Every situation is different. Leaving may heighten the threat of violence, but experts agree that careful planning can be helpful in protecting abuse victims from future harm.
Make A Personal Safety Plan
- I will have important phone numbers available to my children and myself.
- I will have a code word that will alert my friends/family that I am in danger. The code word is __________________.
- I can tell ___________ and _____________about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my home.
- If I leave my home, I will go to one of the following places: _____________________, ________________, ____________________, or ______________.
- I can leave extra money, car keys, clothes, and copies of documents with ________________.
- I will keep change or a phone card with me at all times.
- If I leave, I will bring the following important phone numbers:
RAINN for referral to local hotline –toll-free 1-800-656-4673
- Police _____________________
- Hotline ___________________
- Friends ___________________
- Shelter ___________________
Items to Bring with You
- Driver's license
- Birth certificates
- Social security cards
- Passport/green card/welfare ID
- Auto registration
- Medical records
- Health insurance cards
- Children’s school records
- Bankbooks, investment information
- Credit and ATM cards
- Mortgage/Auto payment books
- Insurance policies –life, disability, car, homeowners
- Protection orders
- Marriage license
- Divorce papers
- Documentation of jointly-owned assets / property
- Child custody papers
- Documentation of past abuse – photos, medical records, police reports
- Car/house keys
- Clothes, pictures, jewelry, items of sentimental value
- Children’s favorite toys/books/blankets
Ways to increase your safety after leaving
- Move to a new location if possible
- Change the door locks; install window locks and steel protectors on screen doors and windows.
- Install a security system, or change codes/passwords on an existing one.
- Install smoke detectors and an outside lighting system.
- Keep your car and garage locked.
- If you have an electronic door opening for car or garage – have the signal changed. If the attacker has an extra remote key, he will have access unless this is disabled.
- Inform _____________and ________________ that the attacker no longer lives at your address and ask them to call the police if s/he is observed near your home or your children.
- Be explicit with child caregivers that permission to pick up your children is limited to (list names) __________________, _________________and ______________.
- Tell _____________at work about my situation and ask _____________to screen calls, and accept no unscheduled visitors.
- Ask to be escorted to your car in the evening or after hours.
- Don’t be predictable with your coming and going.
- Don’t park in the same space.
- Try car-pooling.
- Use different entrances and exits.
In the community
- Change your shopping patterns and places.
- Change banks, post-offices, grocery, clothing, book and department stores.
- Don’t shop where friends work – it’s any easy place to find you.
- Obtain a protective order. Keep it on or near you at all times. Leave a photocopy of the order with _______________.
- Plan for emotional support so that you’re not tempted to return to an abusive situation.
- Attend workshops and support groups to gain support and strengthen relationships with other people.