You and your family’s safety is important. Create a safety plan that works for you.
What is a Safety Plan?
A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan you create to improve your safety while experiencing violence. These plans can include steps to address your safety while you are staying with the person causing you harm, fleeing during an escalated incident, planning to leave, or maintaining your safety after leaving. Each safety plan is unique to each individual person and situation and they can be adjusted or changed as needed. There may be special considerations you want to include in your safety plan based on your identity. Below are tips to consider when creating a safety plan.
If you want to create your own safety plan, you can use the interactive safety planning guide on the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s website.
If you would like help creating your safety plan or have questions about how to create a safety plan, contact Day One to discuss safety plans with an advocate in your area.
Domestic Violence or Abuse Safety Plan FAQ
What can I do to prepare for an emergency or an escalating domestic violence incident?
- What is the best escape route from your home? Consider how to get you and your children out quickly and safely.
- Identify a code word or emoji to use when things are escalating and you are in danger. Share this code with your children, family, friends and neighbors and be clear about the action you would like them to take when you use the code. Examples could include:
- Having your children hide in their room or leave and go to the neighbors house/apartment;
- Having a trusted friend or family member pick you up outside with a pre-arranged go-bag;
- Having a neighbor call 911.
- If an argument is unavoidable, stay out of rooms with no escape routes such as bathrooms, kitchens, or basements, as well as any rooms that may contain potential weapons such as knives or tools.
- Call the Minnesota Day One Crisis Hotline at 1.866.223.1111 for safe housing options if you are seeking to leave home.
- If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
How can I make plans to leave my home or abuser?
- Keep the number for the Minnesota Day One Crisis Hotline (1.866.223.1111) and a cell phone or change for a pay phone with you at all times.
- Leave money, keys, important documents, and a change of clothing for you and your children with a trusted friend so that you can leave quickly.
- Hide keys or money for a bus or taxi where you can get them if your friend is not home.
- Identify a public place (police station, hospital) open 24-hours daily where you can go for help.
- Open bank accounts in your own name to establish credit and have an emergency fund, if possible.
- Review your safety plan often. Leaving your abuser can be an emotional and dangerous time.
- Try to obtain a cellphone for yourself. Consider a pay-as-you-go phone that you keep in a safe place to so you can make sensitive calls without being tracked. Read about Computer & Phone Safety.
- When leaving, make sure to turn off any location tracking settings on your phones, tablets, and computers.
How can I get an Order for Protection (OFP) and how can it help me?
- You may want to consider obtaining an Order for Protection. However, Orders for Protection do not guarantee your safety. If you are unsure about filing an Order for Protection, please speak with an advocate today to decide if this is an option for you.
- An Order for Protection (OFP) is a court order that tells the person hurting you to stop doing so. For more information about an Order for Protection.
- Call a domestic violence agency in your area for information about an Order for Protection (OFP) and support regarding the legal process.
- When an OFP is granted, it is a good idea to always keep a copy with you. Although there is a database for law enforcement to look up orders, it may be a good idea to keep extra copies at work, your children’s school and daycare (if the order is on behalf of your children or the order spells out custody and parenting time arrangements), in your car, in your purse, and with relatives or friends.
- Give a copy of your OFP to your local police department. Call the police if the order is violated.
How can I be safe in my home from my abuser?
- Change your locks as soon as possible. Secure windows and install outdoor lighting.
- Install a security doorbell or camera if possible to add an extra layer of protection. If you have an Order for Protection or will be entering custody hearings, you may want to consider having a subscription for these devices, which would allow you to save any recordings as proof.
- Make a safety plan with your children for times when you are not all home together. For more information on improving the safety of your children, go to Protect Your Kids.
- Inform daycare providers and school staff who has permission to pick up your children and consider sharing a picture of your abuser or your abuser’s vehicle information.
- Tell neighbors and your landlord that your partner no longer lives with you.
- Inform them they should call the police if they see him/her near your home or if they hear suspicious noises.
- Consider enrolling in Safe at Home if you would like to keep a new address confidential from your abuser.
How can I protect myself at work and in public from my abuser?
- Consider telling your employer and supervisor that you have an abusive partner. If you have a Protection Order, consider giving a copy to your employer.
- Share a photo of your abuser with building security or reception and create a plan for if your abuser arrives at your work location. You may want to establish a code with this individual to alert you if the abuser shows up.
- If there is a secondary exit, consider parking near that door in case you need to leave suddenly and the front entrance is not safe.
- Arrange for a coworker to screen your calls and escort you to your bus stop or car.
- If you are not living with your abuser, you may want to change up the routes to and from work, especially if you are worried they are following you.
- If you have a car, you may want to see if there is a location tracker hidden on the vehicle. Some smartphones are able to search for these devices. Reach out to an advocate or your local police department if you would like assistance with searching for a tracker.
How can I improve my physical safety and emotional health after experiencing domestic violence?
- Therapy services, Grounding techniques, Mind Body Medicine, Breathing Exercises, Meditation
- Read books, articles, and poems to help you feel stronger.
- Read through our Survivor’s Rights to start to rebuild from a position of strength and hope.
- Enroll yourself and your children in support groups and parenting skills classes.
- If you must communicate with your abuser, determine the safest way to do so.
- Keep in contact with supportive friends, family and advocates.
Safety Planning and Culturally-Specific Factors
Safety planning is unique to every individual and their situation and background. There are culturally-specific considerations to factor in while safety planning. For more information, visit our Culturally-Specific Communities and Safety page.
At Day One, we can help you create your safety plan.
If you would like help creating your safety plan or have questions about how to create a safety plan, call the Day One Crisis Hotline 1.866.223.1111 to speak with an advocate (interpreters are available), text 612-399-9995, or click the CHAT NOW button on this site to connect with a Day One advocate. A Day One advocate is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you.
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.