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Developing a Safety Plan

When a victim is able to leave the abusive environment, it is essential that a safety plan be in place to increase opportunity for a successful departure. Advanced planning is crucial and should consider each individuals particular situation. Concerns and actions to be addressed should include but not necessarily be limited to the following:

  • Does she/he have family and friends with whom they can safely stay?
  • Would she/he find a protective or restraining order helpful?
  • Can an advocate safely contact her/him at home? What should the advocate do if the abuser answers the phone?
  • Does she/he know how to safely contact the shelter?
  • Does she/he have a neighbor they can contact, or work out a signal for assistance, when violence erupts or appears inevitable?
  • If she/he has a car, can they safely hide a set of keys?
  • Can she/he pack an extra set of clothes for themselves and any children, and store them–along with an extra set of house and car keys–with a neighbor, friend or another safe place?
  • Can she/he leave extra cash, checkbook or savings account book hidden safely for emergency access?
  • Can she/he collect and safely store originals or copies of important records such as birth certificates, social security cards, driver’s license, financial records (such as banking and other financial accounts, mortgage or rent receipts, title to the car, etc.) and medical records (for children and self)?
  • Does she/he have a concrete plan for exactly where they should go and how they can get there safely, at any time regardless of when they leave?
  • Does she/he have a disability that requires assistance or a specialized safety plan?

EVERY CONTACT WITH A VICTIM OF ABUSE (whether she/he is still in, about to leave, or already out of an abusive situation) SHOULD INCLUDE A SAFETY PLAN TAILORED TO THEIR PARTICULAR SITUATION AND A PLAN FOR CONTINUAL REVISION.

A fill in the blank printable Safety Plan can be found here PDF