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Safety planning is critical for individuals that want an organized plan to avoid or to react to dangerous scenarios. If you feel like you may be in an abusive situation, whether it is happening now or might happen in the future, having a safety plan is recommended. While each safety plan is different, it can include information about how others can help you in a time of need, how you can defend yourself and others around you in an abusive situation, and resources that you can contact if you feel threatened. Listed below are some tips on safety planning for specific situations. If you would like further help, please contact the CARD-V hotline.

Safety plans are not always plans to leave an abuser. You know your situation the best and can decide if you would be more secure leaving or staying. Safety plans are for both situations because your safety is the most important priority. It is recommended to create separate safety plans for different scenarios.


Safety Planning Tips


Safety while living with an abusive partner

-Find escape routes in your home that are away from weapons

-Have many practical reasons/excuses for leaving your home at different times of the day

-Keep a charged phone near you at all times

-Discuss code words or signals with a trusted friend or family member in case of an emergency

-Keep an emergency bag hidden in case you have to leave suddenly


Safety while leaving an abusive partner

-Find a time where you can leave safely

-Plan how you will travel safely once you are out of your home

-Find a safe place to stay (trusted friend/family member’s home, local shelter, etc)

-Take your emergency bag with you filled with important documents and items

-Contact local resources if you need help


Safety with children

-Teach your children how to escape safely

-Remind them not to intervene in a violent situation

-Teach your children how to call 911 in an emergency

-Have a plan of where the children can go in an emergency (trusted neighbor, grandparents, etc.)


Safety with pets

-Ask trusted friends or family members to provide a temporary home for your pet

-Visit the Animal Welfare Institute website to find local shelters that take care of pets from domestic violence victims (

-If the abuser has the pet, ask law enforcement officers if they can intervene

-If you have left your abuser and have your pet, consider changing veterinarians


Checklist of Emergency Situation Items

-Order of protection copy

-Birth certificate

-Vaccination and medical records

-Social Security cards

-Welfare identification

-Green cards

-Driver’s license and registration


-Address book



-Credit cards



Resources on Safety Planning

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

-Tips for specific safety planning


Love is Respect website

-Interactive safety planning guide


Domestic Violence Resource Center

-Tips for safety planning and a checklist if you plan on leaving an abusive situation