What is Safety Planning?
If you are in an abusive relationship, or planning to leave an abusive relationship, it is a good idea to prepare a Safety Plan.
A safety plan is a personalized, useful tool to help you stay safe. Safety planning can include alerting neighbors, friends and relatives to your situation so they can help, writing down a list of important documents to take with you, taking legal action, and how to cope emotionally.
A good safety plan will be personalized to your unique situation, and will provide guidance on how to navigate different scenarios.
Call Willow’s 24/7 Hotline (585) 222-SAFE for personalized guidance with Safety Planning.
For detailed general guidelines on Safety Planning, Willow recommends this national resource, the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Safety Planning When Preparing To Leave
- Open a savings account in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence if possible
- Have a packed bag ready and keep it in a secret place that is easy to reach
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone you trust
- Keep the shelter phone number close at hand, or better yet, memorize it, and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls. You can also call 2-1-1- and ask to be connected to Willow
Safety In Your Own Home
- Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows
- Inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see your partner near your home
- Change your phone number
- If you are able, save all messages with threats
Safety and Your Children
- Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them
- Give them a code word
- Teach them not to get into the middle of a fight
- Inform your children’s school, day care, etc., about who has permission to pick up your children, give them a picture of the abuser if possible
Your Safety and Emotional Health
- Consider attending a support group to gain support from others and to learn more about yourself and the relationship
Important Items to Take With You If You Leave
- Social security cards
- Birth certificates
- Children’s birth certificates
- Marriage license
- Charge cards/debit cards
- Bank statements
- Proof of income
All services are free of charge and confidential.