Safety Planning - Introduction

A safety plan represents possible long-term and short-term strategies than can increase safety and prepare a woman in advance for the possibility of further violence. A safety plan is needed whenever the potential for abuse is identified. It is important to know that each woman will know what will work for her, check depending on her circumstances. The following are suggestions for working with abused women.

If a woman is planning to leave her abusive partner you may want to suggest that she:

  • not inform her partner as it may not be safe to do so
  • keep copies of important documents (birth certificate, capsule health cards, immigration papers) in a location where her partner will not find them (e.g., with a friend, family member or neighbour)
  • open up a separate bank account in her name and ask the bank not to send any documents to her home address
  • not talk to the children about the move as they may make the mistake of disclosing when the partner is around
  • hide some money away
  • keep telephone communications confidential – use a pay phone, a friend’s phone or a friend’s calling card
  • call the local shelter(s) for support, information, referrals, and safety planning
  • be prepared to call Police at 911 if she is not feeling safe
  • have an emergency plan in place should she need to leave sooner than planned

If a woman has recently left her partner you may want to suggest that she:

  • seek legal assistance if she has not already done so
  • consider additional safety measures for her home such as installing a peep hole in her door, always leaving doors and windows locked
  • ensure that schools, daycare have copies of custody and access orders along with a picture of the abusive partner
  • speak to neighbours, employer and friends and ask that they contact police if they see the partner near woman’s home, children’s school, woman’s workplace
  • call the local shelter(s) for support, information, referrals, and safety planning
  • call the local helpline for abused women for support, information, referrals, and safety planning
  • call the local shelter for abused women or counselling service for support, advocacy and safety planning
  • keep a telephone close by and charged, with 911 programmed into speed dial
  • carry a cell phone if possible
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