Safety Plan

Why have a safety plan?

Having a personal safety plan is critical for anyone facing violence. Whether you are living with an abusive person, have already left your abuser, or plan to return to your abuser, it is vital that you have the information necessary to keep you safe. The following plan is designed to prepare you to protect yourself from further abuse. Although you cannot control your abuser’s violence, you do have a choice about how you respond and what steps you can take to stay safe.

Staying Safe in Any Situation

During an Explosive Incident

Plan ahead and decide on a safe place to go if you need to leave home unexpectedly. Keep a packed bag at a relative’s or friend’s place with essential items including medications, important documents, and shoes.

Establish a code word with trusted individuals to alert them when you need the police.

Trust your instincts and prioritize your safety in dangerous situations. Consider deescalating the situation if it helps ensure immediate safety.

Practice a safe exit plan, knowing which doors, windows, or stairwells provide the best escape routes.

Consider sharing your situation with a trusted neighbor who can call the police if they hear disturbances. Only share if you feel safe doing so, and If you don’t think this will increase your danger. 

Position yourself in an area with easy access to an exit if you anticipate conflict.

i.e If an argument has started, move to a room with two exits, such as a living room. Avoid the kitchen or a bathroom with no alternate exit.

Call for help if needed. Dial “0” or “911” in emergencies.

Remember, you deserve safety and do not have to tolerate violence or fear.

When Preparing to Leave

Take steps to enhance your independence. Consider opening a savings account or credit card in your own name.

Prepare for a quick departure by leaving essentials with a trusted person. These may include money, keys, documents, medications, and clothes. 

Find a support network who can offer shelter or financial assistance when needed.

Keep shelter or emergency contacts easily accessible. Carry change or a calling card for emergency phone calls.

Review and update your safety plan regularly to ensure the safest way to leave. Remember, leaving can be a highly dangerous time.

At Home

Change the locks on your doors promptly and consider adding extra locks and safety devices to your windows for enhanced security.

Have an open discussion with your children about a safety plan for times when you are not with them. Ensure they know what to do and whom to contact in case of an emergency.

Inform your children’s school, daycare, and other relevant places about who has your permission to pick up the children. This helps maintain their safety and prevents unauthorized access.

Inform your neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer resides with you. Request their support and ask them to contact the police if they see your partner near your residence.

With a Protection Order

Keep your protection order on you at all times. Give a copy to a family member or trusted person. Keep a copy in the glove compartment of your car.

Call the police if your abuser violates the protection order.

Explore other ways to stay safe until law enforcement arrives. Think of strategies that can provide an added layer of protection in such situations.

Let family, friends, neighbors, and a physician know that you have a protection order. Sharing this information creates a support network around you.

In Public or At Work

If you feel comfortable, share your situation with co-workers, your boss, and/or office/building security. If possible, provide them with a picture of your abuser to help them recognize and support your safety.

Arrange for an answering machine, caller ID, or ask a coworker to screen your telephone calls, if possible. These measures can help filter incoming calls and provide a sense of security.

Develop a safety plan for when you leave work. Arrange for someone to accompany you to your car or bus and wait until you are safely on your way. Consider using different routes to go home, if available, and think ahead about what you would do if something were to happen.

If possible, visit different grocery stores, businesses, and banks to avoid predictability. If that’s not feasible, change the day and time you go shopping. These small adjustments can help increase your safety by making your routine less predictable.

Safety Checklist

Essential items to bring with you when you leave.


  • Driver’s License
  • Your Birth Certificate
  • Children’s Birth Certificates
  • Social Security Cards
  • Work Permits/VISA
  • Passport


  • Money and/or credit cards
  • Bank books
  • Checkbooks
  • Public Assistance documentation
  • Tax return from previous year
  • Personal Pay Stubs
  • Loan information


  • Your Protection Order
  • Lease, rental agreement or house deed
  • Car registration and insurance papers
  • Health and life insurance papers
  • Medical records for you and children
  • Vaccination records
  • Divorce papers
  • Custody papers

Personal Items

  • House and car keys
  • Medications
  • Address Book
  • Phone cards
  • Pictures of you, your children and your abuser
  • Change of clothes for you and your children
  • Shoes
  • Children’s Shoes
  • Children’s toys
  • Jewelry

Phone Numbers

Numbers will vary depending on your location

  • The closest domestic violence/sexual assault program
  • Police
  • Sheriff
  • Victim -Witness Unit
  • Prosecuting Attorney
  • Clerk or District Court
  • Probation Department
  • Private Attorney
  • Other

Victim & Survivor FAQ

Explore answers to commonly asked questions about domestic violence, empowering survivors and providing valuable information. Click “View FAQ” to access our comprehensive list of frequently asked questions.