A SAFETY PLAN is created by a domestic violence victim or survivor, often with the help of an advocate, that considers options for leaving an abusive partner or creates an action plan for a victim in the event of another incident.
Download SAFETY PLAN
See below for a list of safety tips you can utilize in various settings and circumstances:
HOME SAFETY TIPS -
- Have a safety bag ready with important items needed for a few days. Preferred items include, clothing (shirts, pants, underwear, bras/undershirts, pajamas, etc.), diapers/pull ups, blankets, a couple of toys for young children, immunization records for children, driver’s licenses or state identification cards for adults, Social Security cards and birth certificates for all family members, passports and/or work visa, cell phone and charger, medications.
- Teach your children to dial 911.
- Teach your children a code word that alerts him/her to get help and report to a safe zone (a place unknown to the abuser), such as the house of a nearby neighbor or family member.
- Do not run where the children are located because your partner may hurt them as well.
- Identify a neighbor you can talk to about the violence. Ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance from your home.
- Avoid areas in the home that can be dangerous, especially if they limit access out of the house and have potential weapons. Areas include: kitchen (knives, sharp objects, hard surfaces, glass), bathroom (razors, pills, hard surfaces, water, no alternate exit), bedroom (only one way in and one way out, hard surfaces, sharp corners).
- Change home locks, alarm codes, garage door openers and add peepholes in the doors.
- Have an escape route prepared in order to arrive at a safe place. A safe place is defined as a location, which your abuser does not know the location or the person/people with whom you are staying. Such as, a domestic violence shelter, a relative or friends that the abuser does not know.
- Keep weapons like guns and knives locked up or hidden from the abuser.
- Do not open the door to strangers.
- Add a home alarm system.
- If violence cannot be avoided, make yourself into a small target, by diving into a corner and curling up into a ball. Protect your face and wrap your arms around each side of your head, with your hands and fingers locked together. This is known as a duck and cover position.
WORK SAFETY -
- If you have an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment, give a copy to your employer.
- Change your work hours, work phone number, or work location.
- Notify a third party of your work schedule.
- Report to work security.
- Notify your personnel office and/or security staff.
- Tell trusted people at work about the situation and have your calls screened by the receptionist.
- Obtain an escort to and from your work entrance.
COMPUTER SAFETY -
- Delete and block friends, known to both you and the abuser, from online social websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace.
- Avoid registering with online dating sites.
- Notify friends and family about the abuser.
- Tell them not to accept friend requests or respond to messages or questions from the abuser.
- Do not accept ‘friend requests’ from people you do not know on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or any other website.
- Delete e-mail accounts you may have and set up new accounts.
- Change passwords to your e-mail accounts and online social accounts.
- Do not post your whereabouts or plans online.
- Consider deleting old social networks accounts.
- Limit information you post online.
- Be careful not to include your home address,work address, your date-of-birth, etc.
- Create an e-mail account, the abuser is not aware of, to relay important. information to family, friends, and social service agencies.
PROTECTIVE ORDER -
- Call 911 or Crime Stop non-emergency at (602) 262-6151 to report violations.
- Document details of violations (where, when, report number, witnesses, time, names of officers/detectives, specifics of violation).
- Supply copies of the protective order to school, work daycare, landlord, neighbors. MOST IMPORTANTLY, keep a copy of the protective order and Affidavit of Service with you at all times.
- Update the court with your new phone number and address.
- Include a photo of the perpetrator with each copy of the protective order.
If the order has not been served, keep a copy of the protective order and the Affidavit of Service with you at all times, ready for service.
PHONE SAFETY -
- If possible, have a phone accessible at all times.
- Program 911 on speed dial.
- Contact the service carrier and ask them to disable the GPS tracking devise on the phone.
- Power off or discontinue usage of your phone, if traceable.
- Avoid using any phone that is in the abuser's name, as anyone on the account can request a call history report.
- Change your phone number.
- Add the 'block call' feature to your phone to prevent your phone number from being displayed on the phone of the person you are contacting.
- Screen calls by sending unknown calls to voicemail.
- Change your voicemail passcode.
- Program your cell phone to lock access when not in use.
- Do not disclose private information to people you meet on a phone or chat-line.
- Record and save any messages left by the perpetrator.
- Back your phone numbers to a memory card or your online provider.
Make a hardcopy list of your important contact numbers.
SAFE EXIT PLAN-
- Forward your mail to an address unknown to the abuser. Such as, friends, family or a PO Box.
- Make a habit of backing the car into the garage and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver's door unlocked and the other doors locked for a quick escape.
- Reschedule all appointments that are known to the abuser.
- Create a bank account or save money in a remote site, unknown to the abuser.
- Order duplicate ID's and important documents and have them mailed to an alternate address or transfer those onto an electronic storage device, such as a thumb drive.
- Leave when it is least expected. For example, during times of agreement and calm.
- Create several reasons for leaving the house, at different times of the day or night.
- Plan for what you will do if your partner discovers your exit plan.
- If the abuser monitors your belongings, be sure to always have them placed back where they were.
- Create a false trail. Call motels, real estate agencies and schools that are at least six hours away from where you plan to relocate. Ask questions, that require a call back to your house, in order to have those phone numbers on record for the abuser to hear.
- Memorize important phone numbers or toll-free numbers, such as the shelter hotline, a domestic violence hotline and a trusted friend or family member.
- Have 'safety bag' with important items in a location unknown to the abuser. Store items, such as the following: cash, clothes, duplicate identification, birth certificates, Social Security cards, medical cards, extra set of keys, bus passes, phone/charger, contact phone numbers, change for calls/laundry, court documents, mortgage/lease documents, medication, necessary baby items, sentimental valuables, journal of abuse.
Make plans for pets. Never let a pet keep you from exiting an abusive relationship.
- Keep your new location confidential.
- Avoid contact with mutual friends.
- Report daily whereabouts and check in with friends and family that are not mutual acquaintances.
- Avoid area the perpetrator frequently visits.
- Try not to wear scarves or long-jewelry that could be used to strangle you.
- If you were injured, go to the doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your injuries.
- Be careful to whom you give your new address and phone number.
- Avoid isolation and do not be afraid to tell someone about the violence.
Shop at different stores and visit different social locations.