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Victim Safety Plan
The S2S DV-BIP Program safety plan is for domestic violence victims of any age who may be abused by, or afraid of their spouse or partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, adult child or their family member. The safety plan is designed to help have interventions in place and in advance of potentially dangerous situations. The interventions suggested are options only. Choose only the suggestions that make sense for your set of circumstances.
Safety During an Explosive Event
Go to an area, room, or place in the environment that has an exit.
Refrain from spaces that have hard surfaces or objects that could be used as a weapon like kitchens and or bathrooms
Have your cell phone within arm’s reach.
Call 911, an extended family member close by, and or a friend or a neighbor, if possible. Inform them of the situation and if there are weapons in the home.
Know and think through your escape route.
Practice in your mind how to get out of your home safely. Visualize your escape route.
Have a packed safety bag ready.
Keep it out of sight, in a handy place, in the event of a pressing need. Perhaps you want to leave the bag elsewhere outside of the home.
Devise a safe word, phrase, gesture, or signal.
Rehearse the safe word, phrase, gesture, or signal, with your children, extended family, friends, grandchildren or neighbors. Define the safe word, phrase, gesture, or signal, as a communication that you are in eminent danger and need the police immediate.
Preplan where you're going.
Designate a place where you will go if you have to leave home, even if you don't think you'll need to.
Trust your instincts, discernment, and judgment.
You know the feeling of safety. You also know when it is unsafe. Preplan in order to give yourself time to figure out what to do next. Know what works to protect yourself and the children if they are involved.
Safety When Preparing to Leave
LEAVING CAN BE THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME!
Have a safe and confidential place to stay.
Make sure it is a place that can protect you and your children or grandchildren and is unknown by the batterer.
Know your local domestic violence victim service programs.
Find out which shelters are available as options if you need them. Keep their address and phone number close at hand in a private place at all times.
Find someone you trust.
Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents and clothing with your most trusted confidant in advance, so you can leave quickly, if necessary.
Open a savings account in your name only.
Consider direct deposit from your paycheck or benefit check.
Contact your county mental health elder abuse hotline.
If you are 60 or older, learn about eligibility for public and private benefits and support services such as Social Security, pensions, housing, transportation, elder hostels, and medical insurance.
Review your safety plan periodically.
Know and check your plans as often as possible in order to know the safest way to leave your abuser in the event you have to go.
Concerns about leaving and support due to immigration status.
You may qualify under a law called the Violence Against Women Act. Talk to an immigration expert (not INS) or your local domestic violence victim services program for more information.
IF YOU NEED TO LEAVE, TAKE WITH YOU. . .
- Marriage and Driver's licenses
- Birth certificates – yours, your children’s, and family's
- Money, checkbooks, credit cards, ATM cards, mortgage payment book, car title
- Social Security card, work permit, green card, passport
- Divorce, custody papers and restraining order
- Insurance papers and medical records
- Lease, rental agreement and/or house deed
- School and health records
- Keys - house, car, office, friend's
- Medications, glasses, hearing aids, etc. needed by you and your family
- Personal items - address book, pictures, toys
Safety in Your Own Home
(If your abuser does not live with you)
Install or upgrade the security system.
Change the locks on doors and windows as soon as possible. Consider a security service, window bars, better lighting, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
Have a home safety plan.
Teach your children or grandchildren the address and phone number of the house and how to call the police or someone they can trust.
Change your phone number.
Screen your calls if you have an answering machine or caller ID. Save all messages with threats or that violate any orders. Get an unpublished number.
Talk to neighbors and landlord.
Inform them that your abuser no longer lives with you. In the event that there is a restraining order in place, inform them that they should call the police if they see the individual near your home.
Obtain legal advice.
Find a lawyer knowledgeable about domestic violence to explore custody, visitation and divorce provisions that protect you and the children. Discuss getting a restraining order as an option. Your abuser may be mandated to a batterers' intervention program. Talk with the program to find out more about potential risks to you while your abuser participates. Additionally, contact your local domestic violence victim services program.
Safety and Emotional Health
Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs.
Ask your local mental health department, probation department, and or public library for materials that deal with domestic violence.
Call your county mental health department for the domestic violence crisis help-line and/or attend a women’s or victims support group for at least two weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship with your abuser.
Safety and Your Children
Inform schools and childcare.
Let them know who has permission to pick up the children and give them your safety word, phrase, gesture, or signal for contact and or pick up. Discuss with them other special provisions to protect you and your children. Provide a picture of the offender if possible.
Exchange children in a public, supervised, safe place.
Find a safe place to exchange the children for visitation. Some communities have specific locations just for this purpose.
Safety on the Job
Decide whom at work you will inform of your situation, especially if you have a Protection Order in place. This may include office security if available.
Screen your calls.
Arrange to have someone screen and log your telephone calls if possible.
Make a safety plan.
Create a safety plan for when you enter and leave your work place. Have someone escort you to your vehicle or other transportation. If you and your abuser work at the same place, discuss with your supervisor your options.