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Safety Planning


A safety plan is a personalized, practical, plan that can help a victim navigate through different scenarios they may face in an abusive relationship. If you believe you are a victim of abuse, safety planning can help you plan ahead for potentially dangerous situations.

Use this safety planning checklist to help you keep safe when you are in one of the following situations:


Safety in a Relationship

(Complete this checklist if you are currently residing with your abusive partner)

  • Identify safe places in the house to run to when an argument occurs
  • Avoid places without exits or with potentially dangerous items
  • Don’t run to where children are – they may become possible targets
  • Have an escape route
  • Make an extra set of car keys (keep in place other than purse).
  • Leave car in the driveway fueled and with driver’s side door unlocked
  • Practice beforehand with your children how to escape safely
  • Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved with argument
  • Identify a support system of friends, relatives or neighbors that you trust and who know about the situation
  • Identify a code word or a signal with these people so they know to call for help
  • Keep a phone with you and store or memorize important numbers (DV shelter, police, friends)
  • If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target, dive into a corner and curl up with your face protected and arms  around your head, fingers entwined


Getting Ready to Leave

(Complete this checklist if you are thinking of leaving your abusive relationship)

  • Start documenting incidents of abuse in a journal. Keep in a safe place (with a co-worker or friend)
  • Open a checking or savings account and P.O. Box in your own name
  • Call your local domestic violence shelter to identify options and to help you customize your own safety plan
  • Plan a time to leave when you know your abuser will be out – giving you a large window of time to escape.
  • Call the police to escort you if you need
  • Pack a bag and leave it hidden in your house or with someone you trust. Include:
    • A spare set of car keys
    • Cash/Credit Cards
    • Medications
    • Change of clothing
    • A list of important phone numbers
    • Personal Items or belongings
    • Important documents such as:
        • Driver’s License
        • Birth Certificates/Social Security Card
        • Immigration or Citizenship Documents
        • Children’s School Records and Immunizations
        • Financial Statements/Pay Stubs
        • Medical Documents

 After You Have Left

(Complete this checklist after you have left your abusive partner)

  • Get a protective order – Keep the order on you and give copies to relevant parties (employers, neighbors, schools) and tell them to call police if they see him near your home
  • Change your phone number. If your abuser leaves, change the locks
  • Change your regular routine, route, or areas you frequent (work hours, grocery stores, doctors, schools)
  • If you have to meet for any reason, do it in a public place

(Check list adapted by CHETNA from National Domestic Violence Hotline Safety Plan)