bank account information.
- Keep an extra set of keys to your house or car on hand.
- Keep all medication and prescriptions filled and readily available.
- Have phone numbers and the addresses for family, friends, doctors, lawyers, or community agencies.
- Pack clothing or comfort items for you or your children.
All of these items should be kept in a safe place.
If the violent partner has been evicted from the premises, there are some additional home safety measures you can take to protect yourself or your children.
- Change the locks on your doors or windows and install a security system, or upgrade your current system.
- Improve the lighting in your home and repair smoke detectors and check the quality or expiration of fire extinguishers.
- Install motion-sensing lighting on the outside of the house.
- Teach your children how to contact family members, friends, or emergency services if there is an accident, attack, or if they are abducted by the abusive partner.
- Inform the school or childcare providers about which adults have permission to take them from school.
- Find a family lawyer well versed in family violence, custody issues, visitation rights, and divorce provisions that protect you and your children.
- Keep rope ladders available in case it becomes imperative to escape from a window on a second or higher story.
- Inform neighbors, community members, and friends that your partner no longer lives with you and ask them to call you if they see your partner near your home.
- Seek and obtain a restraining order.