What is a Safety Plan?
Every individual in an abusive relationship needs a
safety plan. Shelters and crisis counselors have been urging safety
plans for years, and police departments, victim services, hospitals, and
courts have adopted this strategy. Safety plans should be individualized
-- for example, taking account of age, marital status, whether children
are involved, geographic location, and resources available -- but still
contain common elements.
When creating a safety plan:
- Think about all possible escape
routes. Doors, first-floor
windows, basement exits, elevators, stairwells. Rehearse if
- Choose a place to go.
To the home of a friend or relative who will offer unconditional
support, or a motel or hotel, or a shelter - most importantly
somewhere you will feel safe.
- Pack a survival kit.
Money for cab fare, a change of clothes, extra house and car keys,
birth certificates, passports, medications and copies of
prescriptions, insurance information, checkbook, credit cards, legal
documents such as separation agreements and protection orders,
address books, and valuable jewelry, and papers that show jointly
owned assets. Conceal it in the home or leave it with a trusted
neighbor, friend, or relative. Important papers can also be left in
a bank deposit box.
- Try to start an individual savings
account. Have statements sent to
a trusted relative or friend.
- Avoid arguments with the abuser in
areas with potential weapons.
Kitchen, garage, or in small spaces without access to an outside
- Know the telephone number of the
domestic violence hotline.
Contact it for information on resources and legal rights.
- Review the safety plan monthly.
Adapted from: "Preventing Domestic Violence" by
Laura Crites in Prevention Communique, March 1992, Crime Prevention
Division, Department of the Attorney General, Hawaii.