A safety plan is a practical plan that is personalized to your needs and is designed to help you avoid dangerous situations. Your safety plan outlines the best way for you to respond if you are in danger or feeling triggered. Planning can be used while you are still with your abuser or after the relationship has ended. Crisis center advocates are available 24/7 to help craft or review your personal safety plan, to discuss safe options like emergency shelter, and provide emotional support.
Safety planning for someone involved in an abusive relationship is a necessary and important step. While still in an abusive relationship, your safety is of primary importance. An advocate from your local domestic violence provider can work closely with you on a safety plan. To find out more information call the statewide domestic violence hotline 1-866-644-3574
Technology safety plays a critical role in a victim or survivor's safety plan. Abusers may limit victims’ access to transportation, monitor phone calls and text messages, and/or engage in stalking to track the victim’s location.
Safety Planning is important while you’re with your abuser, when your preparing to leave, and after you’ve left.
• Identify your partner’s use and level of force so that you can assess danger to you and your children before it occurs.
• Try to avoid an abusive situation by leaving.
• Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.
• Don’t run to where the children are, as your partner may hurt them as well.
• If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help. Know the phone number to your local crisis center. Don’t be afraid to call the police.
• Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.
• Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.
• Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.
• Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.
• Plan for what you will do if your children tell your partner of your plan or if your partner otherwise finds out about your plan.
• Keep weapons like guns and knives locked away and as inaccessible as possible.
• Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and others locked — for a quick escape.
• Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night.
• Call a domestic violence hotline periodically to assess your options and get a supportive understanding ear.
• Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures.
• Know where you can go to get help; tell someone what is happening to you.
• If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
• Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them, like a room with a lock or a friend’s house where they can go for help.
• Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
• Contact your local battered women’s shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis.
• Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made, if possible.
• Acquire job skills or take courses at a community college as you can.
• Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.
• Obtain a restraining order. Contact a local crisis center advocate for accompaniment and support when considering a protective order.
• Change your locks and phone number.
• Change your work hours and route taken to work.
• Change the route taken to transport children to school.
• Keep a certified copy of your restraining order with you at all times.
• Inform friends, neighbors and employers that you have a restraining order in effect.
• Give copies of the restraining order to employers, neighbors and schools along with a picture of the offender.
• Call law enforcement to enforce the order.
General Guidelines for Leaving an Abusive Relationship
You may request a police stand-by or escort while you leave.
If you need to sneak away, be prepared.
Make a plan for how and where you will escape.
Plan for a quick escape.
Put aside emergency money as you can.
Hide an extra set of car keys.
Pack an extra set of clothes for yourself and your children and store them at a trusted friend or neighbor’s house.
Try to avoid using the homes of next-door neighbors, close family members and mutual friends.
Take with you important phone numbers of friends, relatives, doctors, schools, etc., as well as other important items, including:
Regularly needed medication
Credit cards or a list of credit cards you hold yourself or jointly
Checkbooks and information about bank accounts and other assets
Your restraining order and copies if you have one. It should be valid and honored in any other area in the United States. For more information about that issue click here.
If time is available, also take:
Citizenship documents (such as your passport, green card, etc.)
Titles, deeds and other property information
Children’s school and immunization records
Copy of marriage license, birth certificates, will and other legal documents
Verification of social security numbers
Valued pictures, jewelry or personal possessions
You may also create a false trail. Call motels, real estate agencies and schools in a town at least six hours away from where you plan to relocate. Ask questions that require a call back to your house in order to leave phone numbers on record.
The 13 member programs of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence provide services regardless of gender,age, health status (including HIV-positive), physical, mental or emotional ability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socio-economic status, race, national origin, immigration status or religious or political affiliation.