What is a Safety Plan

You hear everyone talking about a Safety Plan. What is a safety plan and who needs one? What goes in a safety plan?
Why put it in writing? Who needs to know about your safety plan?

A safety plan is a way of formalizing a plan of reaction in the case of an emergency. If there has been
violence in your home at some point, or if you have concerns about abusive or controlling behaviors, if you have left
an abusive or violent relationship, or if there have been threats made- you need a safety plan. A protection order tells the other person they must leave you alone. The safety plan can help you if the order
isn’t obeyed.

Why put it in writing? I don’t know about you but if I am scared, angry, frustrated, in pain or nervous I forget things. Having
important numbers and addresses written down makes it easier and you won’t have to look the information up at that time. Included in the plan are tips for staying safe in an explosive incident, tips for if you leave, tips for what to take with you if you leave and other useful information. Writing it down and reviewing it
frequently also reminds you of those things you need to do to keep yourself safe.

What goes in a safety plan? A safety plan should be individualized for you, your family, your situation and your area. I recommend that even if you aren’t planning to leave the situation at this time that you do make contact
with your local domestic violence agency and have them assist you in drawing up the safety plan. They can help you assess the degree of danger and what is needed in your situation. The plan should contain things like contact names and numbers
for trusted family and friends that you can call in an emergency, the number for the local domestic violence agency, the phone number for the child’s school, doctors, an attorney or any counselors if you have one. You also need to choose a code word that is known
to trusted family members, friends and/or neighbors that if you use the word they know to call police. Safety plans themselves will vary, according to your area, the number and ages of any children, the availability of trusted friends and relatives, even by the description of your home.

You have left the situation, why would you need a plan? Living in or leaving a relationship is the most dangerous time. But there are other times when violence may be a concern. If your location is a secret and you are found, if there is a difference of opinion on child custody or child support.The beginning of a new relationship for you.
Even the ending of their new relationship can stir up violence. You being prepared is your first defense.
There are many examples of safety plans that can be found on the internet. I will include a few at the bottom of this post. But it is always a good idea to get the professionals involved to assist you, explain and help you determine what is best to include.

Who should know about your safety plan? Obviously trusted persons should know about your safety word. Family/trusted friends children should know you are drawing up the plan. But the plan itself should be hidden away because if the perpetrator gets access to it, it could endanger your life as well as others. Hopefully you will never need the plan. But keeping yourself and your children safe should be your first priority. So it is best to have it ready just in case you do need it.

Domestic Violence Safety Plan Guidelines               Separation Safety Plan                   Domestic Violence Safety Plan

                                                    Personalized Safety Plan                                  Safety Plan
Being a friend or family member of someone when you have concerns they may be abused can leave you feeling helpless. You cannot make them leave the relationship. But maybe, just maybe in order to make you feel better- maybe you can convince them to read about and complete a safety plan.