When making a safety plan there are a few thing that need to keep in mind. Make plans on ways to remain safe in whatever decision is made, whether it be staying in the relationship, leaving or after you leave. Planning step by step is important as it can help you be prepared for what you need to, including every step is important as even the simplest task can be difficult to decide in a time of crisis.
If a decision is made to stay with the partner then here is a few important points to remember in order to remain safe in any scenario:
- Understand your partner's reactions to be able to realize when you may be in physical danger.
- Identify areas in the house where there are ways to escape or remain safe from your partner.
- If the physical abuse is unavoidable then protect your body.
- Know the quickest way to call for help. Try and keep a cell phone at you at all times.
- Talk to trusted friends about this situation so they are aware on how they can help in a time of crisis.
- Create a plan for if your partner finds out you are trying to leave.
- Keep anything harmful, such as weapons in inaccessible or in difficult spots to get to.
- Being prepared to leave such as having your car in a easy place to pull out of and keeping a full tank of gas is important.
If it seems that the best decision for your safety is to leave then here are a few tips that are great to keep in mind:
- Locate where important documents are. SSN, Birth Certificate and other documents are important to take with you.
- Keep any evidence of physical or verbal abuse. Record all incidents - when they occurred, what happened and any other relevant information.
- Contact OWC, or any other local shelter in assistance in search for resources that may be available for you.
- Try to save money up so that you can financial support yourself enough when deciding to leave.
- Talk to close friends and family and/or our advocates to see how they can help and support you during this difficult time.
This isn't an easy task, leaving a relationship, especially an abusive one, is difficult as many factors such as fear of the abuser or "leaving behind your life" are thoughts that many go through your head when making this decision. Every person has the right to feel safe from physical and emotional harm, especially in your own home. So creating this safety plan and staying dedicated to it is extremely important.
When creating a safety plan you need to always include ways to keep you children safe. A child needs to know when violence is occurring in the home so they know when they need to take safety. To help protect theirs and your safety here are a few ideas:
- Teach children about violence and let them know how and when to call for help.
- Teach children on how to escape is the violence begin to escalate and where they can go for safety.
- Let them know that they shouldn't intervene for the safety of themselves even if they are doing it to protect you.
- Let them know that they can talk to you and help them find others that they can express themselves to if they need to.
In some scenarios when you do not live with your partner and do not have full custody of your children, you may have to give your partner the kids for a period of time.
- Avoid these exchanges from occurring at your homes.
- Meet in a safe, well lit, public place in an area with lots of cameras and traffic.
- Bring a trusted friend or family member to go to the exchange with you.
- Plan other pick up plans to avoid facing each other.
Around 65% of people that have experienced domestic violence have been unable to leave due to concerns of what will happen to their pets. Talk to friends family or veterinarians to help find a solution for temporary living for you and your pet. If able to try to not leave pets with abusive partners as they may harm them.
Organizations such as The Animal Welfare Institute, Ahimsa House and Littlegrass Ranch offer safety planning advice for victims with animals for both traditional and non traditional animals.
- Look for local organizations like, Red Rover, who help victims leave without having to leave their pets with abusive partners.
- Find information such as medical records or vaccine records to help prove ownership of the animal.
- Inform local animal shelters about the circumstances and see how they can help.
This time is typically very emotional for any victim. When creating a safety plan, your emotional reaction on how this situation is something to take into serious consideration in order to be successful. Remember than not everyone's emotional support system will be the same and should be personalized based on your needs. Here are a few tips to be prepared:
Seek out Supportive People - Find a close friend or family member that you can trust. Try and find someone that can help keep you relaxed and support you throughout this process.
Identify and Work towards Goals - Begin thinking on some reasonable goals that you can achieve. Talking with an advocate or someone close to you can help you establish some goals. Remember that if you are not comfortable with something you are not obligated to do it, start with smaller goals and work from there.
Create a Relaxed Space - Find an area, whether it be inside your house or a favorite spot in nature, in which you can use to relax. This spot can be important to help you calm down when things begin to become stressful.
Remind Yourself of Your Value - Always remember that you are important and that you are special. Do not let someone else's action define you and make sure you know that it is not your fault.
Be Kind - Self Care is something that needs to be practiced everyday. Remind yourself constantly that you are an amazing person, this can have a positive effect on peace and emotional health. Being kind to others can also help improve your mood and show you that there are many others in this world that are amazing humans just like yourself.
Leaving is always a very difficult time. Making sure that you stick to your safety plan is extremely significant. Preparing yourself for what may occur and for your emotions then having solutions to cope and stay relaxed are important in successfully moving forward.
- Remember to keep important information such as identification, Legal Papers, Emergency numbers, Medications, etc.
- Change your locks and phone number
- Alter your normal routine so the abuser cannot track you.
- Alert school authorities of the situation if you have kids.
- Consider using a PO Box so they cannot track you off of legal paper work such as police reports.
- Allow your neighbors to know of the situation so they may be help if they suspect you may be in danger.
- If possible install security systems.
Remember that all of these are just suggestions and idea that can help you create a safety plan to your experience. If you are unable to create a safety plan on your own then you can reach out and assistance may be provided.