Pastor Sarah Grace/ September 29, 2020/ Domestic Violence, Wind Haven Mission/ 0 comments

Whether you are in an unhealthy relationship, experiencing abuse, thinking about leaving, or planning to leave you should develop a personalized safety plan that will give you practical knowledge on how to act in specific situation, empowering you to know how to react and avoid dangerous situations.

A safety plan can increase your chances of escaping a violent or dangerous situation, and it can help you create a solid plan to leave permanently with everything you need to file charges and not have to come in contact with your abuser again.

A safety plan is not a replacement for calling 911, filing for an order of protection or contacting a lawyer. In many cases, a safety plan involves some of those steps.

Tips for Creating a Safety Plan

If you are in a situation and feel you need a safety plan, you’ve come to the right place. You may be planning to leave or in the process of leaving, or maybe you’ve left already. Even if if you have a family member or friend who is experiencing abuse, you can help support them and assist them with a safety plan. A safety plan should be tailored to the individual’s needs at the present time.

Think of your safety plan as a life preserver. If the abuse happened once, it will happen again.

Before You Leave:

  • Keep any evidence of abuse, such as pictures of injuries, texts, emails, etc.
  • Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made, if possible. Keep your journal in a safe place.
  • Know where you can go to get help. Tell someone what is happening to you.
  • If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
  • If you have children, identify a safe place for them, like a room with a lock or a friend’s house where they can go for help. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
  • If you need a safe place to stay, contact your local shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis. has state by state legal information.
  • Acquire job skills or take courses at a community college as you can.
  • Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.
  • Get your “Bug-Out” Bag ready with all your important items, documents, etc.

After You Leave

  • Change your locks and phone number.
  • Call the telephone company to request caller ID. Ask that your phone number be blocked so that if you call anyone, neither your partner nor anyone else will be able to get your new, unlisted phone number.
  • Change your work hours and the route you take to work.
  • Alert school authorities of the situation.
  • If you have a restraining order, keep a certified copy of it with you at all times, and inform friends, neighbors and employers that you have a restraining order in effect.
  • Call law enforcement to enforce the order and give copies of the restraining order to employers, neighbors and schools along with a picture of the offender.
  • Consider renting a post office box or using the address of a friend for your mail (be aware that addresses are on restraining orders and police reports, and be careful to whom you give your address and phone number).
  • Reschedule appointments that the abusive partner is aware of.
  • Use different stores and frequent different social spots.
  • Alert neighbors and request that they call the police if they feel you may be in danger.
  • Tell people you work with about the situation and have your calls screened by one receptionist if possible.
  • Tell people who take care of your children or drive them/pick them up from school and activities. Explain your situation to them and provide them with a copy of the restraining order.


Ready to Create a Safety Plan?

Here is a form you can fill out to create a safety plan.

Collect evidence. If it is safe to do so, keeping a journal of abusive incidents (date, time, details), including threats, as well as copies of threatening or abusive emails, text messages, police reports, doctor or hospital records will be helpful if and when you file for an order of protection or press charges against an abuser. Keep this evidence outside of your home, like at a workplace, a friend’s house or a safety deposit box.

Stash a Bug-out Bag This bag, which you should, again, keep somewhere where the abuser can’t find it, such as a friend’s house, your workplace or a neighbor’s house, will contain important documents such as: your driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, social security cards, copies of financial records, your lease or deed, health insurance information, prescriptions, marriage license or divorce papers, and all similar paperwork for your children, if applicable. It should also include, if possible, some cash you are able to save in case the abuser cancels credits cards or blocks you from accessing bank accounts. See The Leaving Your Abuser “Bug-Out” Bag list for everything you should consider trying to pack depending on your situation.

Decide where to go. When it’s time to leave—it could be while the abuser is at work, the next time you feel in danger, exactly two weeks from now or whenever you deem the best time—you need to plan where to go. Consider an emergency shelter (which will need advance notice, so contact an advocate there), a friend or family member’s house that the abuser doesn’t know the location of or is far enough away that it will be difficult for the abuser to get to you, or, if affordable, a hotel or apartment that you pay for with cash so the abuser cannot track you there. Keep in mind that if you have a cell phone, the abuser may be able to trace your location, so consider getting a pay-as-you-go temporary phone and leaving your cell behind. 

Plan for all possibilities. You know your partner best. You know what abusive tactics he or she is most likely to use. Make sure you think about that as you get ready to leave. The abuser may feel like something is different in your demeanor and may become more controlling. When an abuser feels like they are losing control, it is often the most dangerous time for a survivor. Prepare for this by thinking out different scenarios that could happen and what you will do. For example, if an abuser always shuts the bedroom door to close you in before he or she becomes violent, can you unlock a window ahead of time, given you’re on the ground floor, and exit through it when this starts? If an abuser threatens to keep or harm your children or pets if you leave, can you make sure they’re in a safe place before you leave, such as taking them to a trusted relative’s house? Can you create a code word that, if you say it in front of your children, they’ll know to run next door to the neighbor’s house and call 911?

AFTER YOU LEAVE… Stay vigilant. After you leave an abuser, or after an abuser is forced to leave your home, you’ll want to take safety precautions to keep yourself and your family safe. This should include considering an order of protection, alerting your place of employment and your children’s school what is going on and giving them a photo of the abuser so they can alert you if he or she comes around, using a different route to get to and from work or school, changing your schedule, taking a break from social media so the abuser is less likely to track or harass you, and changing your phone number and making it unlisted.  

Safety Plan form Adapted from

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About Pastor Sarah Grace

I'm Pastor Sarah Grace, Co-Pastor & found of Wind Haven Ministry, online Bible Study school admin & teacher, Life Coach, author, web developer, curriculum developer, and scholar. I'm originally from Muncie, IN and currently reside in Warner Robins, GA. Child of God. Mom of three. Blessed by the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God! ' Nerd. Weird. The opposite of normal. Goofy. Compassionate. Survivor. Epilepsy & Fibromyalgia Warrior. Hobbies include: music. singing. reading. photography. yoga. fishing. firearm safety. camping. bowling.

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