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All About Safety Planning

Your safety is our first priority. 

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You are not Alone.

You are never to blame for the abusive actions of others. While responsibility for ending abusive behavior is your partner's and theirs alone. There are several steps you can take to protect yourself on your path to long-term safety. 

Remember that you always have options: our advocates are always available to discuss your situation and help create a personalized safety plan that's right for you. 

General Safety Planning

You can build your support system and find ways to be safer. This applies to whether staying with an abusive partner or leaving. You can't control your partner's abusive behavior. However, you can take steps to protect yourself (and your children if you have any) from harm. You know your situation best. You know when remaining in the home and/or in the situation is no longer an option. Safety plans are important whether you are staying in or leaving a relationship. 

Planning to Leave

Leaving takes planning. Think about the following questions. With time and the support of friends or a domestic violence advocate, you can make a safe plan for leaving. 

  • How can you get money? 

  • Will you be safe at home until you leave? 

  • When can you leave? 

  • How will your partner react? 

  • What might prevent you from leaving safely? 

  • Will you take legal action? 

Let's Make a Safety Plan

A safety plan is a set of actions that can help lower your risk of being hurt by your partner. It includes information specific to you and your life that will increase your safety at school, home, and other places that you go on a daily basis. It helps to reduce your risk of being hurt. Safety Planning can help you safely escape violence, protect your children, and get assistance or support if needed. The changes that occur may be big, like going to a shelter or changing schools. The changes may be small ones, like having to change your email passwords or the route you take to work. 

Take some time to go through each section of your safety plan. For this safety plan to work for you, the information you fill in must be honest and accurate. 

Once you complete your safety plan, be sure to keep it in an accessible but secure location. You should also consider giving a copy of your safety plan to someone you trust. 

If you don't feel safe keeping the printed safety plan or emergency contact card with you, then you can still use the safety tips. Try to memorize at least one phone number of someone you can call at any time. 

You know your situation better than anyone else; trust your judgment and weigh your options before taking any steps. 

Before and During an Attack 

  • When an attack starts, try to escape. If you feel you are in danger, leave your home and take your children, no matter what time it is. Go to the house of a friend or relative or a domestic violence shelter. 

  • Defend and protect yourself. Later, make sure to take photos of your injuries. 

  • Call for help. Scream loudly and for as long as you can. You have nothing to be ashamed of - the abusive person does. 

  • Stay close to a door or window so you can get out if you need to. 

  • Stay away from the bathroom, kitchen, and any place where weapons could be. 

  • Practice your escape. Know which doors, windows, elevators, or stairs would be best. 

  • Have a packed back ready. Hide it in a place that you can get too quickly. 

  • Identify neighbors you can tell about that violence. Ask them to call the police if they hear signs of domestic violence coming from your home. 

  • Have a "code word" to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors. Ask them to call the police when you say that word. 

  • Know where to go if you have to leave home, even if you do not think you will have to. 

  • Trust your instincts. Do whatever you have to do to survive. 

Supporting a Friend or
Loved One 

It can be hard to know how to support a friend or loved one who is experiencing domestic abuse. Your first instinct may be to protect them, but intervening directly can be dangerous for you and them. There are many different ways you can help. 

Supporting a Survivor

You can provide help and support for a friend or loved one who is experiencing abuse. 

Express your concern. Accept that your friend is in a very difficult, scary situation. Let your friends know that the abuse is not their fault, you believe them, and you are concerned about their safety. Encourage your friends to express their feelings and get help. 

What can I do to help?

Create a safe space. Make sure you speak in private. Make it clear that you won't judge. Only then might they feel safe enough to open up. 

Tell them you're worried. Try "You haven't seemed yourself lately. Is there anything you want to talk about? Is everything OK at home?" 

Tell them it's not their fault. Your friend might blame themself. Tell them they are not to blame. The abuser alone is responsible. 

Don't judge them. Don't ask why they haven't left or judge their choices. Instead, build their confidence and focus on their strengths. 

Remind them they are not alone. They may have been deliberately isolated. Say you are there for them, and that there are solutions and that support is available. 

Encourage them to contact us. Ensure they can contact us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Help them find out about their rights and options. 

Give them time. It might take a long time before they confide in you. Be patient. Recognising they problem in the first step. 

What might someone experiencing domestic abuse be feeling? 

  • They may be overwhelmed by fear 

  • They may believe they are to blame and that if they somehow change then the abuse will stop 

  • They may experience many conflicting emotions. They may still love their partner, but hate the abuse. They may live in the hope that the abusers good side will reappear. 

  • They may be dependent on their partner, emotionally and financially. 

  • They may feel shame, guilt, and embarrassment. 

  • They may feel resigned and hopeless and find it hard to make decisions about her future. 

  • They may worry about leaving for the sake of their children. 

Have a Question?

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