Safety Plans

In An Emergency

If you are at home and you are being threatened or attacked:

  • Stay away from the kitchen (the abuser can find weapons, like knives, there).
  • Stay away from bathrooms, closets or small spaces where the abuser can trap you.
  • Get to a room with a door or window to escape.
  • Get to a room with a phone to call for help; lock the abuser outside if you can.
  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) right away for help; get the dispatcher’s name.
  • Think about a neighbor or friend you can run to for help.
  • If a police officer comes, tell him/her what happened; get his/her name & badge number.
  • Get medical help if you are hurt.
  • Take pictures of bruises or injuries.
  • Call a domestic violence program or shelter (some are listed here); ask them to help you make a safety plan.

How to Protect Yourself At Home

  • Learn where to get help; memorize emergency phone numbers.
  • Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside.
  • If you can, get a cellular phone that you keep with you at all times.
  • If the abuser has moved out, change the locks on your door.
  • Get locks on the windows.
  • Plan an escape route out of your home; teach it to your children.
  • Think about where you would go if you need to escape.
  • Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the abuser at your house.
  • Coordinate a signal with neighbors, alerting them to call the police.

    (Example: if the phone rings twice, a shade is pulled down or a light is on)

  • Pack a bag with important things you’d need if you had to leave quickly.
  • Keep the bag in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust.
  • Include cash, car keys and important information such as: court papers, passport or birth certificates, medical records and medicines, and immigration papers.
  • Get an unlisted phone number.
  • Block caller ID.
  • Use an answering machine and screen the calls.
  • Take a good self-defense course.

How to Make Your Children Safer

  • Teach them not to get in the middle of a fight, even if they want to help.
  • Teach them how to get to safety, to call 911, to give your address and phone number to the police.
  • Teach them who to call for help.
  • Tell them to stay out of the kitchen.
  • Give the principal at school or the daycare center a copy of your court order.
  • Instruct school administration not to release your children to anyone without your consent.
  • Give the school administration a password so they can be sure it is you on the phone.
  • Give the school administration a photo of the abuser.
  • Make sure the children know who to tell at school if they see the abuser.
  • Make sure that the school administration knows not to give your address or phone number to anyone.

How to Protect Yourself Outside the Home

  • Change your regular travel habits.
  • Try to get rides with different people.
  • Shop and bank in a different place.
  • Cancel any bank accounts or credit cards you shared; open new accounts at a different bank.
  • Keep your court order and emergency numbers with you at all times.
  • Keep a cell phone & program it to 911 (or other emergency number).

How to Make Yourself Safer at Work

  • Keep a copy of your court order at work.
  • Give a picture of the abuser to security and friends at work.
  • Tell your supervisors – see if they can make it harder for the abuser to find you.
  • Don’t go to lunch alone.
  • Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or to the bus.
  • If the abuser calls you at work, save voicemail and save e-mail.
  • Your employer may be able to help you find community resources.