Safety Planning

You have the right to live without fear and violence

If you are in an abusive relationship, you may be afraid and leaving can be dangerous. Whether you are still in an abusive relationship or trying to get out, it is important to take precautions to protect yourself. Below is a list of suggestions that may help protect you. (Some of the information on this page has been adapted from material distributed by the Utah Domestic Violence Council and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.)

You have the right to live without fear and violence. Being abused is never your fault and although you can not control your abuser’s violence, you do have a choice about how to respond and how to get to safety. Decide for yourself if and when to tell others that you have been abused, or that you are still at risk. Friends, family and co-workers can help protect you, if they know what is happening, and what they can do to help. Finally, personalize your safety plan. Take the information below into consideration and then tailor your safety plan so it is effective and most useful for you.

Suggestions that may help protect you

Safety Planning Tips

  • Try to position yourself in a room with an exit – a window or door leading outside. Stay away from rooms that have no exit, may contain weapons or have hard surfaces like the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Try to get to a room with a phone or have a cell phone that you keep with you.
  • Plan ahead – have a safe route to get out. Which door or window will be best? What elevator or stairwell should you use? If you can not practice your escape, imagine it in your mind several times.
  • Pack a bag with important items and documents – suggestions are below.
  • Plan where you will go, you can always call: 801-255-1095 for shelter services or the statewide domestic violence LINKLine at: 1-800-897-LINK (5465).
  • Trust and use your instincts and judgment.
  • Tell your children to never get involved during an argument between you and your abuser. Come up with a 911 code word and share with your neighbors, children, family and anyone else that may be able to help. Inform them that if they hear an argument and they hear the 911 code word to call the police immediately.

Remember – leaving can be a very dangerous time! It is important to be mindful of your safety and if possible have and rehearse a safety plan.

  • If possible, have a safety plan. Review the information on this website to prepare yourself.
  • Review your safety plan often, in order to plan the safest way to leave your abuser.
  • Gather the items listed below (Important things to take with you) and store them in a safe place. Consider leaving them with a trusted friend or family member.
  • Keep shelter/hotline numbers and some change or a calling card with you at all times. If possible, consider getting a cellular phone. Our staff is ready to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 801-255-1095. Get Help Now
  • Open a bank account in your name to establish or increase your independence. Ensure that your statement is sent to a safe address.
  • If you have pets, make arrangements for them to be cared for in a safe place.
  • Determine who will allow you to stay with them or who may be able to lend you money.

In some instances it is not in the interest of your safety to take the time to collect everything on this list – your safety should be a priority. However, when possible it is a good idea to collect these items before you leave. Have them readily available and consider keeping them in a safe place like at a neighbor’s or family member’s house.

Identification:

  • Drivers License
  • Birth Certificate (for you and your children)
  • Social Security Cards

Financial:

  • Money (cash, some change and any credit cards in your name)
  • Checking and Savings Account Information
  • Loan / Investment Information

Legal Papers:

  • Protective Order
  • House Deed or Rental Lease Agreement
  • Car Title, Registration and Insurance
  • Health or Life Insurance Information
  • Medical Records (for you and your children)
  • School Records
  • Work Permit / Permanent Resident Card / Visa / ITIN Number / Passport / Matricula Consular
  • Divorce and Custody Papers
  • Marriage License
  • Tax Return from Previous Year

Other Items:

  • Medications, Glasses and Hearing Aids
  • Additional House and Car Keys
  • Safety Deposit Box Keys
  • Valuable Jewelry
  • Address Book
  • Change of Clothing (for you and your children)
  • Current Pictures of You, Your Children, and Your Abuser
  • Vaccination / Immunization Information
  • Camera (disposable or other)
  • Appointment Book or Calendar
  • Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows. Consider adding outside security lighting. Purchase rope ladders if necessary.
  • Request a new, unlisted telephone number.
  • Never tell your abuser where you live. Tell your children to do the same.
  • Discuss a safety plan with your children. Inform them where to go and what to do if the abuser shows up.
  • Inform your neighbors, landlord, neighborhood watch program and anyone else who you feel may be helpful that your abuser does not live with you and that if they see your abuser they should call the police.
  • Call the police if your abuser threatens you, your children or your home.
  • Tell your children’s school, day care, etc. who has permission to pick up the children.
  • Use an answering machine or Caller ID to screen your calls.
  • Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.
  • Avoid staying alone.
  • Plan how you would get away if your abuser confronted you.
  • If you have to meet your partner, do so in a public place.
  • Vary your routines – shop at a different grocery store, if possible change your hours at work, etc.
  • Notify your supervisor and the human relations manager about the circumstances regarding your situation.
  • Discuss what options are available to you (regarding such topics as scheduling, safety, precautions, and employee / family assistance benefits).
  • Submit a recent photo of the perpetrator to your safety manager.
  • Request that all information be treated with confidence to provide for your safety and well-being.

 

South Valley Services Prevention and Education Team offers trainings to businesses/workplaces about domestic violence and what you can do to help out an employee that is in a domestic violent situation. View the Prevention and Education section of the website to learn more about our Utah Employers Against Domestic Violence program. Prevention and Education

  • If you are planning to return to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with a person you trust.
  • If you must communicate with your abuser, determine the safest way to do so.
  • Be assertive with others about what you need.
  • Don’t be afraid to call the police and to ask for medical treatment. Photograph all injuries.
  • Decide who you can call and talk to freely and openly, someone who can give you the support you need.
  • Keep a journal. This journal can also be used to document any Protective Order violations, specific incidents of abuse and any other important information you want to record. Record all contact with the batterer. Always keep this journal away from your abuser. You may want to keep it at your office or with a friend or family member. Save all messages/recordings from your batterer.