Domestic Violence Safety Plan
For some people in abusive relationships, developing a plan ahead of time is helpful to have during a violent incident or when they feel overwhelmed. Each situation is unique, so every safety plan is different. And a good safety plan changes over time, as your situation changes.
Below are some things to consider when thinking about your safety. These are ideas that other people in abusive relationships have found helpful and they may or may not work for you. It is your decision whether to make a safety plan, and what to include if you do make one. It may help to speak with someone with knowledge about domestic violence, such as a Domestic Violence Advocate. If you write your plan down, you might also consider where you keep it so your abuser does not have access to it
Strategies to Consider:
Talk with people you trust such as friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Let them know what is happening and talk about ways they might be able to help.
Consider what you might do to increase safety during an argument or if you can tell abuse is coming. For example, some rooms in your home may be safer than others. You might move away from the kitchen because it has knives and other many sharp objects. Or you could try to stay close to a door, so you could run if you needed to.
Memorize the numbers you might need to use in an emergency, like 911, a friend’s or family member’s number, or the local hotline. In Massachusetts, you can call Safe link for support at 877-785-2020. Keep in mind that the person hurting you could take your cell phone from you, so memorizing numbers or keeping a list of numbers somewhere safe may be helpful.
Plan how you would get out of your home if you needed to.
Tell your children's school, day-care or camp who is authorized to pick up your children. Consider telling the people around you about someone you want to keep away. You do not need to say why, just ask them to keep an eye out or be aware.
If you have an order of protection, keep it with you at all times.
Plan what to do in various situations if the abuser confronts you ( a woman’s self defense class may be of use in this situation) .
Take threats seriously and report them. Threats are not only violations of a protective order, but also possible indicators of imminent danger. With this in mind, keep a log of dates and incidents. You may need this information later to prove your case in court.
Prepare an emergency bag. You may want to put together a bag that includes important documents and other items in case you need to leave quickly.
If you have decided to prepare an emergency bag, and have a place in mind where you can safely keep it, here is a checklist to help you decide what to put in the bag.
Order of Protection
Public Assistance ID
Driver's license & registration
Social security card
Your partner’s social security number
Important legal documents
Police records •Record of violence
Baby’s things (diapers, formula, medication)
Children’s school and immunization records
Non-perishable snacks for you and your children (e.g. juice and crackers)
Important phone numbers including Safe link: 877-785-2020
For further information call: 911 If you are in immediate danger (617) 349-3371 (Cambridge Police Domestic Violence Unit) (781) 897-8300 (Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan) (781) 897-6631 (Victims and Witness Assistance at district courthouse)
877-785-2020 Massachusetts Domestic Violence Hotline (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
617-661-7203 Transition House, Domestic Violence Agency in Cambridge (www.transitionhouse.org)