The most important thing for victims of domestic violence is safety. If you are in an abusive situation, we encourage you to develop a safety plan. A safety plan is a comprehensive plan for protecting yourself and your children from domestic violence and/or to help you safely escape from the violence and your abuser. Often, writing out your plan helps you regain security and control of your life. Remember, this plan should be used as a guide and a reminder of ways you and your family can increase your safety.
If you are a teenager in an abusive dating relationship or you are the parent of a child or teenager who is exposed to an abusive environment, encourage them to develop a youth safety plan.
The safety plan should be hidden in a safe place where the abuser is unlikely to find it. It should also be reviewed and updated on a regular basis if the situation or living environment changes.
You can call our 24-Hour Hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119 and an advocate will help you create a safety plan or you can download your own printable version of an adult and/or youth safety plan.
If you need to leave, try to take with you…
- Marriage and driver’s licenses
- Birth certificates (yours and family’s)
- Money, checkbooks, credit cards, ATM cards, mortgage payment book, car title
- Social Security card, work permit, green card, passport, visa
- Divorce, custody papers and restraining order
- Insurance papers and medical records
- Lease, rental agreement and/or house deed
- School and health records
- Keys (house, car, office, friend’s)
- Medications, glasses, hearing aids, etc. needed by you and your family
- Personal items (address book, pictures, toys)
- Copies of your spouse’s green card or social security card and all immigration related documents
- Benefit card
Safety During an Explosive Incident
- Go to an area that has an exit: Not a bathroom, kitchen, or near any hard surfaces, weapons, or items that could be used as weapons.
- Stay in a room with a phone: Call 911, a friend or a neighbor if possible. Inform them if there are weapons in the home.
- Know your escape route: Practice how to get out of your home safely. Visualize your escape route.
- Have a packed bag ready: Keep it hidden in a handy place in order to leave quickly, or leave the bag elsewhere if the abuser searches your home.
- Devise a code word or signal: Tell your children, friends or neighbors so you can communicate to them that you need the police.
- Know where you’re going: Plan where you will go if you have to leave home, even if you don’t think you’ll need to.
- Trust your judgment: Consider anything that you feel will keep you safe and give you time to figure out what to do next. Sometimes it is best to leave right away, sometimes it is best to stay until your abuser calms down