Safety Planning

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

  • Identification
  • Social security cards
  • Birth certificates
  • Children’s birth certificates
  • Money
  • Medications
  • Keys
  • Marriage license
  • Checkbook
  • Charge cards/debit cards
  • Bank statements
  • Proof of income

All services are free of charge and confidential.