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 myself and my children to safety.

Step 1:  Safety during a violent incident. Victims cannot always avoid violent incidents.  In order to increase safety, battered victims may use a variety of strategies.

I can use some or all of the following strategies:

A.  If I decide to leave, I will_________________________.  (Practice how to get out safely.  What doors, windows, elevators, stairwell, or fire escapes would you use?)

B.  I can keep my money and car keys ready and put them (place)

______________________ in order to leave quickly.

C.  I can tell_____________________about the violence and request they call the

police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my house.

D.  I can teach my children how to use the telephone to contact the police and the

fire department.

I will use______________________as my code for my children or my friends so they can call for help.

If I have to leave my home, I will go_______________________.  (Decide this even if you don’t think there will be a next time.)

If I cannot go to the location above, then I can go

to________________________or ________________________.

G.  I can also teach some of these strategies to my children.

H.  When I expect we are going to have an argument, I will try to move to a space

that is lowest risk, such as__________________________.  (Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, and kitchen, near weapons or in rooms without access to an outside door.)

I.  I will use my judgment and intuition.  If the situation is very serious, I can give

my partner what he/she wants to calm him/her down.  I have to protect myself    until I/we are out of danger.

Step 2:  Safety when preparing to leave.  Battered victims frequently leave the residence they share with the battering partner.  Leaving must be done with a careful plan in order to increase safety.  Batterers often strike back when they believe that a battered victim is leaving the relationship.

I can use some or all the following safety strategies:

A.  I will leave money and an extra set of keys with__________________so that I can leave quickly.

B.  I will keep copies of important documents or keys at_____________________.

  1. I will open a savings account by_____________________, to increase my independence.

Other things I can do to increase my independence include: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

D.  The domestic violence program’s hot line number is 1-800-527-7233 and I

can seek shelter by calling this hot line.

E.  I will check with ___________________and______________to see who

would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.

F.  I can leave extra clothes with__________________________.

G.  I will review my safety plan every__________________in order to plan the

safest way to leave the residence.

  1. I will rehearse my escape plan and, as appropriate, practice it with my

children.

Step 3:  Safety in my own residence. There are many things that a victim can do to increase her/his safety in their own residence.  It may be impossible to do everything at once, but safety measures can be added step by step.

Safety measure I can include:

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

B.  I can replace wooden doors and steel/metal doors.

C.  I can install security systems including additional locks, window bars, and

poles to wedge against doors, etc.

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

E.  I can install smoke detectors and purchase fire extinguishers for each floor in

my house/apartment.

F.  I can install an outside lighting system that lights up when a person is coming

close to my house.

G.  I will teach my children how to use the telephone to call me and to

_______________________ (friend, minister, other) in the event that my

partner takes the children.

  1. I will tell people who take care of my children which people have permission

to pick up my children and that my partner is not permitted to do so.  The

people I will inform about pick-up permission include:

____________________________________  (school)

____________________________________  (day care staff)

____________________________________  (babysitter)

____________________________________  (Sunday school teacher)

_____________________________________ (teacher)

_____________________________________ (and)

_____________________________________ (others)

I.   I can inform___________________________  (neighbors)

_____________________________________  (pastor), and

_____________________________________  friend) that my partner no

longer resides with me and they should call the police if he is observed near

my residence.

Step 4:  Safety on the job and in public. Each battered victim must decide if and when he/she will tell others that their partner has battered them and that he/she may be at continued risk.  Friends, family and co-workers can help to protect victims.  Each victim should consider carefully which people to invite to help secure his/her safety.

I might do any or all of the following:

A.  I can inform my boss, the security supervisor and ________________at work of my situation.

B.  I can ask ______________________________ to screen my telephone calls at work.

C.  When leaving work, I can___________________________.

D.  When driving home if problems occur, I can_____________________.

E.  I will go to different grocery stores and shopping malls to conduct my business and shop at hours that are different than those when residing with my partner.

F.  I can use a different back and take care of my banking at hours different from those I used when residing with my partner.

G.  I can also_______________________________________________________________________.

Step 5:  Safety and my emotional health. The experience of being battered and verbally degraded by partners is usually exhausting and emotionally draining.  The process of building a new life for myself takes much courage and incredible energy.

To conserve my emotional energy and resources and to avoid hard emotional times, I can do some of the following:

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 “I can…” statements with myself and to be assertive with others.

D.  I can tell myself – “_______________________________________________”

whenever I feel others are trying to control or abuse me.

E.  I can read___________________________________________to help me feel stronger.

F.  I can call_______________________,_________________as other resources to be of support of me.

G.  Other things I can do to help me feel stronger are______________________________and

_________________________________.

  1. I can attend workshops and support groups at the domestic violence program or__________________to gain support and strengthen my relationship with other people.

Step 7:  Items to take when leaving: When victims leave partners, it is important to take certain items with them.  Beyond this, victims sometimes give an extra copy of papers and an extra set of clothing to a friend just in case they have to leave quickly.

These items might be placed in one location, so that if we have to leave in a hurry, I can grab them quickly.

When I leave, I should have:

  • Identification for myself
  • Children’s birth certificate
  • My birth certificate
  • Social security cards
  • School and vaccine records
  • Money
  • Checkbook, ATM card
  • Credit cards
  • Keys – house,car, office
  • Driver’s license and registration
  • Medication
  • Passports, divorce papers
  • Lease/rental agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book
  • Bank books, insurance papers
  • Pictures, jewelry
  • Children’s favorite toys and/or blankets
  • Items of special sentimental value

Telephone numbers I need to know:

  • Police department – 911
  • Domestic Abuse Hotline for shelter:  (SAFE, Inc.)  1-800-527-7233
  • Justice Court Number for protection orders __________________
  • Work number _________________________________________
  • Supervisor’s home number ______________________________
  • Minister _____________________________________________
  • Other _______________________________________________

I will keep this document in a safe place and out of the reach of my potential attacker.

If you need help in filling out this plan, you may call S.A.F.E., Inc., the district attorney’s victim advocate, or a close and trusted friend.

Support is just a phone call away!  1-800-527-7233.