Safety Planning

Victims of domestic abuse must make sure they stay safe, and that they also keep their children safe.  Some information on safety planning is outlined in the following leaflet, with more information detailed below.

Safety Planning

  • Arrange where you might go if you have to leave urgently
  • Find places where you can quickly and safely use the telephone
  • If you have children, teach them how to dial 999 and make up a code word that you can use when you need help
  • Carry a list of telephone numbers for support services and friends
  • Try to save money so that you have bus or taxi fares in an emergency
  • Get an extra set of keys for the house and car and keep these in a safe place, with money and anything else you may need should you have to leave quickly
  • Talk to your children and let them know it is not their fault
  • Talk to trusted friends, relatives, your doctor or nurse about how you feel
  • Consider opening a savings account in your name
  • Always try to take your children with you or make arrangements to leave them somewhere safe if this is not possible
  • Make plans for pets, if you are unable to take them with you
  • Consider visiting your local Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor to discuss what options are available to you
  • If possible, try to get any potential weapons out of the house
  • Try to do things which would get you out of the house, such as walking your dog, putting out the rubbish or going to the shops to practice how you would leave
  • Consider leaving a bag with a trusted friend or relative containing the items you would need if you had to leave urgently. Also consider who may lend you money in an emergency

Should you decide to leave, consider taking:

  • Passports, Marriage and Birth Certificates for yourself and your children
  • Keys
  • Driving licence
  • Car registration form and insurance documents
  • Money, credit cards & cheque books
  • Benefits books
  • Medicines and medical cards for you and your children
  • Small items you can sell
  • Address book, pictures, jewellery and items that mean a lot to you
  • School records
  • Any court papers such as divorce papers, custody orders or injunctions
  • Spare clothes and favourite toys for the children
  • Pets, if you can, or make arrangements for these if possible

Staying safe in a potentially dangerous situation

  • If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have this in a room where there are exits and no potential weapons
  • Practice how you could get out of your home quickly and, if possible, try to keep a packed bag in a secret but accessible place
  • Consider confiding in a neighbour and asking them to call the Police if they hear a disturbance from your house
  • Consider using a code word so that you can communicate your distress to your children, family and friends so that they can alert the Police

Staying safe after you have left

  • At work, decide who you will tell about your situation and show them a picture of your abuser if possible
  • Try to get someone to screen you telephone calls for you
  • Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. This may include asking someone to escort you home and varying your routes
  • Try not to use the same shops and businesses that you did when you were with your abuser
  • At home, tell your neighbours that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should telephone the police if they see the abuser near your home or children
  • Change the locks on doors and windows as soon as possible
  • Change your telephone number
  • Consider buying a rope ladder to enable you to escape from the second floor of your home
  • Consider fitting smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, outside lights and an alarm system
  • Consider applying for a restraining order or injunction
  • Inform your children’s nursery or school who can collect your children
  • Try to build a network of support for yourself so that you have someone to talk to who will give you support and read articles and books to help you feel stronger