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What is a Domestic Violence Safety Plan, and What Should I Include in the Plan?

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A domestic violence safety plan is a written plan that is designed to help you decide in advance what you will do if you need to escape from a dangerous situation.

Many different safety plans are available. Some plans are designed to handle a flare-up in a relationship that you want to continue; while other plans try to help the victim flee from a bad relationship altogether. Some plans rely heavily on police intervention and restraining orders; while other plans recognize that some groups in our society have a history of bad experiences with the police and try to avoid involvement with the criminal justice system.

So no single plan can address all the situations that a victim may have to deal with. Most plans include these actions:

1. Let your neighbors know about your situation, and ask them to call the police in case of trouble. Set up a signal for them to call, like if the phone rings twice.

2. Plan an escape route out of your house, like climbing out of a window.

3. Decide where you will go, such as the house of a friend or family member.

4. Pack a bag. Hide or keep it with someone you trust. Pack it with:

  • Cash and checks
  • Clothes and personal items for you and your children (such as a special toy or book)
  • Medications
  • House and car keys
  • Important phone numbers
  • Copies of important papers, such as driver’s license or picture ID, birth certificates, passports, health insurance information, house and car titles, rent receipts, marriage license, and your children’s immunization records.

5. Plan how you will get there – drive a car, take a bus, etc.