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Make a Safety Plan

Preparing to Leave: 

The first step is definitely the hardest: making that important decision to leave! Making that decision is tough, but it is also very empowering. Once you have decided that you want and deserve a better life, the rest is much easier. You must now create your plan of action, and then follow it step-by-step.

Safety planning is a crucial part of this plan.

Recognize that it sometimes takes months or even years for a victim to find the courage to leave an abusive relationship. You will face obstacles along the way, but know that you will face each obstacle one at a time and conquer them one at a time.


Things to think about:

  • Have important numbers nearby for you and your children, such as the police, domestic violence hotlines,     friends and the local shelter.

  • Identify friends or neighbors you can trust and tell them about the abuse and your plans to leave; ask  them to call the police if they hear angry voices or violent noises.

  • Teach your children how, when, and why to call 911. 

  • Create a code word you can use when talking with friends, neighbors, or family that will let them know you need immediate help. 

  • Practice getting out of your home safely.

  • Try to create a safe zone in your house – a place with no weapons and an exit. 

  • If you feel that an abusive episode is about to happen, try to get your abuser to this safe zone to minimize your potential danger. 

  • Try to remove or hide any weapons in the home. 

  • Determine a place where you can go to if you decide to leave. 

  • As you make plans to leave, try to begin doing “routine” things that get you out of the house such as taking the trash out, walking the dog, or going to the store. 

  • Pack a bag of important items and hide it where you can get to it easily.

When leaving your abuser, these items are important to take with you if possible:

  • Children (if it is safe and if you have legal custody)

  • Money

  • Keys to car, house, work

  • Extra set of keys to car, house, work

  • Personal care items for self and children

  • Clothing for self and children

  • Items needed for work (work shoes, ID tag, etc.)

  • Children’s school-related materials (book bags, homework, etc.)

  • Cell phone and charger

  • Extra cell phone and charger

  • Medicine for self and children

  • Important papers for self and children (birth certificates, Social Security cards, protective order, marriage license, divorce papers, custody orders, children’s immunization records, bank statements, recent tax documents)

  • Bank debit card, checkbook, and credit cards

  • Driver’s license

  • Car registration and title or lease, rental, or loan agreement

  • Government assistance cards (food stamps, etc.)

  • Passports, green cards, work permits

  • Housing mortgage or rental agreement

  • Mortgage payment book

  • Unpaid bills

  • Insurance papers

  • List of friends and family members’ addresses and phone numbers for self and children

  • Laptop computer or save important files on memory card/zip drive

  • Photos, jewelry, & things that mean a lot to you

  • Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc.)

  • Pets (if possible or make arrangements for their care) 


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