Planning for Safety: After Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Planning for Safety
If you think you are in an abusive relationship, it is important to make a plan to keep yourself and your children safe.  Think of a safety plan like keeping an emergency kit in your car.  Hopefully you won’t need it but if you do, it could save your life.  Here are some things to consider:

  •  Change the locks on doors and windows (if the abuser has a key or access to a key).
  • Increase the police’s ability to find your house by having a large visible street address outside the house.
  • Obtain a P. O. Box and forward all your mail to it.
  • Ensure that utility companies will not give out your information to your abuser.
  • Determine the safest way to communicate with the abuser if you must have contact.  If you agree to meet, always do it in a public place (preferably a place with a security guard or police officer), and it’s best to bring someone else.  Make sure you are not followed home.
  • If your partner follows you in the care, drive to a hospital or fire station and keep honking the horn.
  • Create a safety pan for leaving work.  Talk with your supervisor and building security at work and provide a picture of the abuser, if possible.  If you have an Order of Protection, give the security guard or receptionist a copy.
  • Teach your children a safety plan, including calling the police or family and friends if they are taken and where to go during an emergency.
  • Talk to your schools and childcare provider about who has permission to pick up the children and develop other special provisions to protect the children.
  • Keep a journal of harassing phone calls and times you may see your abuser around the work place or neighborhood.  Save and/or print any threatening emails.  Keep a journal of anything that happens between you, the abuser, and the children regarding visitation. *


*The previous information was excerpted from the National Network to End Domestic Violence.