Safety Planning

Planning to stay:

  • If you believe an argument might escalate:
    • Move away from places where there are dangerous or sharp objects like the kitchen or bathroom.
    • Go to a room with a phone, which you can use to call for help.
  • Plan an easy escape and identify windows or doors you can use quickly and safely.
  • Identify a place where you can go to call for help (a neighbor, friend, pay-phone, local establishment close to home, or family member you trust).
  • Build a support network (friends, family, co-workers or local agencies). Be in contact with them about your situation.
  • Create a code word for help that you can use with others, so that when they hear it, they know to call for help. This way, it can be done discreetly even in the presence of an abuser.
  • Document incidents of abuse. Take pictures of injuries or destroyed property caused by the abuse.
  • Questions to consider:
    • What have you done in the past that successfully kept you safe after an incident?
    • If you need to escape temporarily, where are some placed you can go?
    • Is it possible to safely remove weapons from the home? (You can always turn them in to local law enforcement for safe-keeping).

Safety-Planning for Caregivers of Children:

  • Teach children not to get in the middle of a fight.
  • Teach children how to find safety: where to run or hide if an incident occurs.
  • Teach children who to call for help: 911, police, a neighbor, friend, or family member who they trust.
  • Teach children a clear escape route in each room of your home.

When Calling The Police:

  • Get the responding officer’s name and badge number.
  • Share your injuries with the police. If your injuries worsen over time, go to the police station to get them photographed and/or document them yourself.
  • Write down your case number or incident number.
  • If an arrest was made, ask for a booking number and register with the VINE program so you are notified when the other person is released. Call 1(800) 721-8021 to register your phone number. You will need the booking number which you can obtain by calling the Sheriff’s Department.
  • If an Emergency Protective Order was not offered and you would like one, ASK for one!
  • Tell the reporting officer in detail what happened, including quotes when you can. It is important for them to know if threats of any kind were made and if there are weapons of any kind in the home. If there are firearms, the police officer may remove and store them for safe keeping.
  • You can call the non-emergency dispatch and an officer will come to your house to take a report.
  • You can go to the police station to make a report.
  • Remember to keep your own records of when you made your report and with whom.

When Planning to Leave:

  • If you want, tell a trusted family member or friend.
  • Decide when it is the best time to leave. Identify the safest times. Every situation is different!
  • Keep a phone in a safe room that you can lock from the inside or try to have a charged cell phone on you at all times.
  • Make a list of emergency phone numbers. Memorize important numbers!
  • Let your child’s teacher and principal know enough about the situation so they can be prepared in case of a crisis. Ask them if they can agree to not release the children to the other parent.
  • Work out a safe way pick up children from school.
  • Make a list of resources that are available to you.
  • Pack a “Safety bag” and store it in a place where your abuser will not find it in your home or give it to a friend. The bag should contain:
    • Money or credit cards you have saved to pay for food, gas, and other necessities.
    • Copies of important keys
    • Medicine
    • Originals or color copies of important documents like:
      • Social Security cards, birth certificates, passports, immigration paperwork
      • School and medical records
      • Car registration
      • Banking information
      • Insurance cards
      • Important contact info
      • Any other important personal papers
  • Questions to consider:
    • Where is the safest place to go to and how will you get there?
    • Who can you tell that you are leaving?
    • Will a restraining order be helpful?

Safety on your own:

  • Change the locks on doors and windows as soon as possible.
  • Get an unlisted phone number.
  • Take a self-defense class.
  • Plan an escape route.
  • Change your routine, for example go to a different grocery store or gym.
  • Never travel by yourself.
  • Cancel any bank accounts.
  • Have a cell phone with you at all times.
  • Give pictures of the other person to security and Human Resources at work.
  • Ask someone to walk you to your car.
  • Save all threatening voicemails and emails.


Items to take with you when you leave:

  • Money
  • Keys to car, house, work
  • Extra clothing
  • Medicine
  • Pictures, jewelry, items that mean a lot to you
  • Address book/Contacts
  • Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc.)
  • Important papers for you and your children:
  • Bank books
  • Passports
  • Immigration papers
  • Social security cards
  • School Information
  • Medical records
  • Birth certificates
  • Credit cards
  • Driver’s license
  • PPO
  • Divorce papers
  • Insurance Papers
  • Custody Orders
  • Lease or rental agreements
  • Bills
  • Car Registration


  • Try to use a public computer
  • Change your passwords often
  • Try to avoid visiting shared or social networks
  • Do no to try to sell things online
  • Delete any information about contacts or addresses
  • Delete your web history and information
  • Search for your information on Google or ZABA (request your information be deleted)

Safety Plan PDF