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Creating a Safety Plan

A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in an abusive relationship, planning to leave or after you leave. Safety plans can be continuously updated, even if you return to a partner that is abusive.

Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, protect children if involved, take legal action and more.

A good safety plan will be tailored to your unique situation, have all the vital information you need and help walk you through different scenarios.

It’s important to remember that in moments of crisis, your brain may not function the same way as when you are calm. When adrenaline is pumping through your veins, it can be hard to think clearly or make smart decisions about your safety. Having a safety plan laid out in advance can help you quickly protect yourself in those stressful moments.

StrongHearts advocates can help develop a safety plan with victims, friends and family members, anyone who is concerned about their own safety or the safety of someone else.

When safety planning it is important to think about the pros and cons of any action. A strategy may work for some survivors but not others. Each survivor is an expert on their relationship and it is important to choose what will work for them and keep them safe.

Below are some options to consider when safety planning.

Safety Planning While Living with an Abusive Partner

If you are living with an abusive partner, it is important to think about safety risks and ways you can stay as safe as possible.

Consider your main safety concerns.

Abuse can come in many forms (Types of Abuse). It is important to understand what tactics your partner may use against you.

When violence is unavoidable

Connect to others

Safety Planning with Children

If you have children and are in an abusive relationship it is important to include your children in your safety plan, whether or not they are the abusive partner’s children and whether or not the abusive partner has ever been violent towards the children.

During violence or escalating aggression

Plan with your children

Communication with your children

Safety planning with children after you have left

Safety Planning When Leaving an Abusive Partner

Leaving an abusive partner is the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship. It is important to safety plan before, during, and after you leave your abusive partner.

Before you leave

When you leave

After you leave

Some of the information is adapted from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.