Personalized Safety Plan

The following steps represent my plan for increasing my safety and preparing in advance for the possibility of further violence.  Although I do not have control over my partner’s violence, I do have a choice about how to respond to him/her and how to best get my children and myself to safety.

STEP 1:  SAFETY DURING A VIOLENT INCIDENT

A.  If we are going to have an argument, I can try to move to a space that is lowest risk, such as___________________________________ .  (Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchens, near weapons or in rooms without access to an outside door.)

B.  If it is not safe to stay, I can _____________________________________ .  (Practice how to get out safely.  What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells, or fire escapes would you use?

C.  I can keep my purse and car keys ready and put them ____________________________ so that I can leave quickly.

D.  I can tell _____________________________________ and ____________________________ about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my home.

E.  I can use                                                                   as my code word with my children or my friends so they can call for help.

F.  I can teach my children how to use the telephone to contact the police and fire department.

G.  If I have to leave my home, I can go ____________________________________________ or ___________________________________ or _____________________________________.  (Decide this even if you don't think there will be a next time.)

  • Use your judgment.  If the situation is very serious, give him/her what he/she wants to calm him/her down.  You have to protect yourself until you (and your children) are out of danger.

  • Always remember: YOU DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS!

STEP 2:  SAFETY WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE

Battered women frequently leave the residence they share with the battering partner.  Leaving must be done strategically in order to increase safety.  Batterers often strike back when they believe that a battered woman is leaving a relationship.

A.  I can leave money and an extra set of keys with                                                                   so that I can leave quickly.

B.  I can keep copies of important documents or keys and some extra clothes with ___________ _______________________________________________.

C.  I can open a savings account to increase my independence.  (Preferably opened in a separate bank than that you and your spouse use jointly.)

D.  Other things I can do to increase my independence include: ___________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________.

E.  The domestic violence program’s hotline number is                                                          .  I can keep change for phone calls with me at all times.  I understand that if I use my telephone credit card, the following month’s telephone bill will tell my batterer those numbers that I called after I left.  To keep my telephone communications confidential, I can either use coins or I might get a friend to permit me to use his/her telephone credit card for a limited time when I first leave.

F.  I can check with ______________________________and ____________________________and ___________________________________ to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.

G.  I can sit down and review my safety plan every _____________________________  so that I know the safest way to leave my home.

H.      I can rehearse my escape plan and, as appropriate, practice it with my children.

  • Remember: If you tell your partner that you'll leave him if he ever hits you again, think about whether you're giving him permission to hit you "just one more time."

STEP 3:  SAFETY IN MY OWN RESIDENCE

A.        If my partner no longer lives with me, I can take action to ensure my safety and my children’s safety in my home.  Safety measures I can use include:

1.       I can change the locks on my doors and windows as soon as possible.

2.       I can replace wooden doors with steel/metal doors.

3.       I can install security systems including additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, an electronic system, etc.

4.       I can purchase rope ladders to be used for escape from second floor windows.

5.       I can install smoke detectors and purchase fire extinguishers for each floor in my home.

6.       I can install an outside lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to my home.

B.  I can teach my children to ___________________________________________  when I am not available.

C.  I can inform ______________________________ and ________________________________ and ___________________________________ about who has permission to pick up my children.

D.  I can teach my children how to use the telephone to make a collect call to me and to _______________________________ in the event that my partner abducts them.

E.  I can inform __________________________________ and _____________________________ and __________________________________ that my partner no longer resides with me and they should call the police if he is observed near my home.

STEP 4:  SAFETY WITH A PROTECTIVE ORDER

A.  I can keep my protective order _________________________________ .  (Always keep it on or near your person.  If you change purses, that is the first thing that should go in.)

B.  If my partner breaks the protective order, I can _____________________________________. 

C.  If the police are not responsive, I can _____________________________________________.

D.  I can inform ________________________________ and ___________________________ that I have a protective order in effect.

E.  If my partner destroys my protective order, I can get another copy from the _______________________________________ Court.  

STEP 5:  SAFETY ON THE JOB AND IN PUBLIC

A.  I can inform _____________________________ and ____________________________ and  ___________________________________ at work of my situation.

B.  I can use voice mail, the receptionist, or a co-worker to help screen my telephone calls at work.

C.  When leaving work, I can _______________________________________________________.

D.  If problems occur when I am driving home, I can _____________________________________.

E.  If I use public transportation, I can ________________________________________________.

F.  I can also ____________________________________________________________________.

STEP 6:  SAFETY AND DRUG OR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

The use of any alcohol or other drugs can reduce a woman’s awareness and ability to act quickly to protect herself from her battering partner.  Furthermore, the batterer’s use of alcohol or other drugs may give him/her an excuse to use violence.  Therefore, in the context of alcohol or other drug consumption, a woman needs to make specific safety plans.

A.  If I am going to consume alcohol or other drugs, I can do so in a safe place with people who understand the risk of violence and are committed to my safety.

B.  I can also _______________________________ or __________________________________.

C.  If my partner is consuming, I can _________________________________________________.

D.  To protect my children, I might _________________________________________________ or ______________________________________________.

* The legal outcomes of using illegal drugs can be very hard on a battered woman, may hurt her relationship with her children and put her at a disadvantage in other legal actions with her battering partner.  Therefore, women should carefully consider the potential cost of the use of illegal drugs.

STEP 7:  SAFETY AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH

A.  If I feel down and ready to return to a potentially abusive situation, I can 

B.  When I have to communicate with my partner in person or by telephone, I can 

C.  I can try to use positive self-talk with myself and be assertive with others.  I can tell myself that I don't deserve to be beaten whenever I feel others are trying to control or abuse me.

D.  I can read _________________________________________  to help me feel stronger.

E.  I can call _______________________________ and ____________________________ and ______________________________ as additional resources to support me.

WHAT I NEED TO TAKE WHEN I LEAVE:

Identification for myselfAddress book
Driver's licensePictures
Children's birth certificatesMedical records - for all family members
My birth certificateSocial Security cards
MoneyWelfare identification
Lease/Rental Agreement/House deedSchool records
Mortgage payment bookWork permits
Bank booksGreen Card
Check booksPassport(s)
Credit CardsDivorce papers
Insurance papersJewelry
Keys - House/Car/OfficeChildren's favorite toys and/or blankets
Medications for me and my childrenItems of special sentimental value
Small saleable objects

I can keep the items concerning me in one location.  If I have to leave in a hurry, I can grab those items quickly.

IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS:

Police department:      911                                                                                                      

Attorney (name & number):                                                                                                     

Victims Witness Assistant:                                                                                                    

Courthouse/Clerk of Courts:                                                                                                    

Watertown Resource Center Crisis Hot Line:     605-886-4300                                                                        

Watertown Resource Center Toll Free Hot Line:     1-800-660-8014                                                                  

SD Domestic Violence Hot Line:    1-800-430-SAFE                                                                 

National Domestic Violence Hot Line:     1-800-799-SAFE                                                         

Other:                                                                                                                                   

Adapted from “Personalized Safety Plan,” Office of the City Attorney, City of San Diego, CA; April, 1990.