Serving Victims of Crime

Safety Plan

The following steps represent a plan developed by the Nashville Police Department for increasing your safety and preparing in advance for the possibility for further violence. Although you do not have control over your partner's violence, you do have a choice about how to respond to him (or her) and how to best get yourself and your children to safety.

Please print this page, fill it out completely, and keep it in a safe place.

Step 1: Safety during a violent incident

I cannot always avoid violent incidents. In order to increase safety, I may use some or all of the following strategies:

A. If I decide to leave, I will: __________________________________________________________________________________.
(Practice how to get out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells or fire escapes will I use?)

B. I can keep my purse and car keys ready in case I need to leave quickly, and put them: __________________________________.

C. I can tell __________ about the violence and request they call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my house.

D. I can teach my children how to use the telephone to contact the police and the fire department.

E. I will use _______________________ as my code for my children or my friends so they can call for help.

F. If I have to leave my home, I will go: _______________________. (Decide this even if you don't think there will be a next time.)

If I cannot go to the location above, then I can go to: ____________________________ or ________________________________.

G. I can also teach some of these strategies to some/all my children.

H. When I expect we are going to have an argument, I will try to move to a space that is lowest risk, such as __________________.
(Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, near weapons or in rooms without access to an outside door).

I. I will use my judgment and intuition. If the situation is very serious, I can give my partner what he (or she) wants to calm him (or her) down. I have to protect myself until I (or we) are out of danger.

Step 2: Safety when preparing to leave

Battered women frequently leave the residence they share with the battering partner. Leaving must be done with a careful plan in order to increase safety. Batterers often strike back when they believe that a battered woman is leaving the relationship.

I can use some or all the following safety strategies:

A. I will leave money and an extra set of keys with ________________________ so that I can leave quickly.

B. I will keep copies of important documents or keys at _____________________________________________________________.

C. I will open a savings account by ________________________, to increase my independence.

D. Other things I can do to increase my independence include:





E. The Idaho Domestic Violence Hot Line number is 800 669-3176 and I can seek shelter by calling this hot line. I can also call: ____________________.

F. I can keep change for phone calls on me at all times. I understand that if I use my telephone credit card, the following month the telephone bill will tell my batterer those numbers that I called after I left. To keep my telephone communications confidential, I must either use coins or I might get a friend to permit me to use their telephone credit card for a limited time when I first leave.

G. I will check with ____________ and _____________ to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.

H. I can leave extra clothes with _________________________.

I. I will sit down and review my safety plan every ___________________ in order to plan the safest way to leave the residence.

___________________________________ (domestic violence advocate or friend) has agreed to help me review this plan.

J. I will rehearse my escape plan and, as appropriate, practice it with my children.

Step 3: Safety in my own residence

There are many things that a woman can do to increase her safety in her own residence. It may be impossible to do everything at once, but safety measures can be added step by step.

Safety measures I can use include:

A. I can change the locks on my doors and windows as soon as possible.

B. I can replace wooden doors with steel doors.

C. I can install security systems including additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, an electronic system, etc.

D. I can purchase rope ladders to be used for escape from second floor windows.

E. I can install smoke detectors and purchase fire extinguishers for each floor in my house or apartment.

F. I can install an outside lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to my house.

G. I will teach my children how to use the telephone to make a collect call to me and to __________________(friend/minister/other) in the event that my partner takes the children.

H. I will tell people who take care of my children which people have permission to pick up my children and that my partner is not permitted to do so. The people I will inform about pick-up permission include:

__________________________________________(day care staff),


__________________________________________(Sunday school teacher),




I. I can inform _____________________________(neighbors),

_________________________________________(pastor), and,

_________________________________________(friend) that my partner no longer resides with me and they should call the police if he is observed near my residence.

Step 4: Safety with an Order of Protection

Many battered women obey protection orders, but one can never be sure
which violent partner will obey and which will violate protection orders. I recognize that I may need to ask the police and the court to enforce my protection order.

The following are some steps that I can take to help the enforcement of my protection order:

A. I will keep my protection order ______________________________________________(location)
(Always keep it on or near your person. If you change purses, that's the first thing that should go in.)

B. I will give my protection order to police departments in the communities where I usually visit family or friends, and in the community where I live.

C. There should be a county registry of protection orders that all police departments can call to confirm a protection order. I can check to make sure that my order is in registry. The telephone number for the county registry of protection order is __________________________________________.

D. For further safety, if I often visit other counties in Idaho, I might file my protection order with the court in those counties. I will register my protection order in the following counties:

___________________________ and __________________________ that I have a protection order in effect.

E. I can call the local domestic violence program if I am not sure about B, C, or D above or if I have some problem with my protection order.

F. I will inform my employer, my minister, my closest friend and _____________ and ____________that I have a protection order in effect.

G. If my partner destroys my protection order, I can get another copy from the County Courthouse.
(If I'm unsure of how to do this, I can contact my advocate or local shelter.)

H. If my partner violates the protection order, I can call the police and report a violation, contact my attorney, call my advocate, and/or advise the court of the violation.

I. If the police do no help, I can contact my advocate or attorney and will file a complaint with the chief of the police department.

J. I can also file a private criminal compliant with the district justice in the jurisdiction where the violation occurred or with the district attorney. I can charge my battering partner with a violation of the Order of Protection and all the crimes that he commits in violating the order. I can call the domestic violence advocate to help me with this.

Step 5: Safety on the job and in public

Each battered woman must decide if and when she will tell others that her partner has battered her and that she may be at continued risk. Friends, family and co-workers can help to protect women. Each woman should consider carefully which people to invite to help secure her safety.

I might do any or all of the following:

A. I can inform my boss, the security supervisor and _______________________________ at work of my situation.

B. I can ask _________________________________ to help screen my telephone calls at work.

C. When leaving work, I can ___________________________________________________________________________________.

D. When driving home if problems occur, I can ___________________________________________________________________.

E. If I use public transit, I can _________________________________________________________________________________.

F. I will go to different grocery stores and shopping malls to conduct my business and shop at hours that are different than those when residing with my battered partner.

G. I can use a different bank and take care of my banking at hours different from those I used when residing with my battered partner.

H. I can also ____________________________________________________________________.

Step 6: Safety and drug or alcohol use

Most people in this culture use alcohol. Many use mood-altering drugs. Much of this use is legal and some is not. The legal outcomes of using illegal drugs can be very hard on a battered woman, may hurt her relationship with her children and put her at a disadvantage in other legal actions with her battering partner.

Therefore, women should carefully consider the potential cost of the use of illegal drugs. But beyond this, the use of any alcohol or other drug can reduce a woman's awareness and ability to act quickly to protect herself from her battering partner. Furthermore, the use of alcohol or other drugs by the batterer may give him/her an excuse to use violence. Therefore, in the context of drug or alcohol use, a woman needs to make specific safety plans.

If drug or alcohol use has occurred in my relationship with the battering partner, I can enhance my safety by some or all of the following:

A. If I am going to use, I can do so in a safe place and with people who understand the risk of violence and are committed to my safety.

B. I can also _________________________________________________________.

C. If my partner is using, I can __________________________________________.

D. I might also _______________________________________________________.

E. To safeguard my children, I might __________________________________and _______________________________________.

Step 7: Safety and my emotional health

The experience of being battered and verbally degraded by partners is usually exhausting and emotionally draining. The process of building a new life for myself takes much courage and incredible energy.

To conserve my emotional energy and resources and to avoid hard emotional times, I can do some of the following:

A. If I feel down and ready to return to a potentially abusive situation, I can _____________________________________________.

B. When I have to communicate with my partner in person or by telephone, I can ________________________________________.

C. I can try to use, "I can . . . " statements with myself and to be assertive with others.

D. I can tell myself - "______________________________________________________________" whenever I feel others are trying to control or abuse me.

E. I can read ____________________________to help me feel stronger.

F. I can call ___________________, ___________________ and _________________as other resources to be of support of me.

G. Other things I can do to help me feel stronger are __________________________, and _______________________________.

H. I can attend workshops and support groups at the domestic violence program or _________________________, or ____________________to gain support and strengthen my relationship with other people.

Step 8: Items to take when leaving

When women leave partners, it is important to take certain items with them. Beyond this, women sometimes give an extra copy of papers and an extra set of clothing to a friend just in case they have to leave quickly.

Money: Even if I have never worked, I can legally take 1/2 of the funds in the checking and savings accounts as Idaho is a community property state. If I don't take any money from the accounts, he can legally take all money and/or close the account and I may not get my share until the court rules on it if ever.

Items with asterisks on the following list are the most important to take. If there is time, the other items might be taken, or stored outside the home. These items might be placed in one location, so that if we have to leave in a hurry, I can grab them quickly.

When I leave, I should have:

  • Identification for myself
  • Children's birth certificate
  • My birth certificate
  • Social security cards
  • School and vaccination records
  • Money
  • Checkbook, ATM (Automatic Tellers Machine) card
  • Credit cards
  • Keys - house/car/office
  • Driver's license and registration
  • Medication
  • Welfare identification, work permits, Green card
  • Passport(s), Divorce papers
  • Medical records - for all family members
  • Lease/rental agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book
  • Bank books, Insurance papers
  • Small saleable objects
  • Address book
  • Pictures, jewelry
  • Children's favorite toys and/or blankets
  • Items of special sentimental value

Telephone numbers I need to know:

Police Department - 911

Battered Women's Program _______________________________________________________

County registry of protection orders ________________________________________________

Work number___________________________________________________________________

Supervisor's home number_________________________________________________________



I will keep this document in a safe place and out of the reach of my potential attacker.

Review date:_________________________

If you need help filling out this plan, please call a police officer, a trusted friend, or the Idaho Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-669-3176 for a referral to an advocate.