Safety planning is very important when facing domestic/sexual violence. If you are in a relationship that you feel is unsafe at times, safety planning will help you either get to a place of safety or give you tools to stay as safe as you can in your situation.
PERSONALIZED SAFETY PLAN- Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence/ www.mocadsv.org
Safety plans might help you anticipate the dangers you may face. Just as abusers continually shift their tactics of power and control, your safety plan is an adaptable tool to help increase your safety in your ever-changing situation .
WHEN TO USE A SAFETY PLAN-Safety plans can be made for a variety of situations: for dealing with an emergency, such as when you are threatened with a physical assault of an assault has occurred; for continuing to live with or date a partner who has been abusive; or for protecting yourself after you have ended a relationship with an abusive partner.
USE WHAT YOU ALREADY KNOW--If you are a woman or man who has been abused, you probably know more about safety planning and risk assessment than you might realize. Being in a relationship with an abusive partner and surviving requires considerable skill and resourcefulness. Anytime you do or say something as a way to protect yourself or your children, you are assessing risk and enacting a safely plan. You do it all the time; its just not always a conscious process.
THINK IT THROUGH--It can be a helpful strategy to evaluate risks and make safety plans in a more intentional way. Whether you are currently with your partner or have ended the relationship, and whether you choose to use available services or to involve the police, there are certain things that are helpful to consider in planning for your future.
BE AWARE OF DANGERS--If you are planning to leave your partner of already have left, be aware that batterers often escalate their violence during times of separation, increasing your risk for harm, including serious and life-threatening injury. Making a separation safely plan can help reduce the risks to you and your children.
EVALUATE YOUR OPTIONS--Only you can judge who it's safe to tell about your situation and who to ask for help. Sometimes, people who don't have good information about domestic violence respond to women who have been abused in ways that aren't helpful, even when they mean well. On the other hand, you might feel comfortable asking for help from someone you know. It's your decision. The important thing is for you to identify all the people who might be willing and able to help you. Make a list of their phone numbers and attach it to your safety plan for easy reference.
PLAN AHEAD--You don't have to wait for an emergency to ask for help. In fact, its a good idea to talk to people who can help before there's a crisis. Find out what they are willing and able to do for you. That way, you'll know in advance if you have a place to stay, a source of financial assistance or a person to keep copies of important papers.
REDUCE YOUR RISK--No woman has control over her partners violence, but women can and do find ways to reduce their risk of harm. Your safety plan dies not need to be written down (especially if you fear your abuser will find it), thought you may choose to. There's no right or wrong way to develop a safety plan. Make it your own, and review it regularly to make changes as needed.
Safe Passage, PO Box 456, Moberly, MO 65270 Business (660)269-8999 Fax (660)263-8492