Safety Plan

Step 1: Safety During a Violent Incident

If an argument seems unavoidable, move to a room or area with easy access to an exit--not a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons. Identify which door, window, stairwell or elevator offers the quickest way out of the home, and practice your route. Have a bag packed and ready. Keep it in an undisclosed but accessible place where you can retrieve it quickly. Find neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance. Devise a code word to use with your children, family, and friends when you need the police. Decide where you will go if you have to leave, even if you do not think it will come to that. Use your instincts and judgement. Consider giving the abuser what he wants to defuse a dangerous situation. You have a right to protect yourself when you are in danger. You do not deserve to be battered or threatened.

Step 2: Safety When Preparing to Leave an Abusive Relationship

Step 3: Safety at Your Home Apart from the Abuser

Develop a safety plan and discuss it with your children. Review the plan as often as possible. Change the locks and install devices to secure your windows. Make sure your children's school, daycare center, or camp knows who is authorized to pick up your children. Tell your neighbors and landlord that your abuser no longer lives there and ask them to call the police if they see him or her near your home. Before you resume a potentially abusive relationship, discuss alternatives with someone you trust.

Step 4: Order of Protection, Restraining Order, or "50-B"

I understand that a restraining order will not necessarily keep me safe. It may help me, especially if my abuser has a reputation to protect, or he respects or fears the police or has a fear of going to jail.

However, I understand that it may not help, and it can even make my abuser more angry and dangerous, especially if he has a criminal history, is unemployed, is already stalking me, and is not afraid of the police.

If I do have a restraining order, and my abuser violates it, the police can arrest him. If I do NOT have a restraining order, they may not arrest him until he physically harms me. If I apply for a restraining order, I can ask for temporary custody at the same time, to protect my children.

Step 5: Safety in Public

If you have a restraining order, keep it with you at all times. Inform building security and co-workers you trust about your situation. If possible, provide a photograph of your abuser to building security. Vary your routes to and from your job, school, or treatment, and arrange for someone to escort you to your car or bus. Plan what to do in various situations if the abuser confronts you.

Step 6: Drug and Alcohol Use

Step 7: Emotional Health