DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE 1-888-611-SAFE or 740-283-3444
Donate Now

Safety Plan

General Safety Plan:

  • Identify a variety of ways to get out of the home safely and practice using your escape route.
  • Pack a bag with medications, important documents, money, keys, etc. and hide it. Consider changing the hiding spot if your abuser searches the home.
  • Arrange a signal with neighbors to let them know when you need help (turning on a porch light during the day, pulling down a particular window shade).
  • Devise a code word to use with your children, grandchildren, friends or others to indicate that you need the police.
  • Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave (even if you don’t think you will need to).

Safety in Explosive Incidents:

  • Try to go to a room or area with access to an exit. Avoid rooms with no outside doors or those containing potential weapons (kitchen, bathrooms, bedroom, and garage).
  • Inform law enforcement if weapons are in the home.
  • Visualize your escape route and be prepared to use it if a safe opportunity arises.
  • Use your code word or special signal to tell your children or neighbors to call 911.
  • Use your instinct and judgement to safely access what to do next.

Safety in Public:

  • (Safety in school, work or social, recreational, and volunteer activities)
  • Decide who to inform of your situation (school, office, or building security), and provide a picture of your abuser. Consider having your phone calls screened.
  • Devise a safety plan for hen you are out in public. Have someone escort you to your car, bus or taxi. Use a variety of routes to go home and consider what you would do if something happened on your way home.

Safety When Leaving:

  • Open a savings account in your own name at a different bank. Consider direct deposit of your paycheck or benefit check. Begin to increase your independence.
  • Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone your trust.
  • Have your abusers social security number and license plate number with you to provide to police.
  • Bring medications, prescriptions, hearing aids, glasses, etc.
  • Determine who will let you stay with them and lend you money.
  • Keep the domestic violence program number with you and have some change at all times for emergency phone calls.
  • If you are 60 years or older, contact Adult Protective Services to learn about eligibility for public and private benefits and services.
  • Review your safety plan regularly to plan the safest way to leave.
    Safety in Your Own Home (If your abuser does not live with you):
  • Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows. Consider increasing your outside lighting.
  • If you have children or other dependents living with you, discuss a safety plan for when you are not with them. Inform their school, day care, etc. about who has permission to pick them up.

Safety in Protection Orders:

  • Keep your protection order with you at all times. If it is lost or destroyed, you can get another copy from the Clerk of Courts.
  • Call the police if the abuser violate the protection order.
  • Give copies to anyone with whom your children may stay (school, day care, etc.).

Safety and Emotional Health:

  • If you are considering returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
  • If you have to communicate with your abuser, do so in the safest way – by phone, mail, in the company of another person, etc.
  • Decide who you can talk to freely and who can provide the support you need. Consider calling a domestic violence hotline or attending a support group.

What to Take if You Leave:

  • Driver’s license or other form of ID.
  • Your birth certificate and those of your family members.
  • Money, bank cards, checkbooks, credit cards, ATM cards, mortgage payment book.
  • Social security card, work permit, green card, passport, insurance papers, and medical records.
  • Your abuser’s social security number and license plate number.
  • Divorce and custody papers.
  • Copies of your protection order.
  • Lease, rental agreement or house deed.
  • Medications, glasses, hearing aids, etc. for you and your children or other dependents.
  • Personal items like address book, pictures, etc.