Safety Planning

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Safety planning for someone involved in an abusive relationship is a necessary and important step. Planning can be used while you are still with your abuser or after the relationship has ended. While still in an abusive relationship, your safety is of primary importance.

These safety suggestions have been compiled from safety plans distributed by state domestic violence coalitions from around the country. Following these suggestions is not a guarantee of safety, but could help to improve your safety situation.

Developing A Saftey Plan

I. Non-Emergency Preparation and Planning:

  • Make an extra set of car keys and hide them in an easy place to reach
  • Prepare clothing needs – clothes for self and children. Store in a suitcase in home and hide in a secure location. Or, store them at a trusted friend’s home. Try to avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members, and mutual friends.
  • Prepare for financial needs (place in accessible location):
    1. Extra Cash
    2. Check and Savings Books
    3. Other Valuables (i.e. jewelry, coins, etc.)
  • Prepare for children’s needs (where children are involved):
    1. Take something meaningful for each child (blanket, pillow, etc.)
    2. Discuss what is happening if you must leave the home.
    3. Identify a safe place for children to go and plan with them.
  • Prepare for possible legal action. Keep all documents in a safe place:
    1. Financial documents
      • Pay stubs: yours (if you are working) and partner’s
      • Household bills (including mortgage payments, utilities, etc.)
      • Stocks, bonds, and any other joint financial holdings.
    2. Identification (driver’s license, birth certificates, social security card)
    3. Copies of restraining orders, evidence of past abuse
    4. 4.Copies of medical and doctor’s records, police reports, evidence of physical abuse such as photographs
    5. Names of any witness(es) to present or past incidents
    6. Keep handy a record of critical phone numbers

II. Emergency Safety Plan (when living with the abuser):

  • Plan an escape route from home before it is needed.
  • Make a habit of keeping car fueled.
  • Make a list of situations in which violence may occur or escalate.
  • Carefully explore the layout of your house and access to telephones.
  • Develop and rehearse a place for leaving the home if violence occurs.
  • If violence occurs away from home, develop a plan for escaping the abuser.
  • Notify trusted neighbors to be on alert to suspicious noises and to call the police.
  • Develop a code word with children when you want them to call for help.
  • Teach children how to use the phone to contact the police.
  • Know safe places you can go to leave a dangerous situation. (AVOID KITCHENS, BATHROOMS, GARAGE OR ANY OTHER ROOM CONTAINING POSSIBLE WEAPONS. REMOVE POSSIBLE WEAPONS, SUCH AS KNIVES, FROM EASY ACCESS)
  • Don’t run to where the children are, as your partner may hurt them as well.
  • Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you or
    otherwise hurt you.
  • Keep the number of Jersey Battered Women’s Service in a safe place.

III. When a Violent Incident Occurs:

  • Attempt to leave immediately.
  • If leaving is not possible, move ASAP to a room of low risk. TRY TO AVOID THOSE ROOMS OF HIGH RISK (SEE II., J.)
  • Call 911 for the police.
  • Have children scream to alert neighbors.
  • If able to leave by car, LOCK CAR DOORS IMMEDIATELY.

IV. Safety Plan with a Restraining Order:

  • Keep a copy of the restraining order on or near you at all times.
  • Give copies of restraining orders to local police departments, children’s schools, trusted family and friends.
  • Inform as many neighbors, relatives, friends, and your co-workers as soon as possible that the restraining order is in effect.
  • If the abuser violates the restraining order, CONTACT THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY.
  • CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY/ADVOCATE AND ADVISE THE COURT.
  • If your abuser is charged with a crime, STAY IN CONTACT WITH THE POLICE AND/OR VICTIM WITNESS COORDINATOR TO BE ADVISED IF ABUSER IS BEING RELEASED FROM JAIL!
  • G. When the final restraining order is in effect, CHANGE ALL LOCKS TO YOUR RESIDENCE!

If the batterer will be going to jail, you may arrange to be notified by an automated system (VINE) when they have been released. Give the officer a good contact number and a PIN that you will remember.

VINE (Victim Identification Notification Everyday)– Track people in custody 877-846-3465 or www.vinelink.com

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