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Safety Planning: 

Living with a Person Causing harm


  1. Having important phone numbers nearby for you and your children. Numbers to have may include the police, hotlines, friends and the local domestic violence shelter.

  2. Friends or neighbors who would be safe to tell about the abuse. Ask them to call the police if they hear angry or violent noises. If you have children, teach them how to dial 911. It is sometimes helpful to make up a code word or signal that you can use when you need help.

  3. Avoid running to where the children are as they may be hurt as well.

  4. How to get out of your home safely. Practice ways to get out. If you have children, they should also practice getting out of the home safely.

  5. Avoiding places or rooms in your home where there are no exits (bathroom) and are weapons (kitchen). If you feel abuse is going to happen try to get to one of these safer places.

  6. In an emergency could you grab the phone and lock yourself in the bathroom? Is there a safe closet?

  7. Think about ways to get out of your house in an emergency.  Can you make it easier to open or break the windows if you need to climb out? For example, rub a bar of dry bath soap on the runners so they slide better. Think about it as a fire drill.

  8. Any weapons in the house? Think about ways that you could get them out of the house.

  9. Learn about protection orders.  Would they help?

  10. Even if you do not plan to leave, think of where you could go. Think of how you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house - taking out the trash, walking the pet or going to the store. Put together a bag of things you use every day (see the checklist below). Hide it where it is easy for you to get. Some women put the bag, or things contained in the bag, in the trunk of the car making it appear as normal and random.  You may want to leave the bag with a friend or family member.

  11. Keep change with you at all times.

  12. Hide a copy of your keys in case they are taken away from you.

  13. Start attending a support group.

  14. If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target.  Get into a corner and curl into a ball.  Protect your face with your arms around each side of your head, fingers intertwined.

  15. Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled.  Keep the driver’s door unlocked but the other’s locked.  This will be helpful if a quick escape is necessary.

  16. Try not to wear clothing such as scarves or jewelry that could be used to choke you.

  17. Going over your safety plan often.  If appropriate, make sure your children are aware of the parts of the plan affecting them.

  18. Call a domestic violence program periodically to discuss your options and get support.

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