South Dakota Network
Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault

Personalized Safety Plan

The following steps represent my plan for increasing my safety and preparing in advance for the possibility of further violence. Although I do not have control over my partner's violence, I do have a choice about how to respond to him/her and how to best get myself and my children to safety.

STEP 1: SAFETY DURING A VIOLENT INCIDENT
  1. If we are going to have an argument, I can try to move to a space that is lowest risk, such as _____________________. (Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchens, near weapons or in rooms without access to an outside door.)

  2. If it is not safe to stay, I can _____________________. (Practice how to get out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells, or fire escapes would you use?

  3. I can keep my purse and car keys ready and put them _____________________ so that I can leave quickly.

  4. I can tell _____________________ and _____________________ about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my home.

  5. I can use _____________________ as my code word with my children or my friends so they can call for help.

  6. I can teach my children how to use the telephone to contact the police and the fire department.

  7. If I have to leave my home, I can go to _____________________ or _____________________ or _____________________. (Decide this place even if you don't think there will be a next time).
Use your judgement. If the situation is very serious, give him/her what he/she wants to calm him/her down. You have to protect yourself until you (and your children) are out of danger.

Always remember: YOU DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS!


STEP 2: SAFETY WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE

Battered women frequently leave the residence they share with the battering partner. Leaving must be done strategically in order to increase safety. Batterers often strike back when they believe that a battered woman is leaving a relationship.

  1. I can leave money and an extra set of keys with _____________________ so that I can leave quickly.

  2. I can keep copies of important documents or keys and some extra clothes with _____________________.

  3. I can open a savings account to increase my independence. (Preferably opened in a separate bank than that you and your spouse use jointly.)

  4. Other things I can do to increase my independence include: ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________.

  5. The domestic violence program's hotline number is _____________________ can keep change for phone calls with me at all times. I understand that if I use my telephone credit card, the following month's telephone bill will tell my batterer those numbers that I called after I left. To keep my telephone communications confidential, I can either use coins or I might get a friend to permit me to use his/her telephone credit card for a limited time when I first leave.

  6. I can check with _____________________ and _____________________ and _____________________ to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.

  7. I can sit down and review my safety plan every _____________________ so that I know the safest way to leave my home.

  8. I can rehearse my escape plan and, as appropriate, practice it with my children.
Remember: If you tell your partner that you'll leave him if he ever hits you again, think about whether you're giving him permission to hit you "just one more time."


STEP 3: SAFETY IN MY OWN RESIDENCE
  1. If my partner no longer lives with me, I can take action to ensure my safety and my children's safety in my home. Safety measures I can use include:
    1. I can change the locks on my doors and windows as soon as possible.
    2. I can replace wooden doors with steel/metal doors.
    3. I can install security systems including additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, an electronic system, etc.
    4. I can purchase rope ladders to be used for escape from second floor windows.
    5. I can install smoke detectors and purchase fire extinguishers for each floor in my home.
    6. I can install an outside lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to my home.

  2. I can teach my children to _____________________ when I am not available.

  3. I can inform _____________________ and _____________________ and _____________________ about who has permission to pick up my children.

  4. I can teach my children how to use the telephone to make a collect call to me and to _____________________ in the event that my partner abducts them.

  5. I can inform _____________________ and _____________________ and _____________________ that my partner no longer resides with me and they should call the police if he is observed near my home.

STEP 4: SAFETY WITH A PROTECTIVE ORDER
  1. I can keep my protective order _____________________ (Always keep it on or near your person. If you change purses, it is the first thing that should go in.)

  2. If my partner breaks the protective order, I can _____________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________.

  3. If the police are not responsive, I can _______________________________________________________.

  4. I can inform _____________________ and _____________________ that I have a protective order in effect.

  5. If my partner destroys my protective order, I can get another copy from the _____________________ Court.

STEP 5: SAFETY ON THE JOB AND IN PUBLIC
  1. I can inform _____________________ and _____________________ and _____________________ at work of my situation.

  2. I can use voice mail, the receptionist, or a co-worker to help screen my telephone calls at work.

  3. When leaving work, I can _______________________________________________________________.

  4. If problems occur when I am driving home, I can _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________.

  5. If I use public transportation, I can ________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________.

  6. I can also ____________________________________________________________________________.


STEP 6: SAFETY AND DRUG OR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

The use of any alcohol or other drugs can reduce a woman's awareness and ability to act quickly to protect herself from her battering partner. Furthermore, the batterer's use of alcohol or other drugs may give him/her an excuse to use violence. Therefore, in the context of alcohol or other drug consumption, a woman needs to make specific safety plans.

  1. If I am going to consume alcohol or other drugs, I can do so in a safe place with people who understand the risk of violence and are committed to my safety.

  2. I can also _______________________________________________________________ or _________________________________________________________________________.

  3. If my partner is consuming, I can _________________________________________________.

  4. To protect my children, I might _________________________________________________ or ____________________________________________________________________________.
The legal outcomes of using illegal drugs can be very hard on a battered woman, may hurt her relationship with her children and put her at a disadvantage in other legal actions with her battering partner. Therefore, women should carefully consider the potential cost of the use of illegal drugs.


STEP 7: SAFETY AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH

  1. If I feel down and ready to return to a potentially abusive situation, I can __________________________________________________________________________.

  2. When I have to communicate with my partner in person or by telephone, I can __________________________________________________________________________.

  3. I can try to use positive self-talk with myself and be assertive with others. I can tell myself that I don't deserve to be beaten whenever I feel others are trying to control or abuse me.

  4. I can read _____________________ to help me feel stronger.

  5. I can call _____________________ and _____________________ and _____________________ as additional resources to support me.

STEP 8: WHAT I NEED TO TAKE WHEN I LEAVE

Identification for myself   Address book
Driver's license   Pictures
Children's birth certificates   Medical records - for all family members
My birth certificate   Social Security cards
Money   Welfare identification
Lease, rental agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book   School records
Work permits   Bank books
Green card   Check books
Passport(s)   Credit cards
Divorce papers   Insurance papers
Jewelry   Keys - house/car/office
Children's favorite toys and/or blankets   Medications for me and my children
Items of special sentimental value   Small saleable objects
 
I can keep the items concerning me in one location. If I have to leave in a hurry, I can grab those items quickly.

IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS

Police department: 911

Attorney (name & number): ______________________________________________________________

Victims Witness Assistant: ______________________________________________________________

Courthouse/Clerk of Courts: _____________________________________________________________

Local Crisis Hot Line: __________________________________________________________________

Local Toll Free Hot Line: ________________________________________________________________

SD Domestic Violence Hot Line: 1-800-430-SAFE

National Domestic Violence Hot Line: 1-800-799-SAFE

Other: ________________________________________________________________________