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What is a Safety Plan?
Suggestions from the Family Violence Prevention Fund
If you are in a violent relationship, one of the most important steps you can take is to make a safety plan both for home and the workplace. These plans contain simple but critical steps you can take to increase your safety while you deal with the violence you face in your personal life.
The Workplace Safety Plan
At work, you may want to:
- Save any threatening emails or voice mail messages. You can use these to take legal action in the future, if you choose to. If you already have a restraining order, the messages can serve as evidence in court that the order was violated.
- Park close to the entrance of your building, and talk with security, the police, or a manager if you fear an assault at work.
- Have your calls screened, transfer harassing calls to security, or remove your name and number from automated phone directories.
- Relocate your workspace to a more secure area.
- Obtain a restraining order and make sure that it is current and on hand at all times. Include the workplace on the order. A copy should be provided to the police, the employee's supervisor, Human Resources, the reception area, the Legal department, and Security.
- Provide a picture of the perpetrator to reception areas and/or Security.
- Identify an emergency contact person should the employer be unable to contact you.
- Ask Security to escort you to and from your car or public transportation.
- Look into alternate hours or work locations.
- Review the safety of your child care arrangements, whether it is on-site child care at the company or off-site elsewhere. If you have a restraining order, it can usually be extended to the child care center.
The Personal Safety Plan
In case you have to flee, have the following available:
- Important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance information, school and health records, welfare and immigration documents, and divorce or other court documents
- Credit cards, bank account number, and ATM cards.
- Some money
- An extra set of keys
- Medications and prescriptions
- Phone numbers and addresses for family, friends, doctors, lawyers, and community agencies.
- Clothing and comfort items for you and the children.
If you had the perpetrator evicted or are living alone, you may want
- Change locks on doors and windows.
- Install a better security system -- window bars, locks, better lighting, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
- Teach the children to call the police or family and friends if they are snatched.
- Talk to schools and child care providers about who has permission to pick up the children.
- Find a lawyer knowledgeable about family violence to explore custody, visitation and divorce provisions that protect you and your children.
- Obtain a restraining order.
If you are leaving your abuser, ask yourself the following
- How and when can you most safely leave? Where will you go?
- Are you comfortable calling the police if you need them?
- Who can you trust to tell that you are leaving?
- How will you travel safely to and from work or school or to pick up children?
- What community and legal resources will help you feel safer? Write down their addresses and phone numbers, and keep them handy.
- Do you know the number of the local shelter?
- What custody and visitation provisions will keep you and your children safe?
- Is a restraining order a viable option?
If you are staying with your batterer, think about:
- What works best to keep you safe in an emergency.
- Who you can call in a crisis.
- If you would call the police if the violence starts again. Can you work out a signal with the children or the neighbors to call the police when you need help?
- If you need to flee temporarily, where would you go? Think though several places where you can go in a crisis. Write down the addresses and phone numbers, and keep them with you.
- If you need to flee your home, know the escape routes in advance.
If you are in a violent relationship and need help, call 1-800-799-SAFE.
To help stop domestic violence in your community, call 1-800-END-ABUSE.
To learn more, visit FVPF.