Leaving is often the scariest and most dangerous time of an abusive relationship. It is important to develop a safety plan. Safety planning focuses on the immediate needs of the victim(s) and addresses the level or risk for danger.
Development of a safety plan should include:
- Safety strategies and risk assessment during a violent incident
- Safety strategies to consider when leaving
- Safety strategies for daily living in a violent home
- Safety strategies on the job and in public
- Safety strategies for your mental health
- Safety strategies if drugs or alcohol consumption is present
- Safety strategies for the children
Here are a few general safety plan tips:
- Identify a variety of ways to get out of your home safely and practice your escape methods.
- Pack a bag with medications, important documents, money, and keys and hide it.
- Arrange a signal with neighbors to let them know when you need help.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, grandchildren, friends, or others to indicate that you need the police.
- Learn how to shut off GPS tracking devices in cell phones and vehicles.
- Plan where you will go if you have to leave.
- During an explosive incident, try to stay in a room with access to an exit (except the kitchen).
- Try to stay in a room with a phone to call 911.
- Inform law enforcement if weapons are in the home.
WomenSafe advocates are available to help you form safety planning strategies. A printable worksheet also available. If you need immediate assistance, call the COPEline 888-285-5665.
When you decide to leave an abusive partner, it is important to take certain items. These items might best be placed in one location, so that if you leave in a hurry, you can grab them quickly.
Suggested items to take:
- Your birth certificate
- Children’s birth certificates
- Social Security Cards
- School & vaccination records
- Checkbook, ATM card
- Credit Cards
- Driver’s license and registration
- Welfare identification
- Work permits
- Green Card
- Divorce Papers
- Medical records – for all family members
- Lease/rental agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book
- Bank books
- Insurance papers
- Address book
- Children’s favorite toys and/or blankets
- Items of special sentimental value
Note: As many of these items you can gather are better then none at all.
Important telephone numbers:
- Local police department
- WomenSafe/COPEline (1-888-285-5665)
- Legal Advocate
- County registry of protection orders
- Work number
- Supervisor’s home number