Personalized Safety Plan
It is important to consider risk factors when doing a safety plan and to listen to the victim. What you think is a risk factor is not necessarily what the victim sees. Remember they are the experts on their lives. This must be respected when doing safety plans. It is okay to suggest they consider all the risk factors in their life, but the ultimate decision is the victim’s.
This is a shortened version of Crossroads Standard Safety Plan. It is often used if you are working with someone who doesn’t require immediate shelter or shelter at all but does need to be aware of her/his safety.
Safety during a violent incident
- Think of escape routes in your home; consider doors, windows, fire escapes, etc. Review with your children.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage where items may be used as weapons. Avoid being trapped in a bathroom or closet with no exit.
- Keep a phone with you at all times. Teach your children how to call for help.
- Keep keys and purse within easy access.
- Decide beforehand where you will go if you must leave your home. Does your partner know where you will go? Will there be other people there? Don’t trap yourself.
- Have an overnight bag packed for you and your children. Leave it in a safe place; in the trunk of your car or at a friend’s house that you can pick it up. Be sure to have important documents and medications with you.
- Establish a code word with family or friends. Establish a code word to use with your children.
Keeping children safe
- Give children instructions on what to do/where to go during a violent incident.
- Tell your children not to intervene during a fight.
- If you have court orders that protect the children, be sure to give copies to the school, daycare, etc. with instructions on what to do if your partners appears at one of these places and tries to take them.
- Instruct school, day care, etc. that they are not to release your address or phone number to anyone.
Preparing to leave
- Gather important documents and leave them in a safe place (like work or a friend’s house).
- Keep extra money in a safe place; open your own checking/savings account.
Staying safe in your own home
- Change the locks; use dowels in windows and sliding glass doors.
- Install motion-sensor lighting or electronic security systems.
- Alert your neighbors that your partner no longer lives there; ask them to call the police if they see your partner.
Staying safe in public
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Look in your car before getting in; lock your door as soon as you are in; don’t sit and do things before driving away.
- Inform your boss or coworkers that your partner should not be calling you or coming in. If they see your partner, call the police.
- Be aware of your habits: change where you shop, work out, etc. Drive a different way to get home or school.
- If you are a reliable and punctual person, let work, family and friends know that should you not show up at a certain time that they should try to contact you or the police.
Staying safe with a protection order
- Keep a copy of the protection order with you at all times; make copies and keep one at work, one in the car, give one to the babysitter, etc.
- A protection order can be violated so it is important to keep yourself safe at all times and do not rely solely on the protection order.
- Keep a log of any phone calls, texts, emails or in-person contact.
Staying safe with technology
- Change your phone number, email address, social media, etc.
- Use caller ID.
- Print out copies of emails, texts, social media should your partner be violating a protection order or if you need information when applying for a protection order. Should your partner behave in a way that is harassment to you, keep a log of date, time, what happened, what was said and/or where you saw your partner.
Staying safe emotionally
- When you do have to communicate with partner, establish rules of communicating.
- Use your support system.
- Read materials that help you feel stronger (Why Does He Do That? By Lundy Bancroft).
- Encourage your support system to do things to help support you (Helping Her Get Free by Susan Brewster).
- Do activities that make you feel stronger; take a self-defense class; join a gym; write in your journal.
- Attend a domestic violence support group.