This is my plan for increasing my safety and preparing in advance for the possibility of further abuse/violence. Although I do not have control over my partner’s violence, I can find ways to reduce risk of harm for myself and my children.
- If you feel your life is in immediate danger: Call the police, 911
- Call the National Hotline to talk with a counselor about making a safety plan: 800-799-SAFE
- Avoid going on long trips alone with your partner
- Tell your RA/PHE/roommates about the situation
- Arrange for double dates — if possible try not to be alone with your partner
- Keep your cell phone with you; keep money for transportation on your body
- If the abuser also lives in your residence hall, try to get transferred into another building, switch rooms, etc.
- Try to let friends, roommates and RAs/PHEs know where you are going and when you should be back — check in with them while you’re out
- If your abuser has a copy of your key, change your locks
- Avoid arguments in the kitchen as this is the most dangerous room in the house
- If you plan to break up with your partner, plan for safety, stay somewhere else, do it in a busy place and arrange for transportation
*Safety and Care: Are you sheltering in place with someone who is hurting you? Here are some ideas about how to increase your safety and take care of yourself while you are at home:
- Consider reaching out to a trusted friend, family member, or coworker who could check in with you about your safety and support needs. If you need help identifying support people in your life, take a look at the pod mapping worksheet from the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective.
- Staying Safe During COVID-19 from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
- Mantenerse segurx durante COVID-19 – La Línea Nacional Contra la Violencia Doméstica
- myPlan App – a tool to help with safety decisions if you, or someone you care about, is experiencing abuse in their relationship
- Self Care During Covid-19 Activity Book from the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
*Courtesy of Futures Without Violence
- (If comfortable and in danger) Police: 911 and (Non-Emergency)
- Domestic Violence Program/Safe Home: .
- District Attorney’s Office .
- Campus resources .
There are a number of things to do to increase safety during violent incidents.
I can do some or all of the following:
- If I decide to leave, I can get out of the house/ dorm by . (Practice how to get out safely. What doors or windows will you use?)
- I can go to .
- If I choose to relocate from my house/dorm, I can relocate to or stay at .
- During COVID-19, I may not be able to relocate to the homes of certain friends/family, I will relocate to instead.
- In order to be able to leave quickly, I can keep my purse and vehicle key ready by putting them: .
- I can tell , (neighbors) about the violence and, if I am comfortable involving law enforcement, ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from the house/dorm room.
- I can use as my code word with my family/friends when I am in danger, so they will call for help.
- When I expect an argument, I can try to move to , a space near an outside door that has no guns, knives or other weapons (usually bathrooms, garages and kitchen areas are dangerous places).
- If I feel comfortable involving law enforcement, I can call the police when it is safe, and I can get a protective order from the court.
If you are staying with the abuser, think about:
- What works best to keep you safe in an emergency.
- Who you can call in a crisis.
- Has COVID-19 impacted your options for fleeing? Update your list accordingly.
- How you can communicate with others in a private way that avoids possible retaliation from the abuser. If possible, develop a code that you can use with friends and family when discussing the abuse and/or seeking help.
- If the abuser is monitoring your communications, such as listening to your calls or reading your messages. It is highly likely that the abuser has access to all of your modes of communication, such as text, social media, and WhatsApp. If you are able to have a conversation you know is private with a person you trust, develop a code.
- For example, in future communications, “banana bread” could mean “please call the first person on my safety plan list to come pick me up.”
- How will you travel safely to and from work or school or to pick up children?
- If you are comfortable calling the police, would you call the police if you are in danger or need medical attention? Can you work out a signal with the children or the neighbors to call the police when you need help?
- If you do not feel comfortable calling the police, who will you call?
- If you need to flee temporarily, where would you go? Think though several places where you can go in a crisis. Memorize the addresses and phone numbers, if possible.
- If you need to flee your home, know the escape routes in advance.
Have the following available in case you have to flee:
- Important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, marriage and driver’s licenses, car title, lease or mortgage papers, passports, insurance information, school and health records, welfare and immigration documents, and divorce or other court documents
- Credit cards, bank account number, and ATM cards
- Some money
- An extra set of keys
- Medications and prescriptions
- Phone numbers and addresses for family, friends, doctors, lawyers, and community agencies
- Clothing and comfort items for you and the children
- Address book
- Credit cards
- Social Security Cards
- Keys (house/car/work)
- Welfare identification
- Driver’s license/vehicle registration
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Checkbook, ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) card, and other bank books
- Work permit
- School and vaccination records
- Divorce papers
- Copy of protective order
- Pets. Call your local animal shelter to ask about temporary animal housing.
- Photo Album
Leaving must be done with a careful plan to increase safety. Perpetrators often strike back when they believe their partner is leaving the relationship.
I can do some or all of the following:
- So I can leave quickly, I can leave money, an extra set of keys, extra clothing and important documents with .
- I can open a savings account to increase my independence by .
- I can check with and to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.
- I can use as my code word with my family/friends, which I have planned in advance, due to the fact that my abuser is most likely monitoring my communications.
- The National Domestic Violence hotline number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). By calling this free hotline, I can get the number of a shelter near me. If there is a Sexual Assault/Relationship Abuse Office on campus, I can call them to assist with safe housing relocation.
- During COVID-19, I have reassessed my options and know that I can relocate to .
- I can rehearse my escape plan.
- I can plan to break up in a public place and will stay with after.
There are many things that a survivor can do to increase safety in the home. It may be impossible to do everything at once, but safety measures can be added step by step.
- I can inform that my partner no longer resides with me/is dating me and they should call the police if seen at my residence.
- I can ask to have the locks on my doors and windows changed as soon as possible.
- I can tell my roommate(s) about the situation and .
If I feel comfortable involving law enforcement, I can seek a protective order. Protective orders are available from the court. An advocate is available at the nearest domestic violence/sexual assault program to help you get one. Many perpetrators obey protective orders, but some do not. I understand that I may need to ask the police and the courts to enforce my protective order.
I can do some or all of the following to increase my safety:
- I can keep a copy of my protective order with me at all times.
- I can check with my local police department to make sure my protective order is on record with them. If not, I will give a copy of my protective order to them. I will also give a copy of my protective order to police departments in the community where I work and in those communities where I usually visit family or friends.
- I can tell my employer, my domestic violence program advocate, my closest friend, and that I have a protective order in effect.
- If my partner destroys my protective order, I can get another copy from the court house by calling .
- If my partner violates the protective order, I can call the police and report a violation, call my attorney, call an advocate at a domestic violence program and/or advise the court of the violation.
Survivors must decide for themselves if and when to tell others about the violence. Friends, family and co-workers can help to protect me, and I need to consider carefully who to ask for help.
I can do any or all of the following:
- I can tell my boss, the security supervisor and at work of my situation.
- I can ask to help screen my telephone calls at work.
- When I leave work, I can walk with to my car or bike. I can park my car where I will feel safest getting in and out of the car.
- When traveling home if problems occur, I can .
- I can use different grocery stores, shopping malls and banks to shop and do business at hours that are different from those I used when residing with my abusive partner.
- I can also .
Here are some steps I can take to protect myself on campus:
- I can tell my Resident Assistant, Peer Health Educator, or another residential staff person about my situation.
- I can ride/walk with to and from class. I can ride/walk with to and from activities.
- If my partner has any classes with me, I can talk to (my professor or TA) and tell them about my situation.
- I can talk to my Resident Fellow, Resident Dean or Academic Advisor about changing classes or sections, or arranging extensions, incompletes or withdrawals. The name and contact information of someone I can talk to is .
Partners sometimes use technology as a means of controlling or monitoring their partner.
Here are some steps I can take to protect myself:
- I will set up a new, private e-mail address. This e-mail address will not contain my name or birth date, or other words that would identify me.
- I will regularly delete received and sent e-mails, and clean out the Deleted Items folder or purge my deleted e-mails in my e-mail account.
- I will try to use a private computer or one that my partner does not have access to, like one at a public library, community center, or Internet café. A nearby public computer is located at .
- If I use a computer my partner does have access to, I will look up how to clear the history of websites I have visited on www.stoprelationshipabuse.org. I will also empty the Recycle or Trash bin on the computer to erase documents. I will use the escape button on a relationship abuse resource page.
- I will change the privacy settings on my Facebook account to restrict access to my page.
- I will not store my passwords if my web browser is capable of doing so. I will change my passwords often and use different passwords for different sites. I will use passwords with both letters and numbers so they are harder to guess.
- I can contact the courthouse where I am involved in litigation to request that my online court records be kept confidential. My courthouse’s telephone number is . I will do a Google search of my full name in parentheses and take steps to change any pages that offer private information about me.
- I can set up a new telephone number by calling my telephone company at . I can also call a local hotline to learn about donation programs that provide new cell phones or pre-paid calling cards for victims of abuse or stalking. If there is a baby monitor in the house, I will turn it off when making calls that I do not want overheard.
- I will make sure that my telephone and address are unlisted by calling my telephone company.
- I can set up a private P.O. Box where I can receive mail and request that my mail be sent to this new address. I will have my phone bill be sent to this new address. I will try to keep my residential address out of the national database.
- If I think my partner has set up a Global Positioning System in my car or purse, and if I feel comfortable involving law enforcement, I will contact the police to see what I can do.
The experience of being abused and verbally degraded by partners is exhausting and emotionally draining. The process of building a new life for myself takes a lot of courage and incredible energy.
To conserve my emotional energy and to avoid hard emotional times, I can do some of the following:
- If I feel despair, I can call before making a decision.
- I can use, “I can” statements with myself.
- I can remind myself daily of my best qualities. They are .
- I can read to help me feel stronger or better.
- I can call , and as other resources to be of support to me.
- I can attend workshops and support groups at the relationship abuse program or to gain support and strengthen my relationships with other people.
- Other things I can do to help me feel stronger are: .
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