This safety plan is for all domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking victims. Safety planning helps you to prepare and respond to potentially dangerous situations. Choose only the suggestions listed that make sense for your set of circumstances.
CALL 911 IN AN EMERGENCY. YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN DESERVE TO BE SAFE!
Stay Safe Wherever You Are
Safety in your own home (If your abuser does not live with you)
Upgrade your security system.
Change the locks on doors and windows as soon as possible. Consider a security service, window bars, better lighting, motion detectors, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers.
Have a safety plan.
Teach your children or grandchildren how to call the police or someone they can trust. Have a secret code word that you and your children agree on to communicate trouble and alert the people allowed to pick up the children.
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. Contact your local phone company about getting an unpublished number.
Talk to neighbors and landlord.
Inform them that your abuser no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see the abuser near your home.
Get 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.
If you are unable to afford legal advice or advocacy, this is a service that Stand Up Placer provides at no cost to you.
Safety on the Job
Decide who you will inform of your situation, especially if you have a restraining order. This may include office security, if available. Provide a picture of the abuser if you can.. It is your right to request and expect confidentiality from those you disclose to.
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 workplace. 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 regarding scheduling, safety precautions, employee/family benefits.
If You Need to Leave
Safety during an explosive incident
Go to an area that has an exit.
Not a bathroom (near hard surfaces), kitchen (knives), or near weapons. Stay in a room with a phone.
Call 911, a friend or a neighbor, if possible.
Inform them if there are weapons in the home.
Know your escape route.
Practice how to get out of your home safely. Visualize your escape route.
Have a packed bag ready.
Keep a bag hidden and handy if you need to leave quickly, or leave the bag elsewhere if your abuser searches your home.
Devise a code word or signal.
Prearrange a code or signal with your children, grandchildren, or neighbors so you can communicate to them that you need the police.
Know where you’re going.
Plan where you will go if you have to leave home, even if you don’t think you’ll need to.
Trust your judgment until it is safe to leave.
Consider actions that will keep you safe and give you time to figure out what to do next. Sometimes it is best to flee, sometimes best to placate the abuser to protect yourself and the children.
Safety when preparing to leave–This can be the most dangerous time!
Have a safe place to stay.
Make sure it is a place that can protect you and your children or grandchildren.
Find someone you trust.
Leave money, extra keys, clothing, and copies of important documents with the person you trust in advance, so you can leave quickly, if necessary.
Open a savings account.
To increase your independence, open the account in your name only. Consider direct deposit from your paycheck or benefit check.
Survivors who are either disabled or over 60 years old may be eligible to special services.
If you are 60 or older or disabled you can learn about eligibility for public and private benefits and services such as Social Security, pensions, housing, transportation, and medical insurance. Contact Placer County Adult Protective Services on their 24-hour confidential hotline: 916-787-8860 or 1-888-886-5401.
Review your safety plan.
Study and check your plan often so you’re prepared to leave your abuser in the safest way possible.
Stand Up Placer serves victims regardless of immigration status; we do not report immigration status to anyone.
If you need to leave, take the following items with you
- Marriage and driver’s licenses
- Birth certificates–yours 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 and your children
Tell schools and childcare.
Let them know who has permission to pick up the children and give them your code word. Discuss with them any other special arrangements to protect you and your children. If possible, provide a picture of the abuser.
Exchange your child or children in a safe place.
Find a safe place to exchange the children for visitation. Some communities have specific locations just for this purpose. Contact Stand Up Placer for more information.
Safety and your emotional health
Try to remain positive.
You don’t deserve to be hit or threatened. Try to be hopeful and treat yourself with kindness. Be assertive with others about your needs.
Call the Stand Up Placer 24-hour Helpline at 800-575-5352 and/or attend a support group for at least two weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship with your abuser.
Do what is safe for you.
If you have to communicate with your abuser, arrange to do so in the way that makes you feel safe–whether by phone, email, US mail, or in the company of another person.