First Step Womens Shelter

Making a Safety Plan

SAFETY PLAN - Courtesy of Shelternet

Making a safety plan involves identifying the steps you can take to increase your safety and helps to prepare you and your children in advance for the possibility of further violence.

My Personal Safety Plan

While I do not have control over my abuser's violence, I can make myself and my children safer by planning actions that will help us deal with the abuse.

I will use this plan as a guide and reminder to help me find ways to be safe. If I am concerned that my abuser will find  a printout, I will write the points I believe apply to me on a separate piece of paper and hide it in a safe place.

I will review and update this plan on a regular basis so that I will be ready in case my situation changes.


What I Can Do Before A Violent Incident:

If I believe my partner will be violent, there are a number of things I can think about in advance. I can prepare to leave by doing some of the following things,

I will keep a suitcase, box or bag________________________________ where I can get to it quickly and easily. In it, I will keep as many of the following items as I can:

  • An extra set of keys for the apartment or house and vehicle
  • Small bills and change for taxis and telephone call
  • Identification papers - passport, social insurance card, birth certificates, immigration papers, citizenship card, aboriginal status card
  • Driver's licence and registration
  • Health cards and children's immunization records for myself and my children
  • Divorce and custody papers
  • Restraining orders, peace bonds, any other court orders
  • Bank books, cheque book, credit cards, mortgage or loan papers
  • Lease/rental agreement, property deed, business or partnership agreements, rent or mortgage payment receipts
  • Address book
  • Photograph of my (ex) partner to help identify him/her
  • A list of other items I can pick up later

I can keep my purse, wallet, personal identification, keys and other emergency items __________________ in case I have to leave suddenly.

I can open a separate bank account in my name at _______________. I will request that any statements be sent to _______________ so that my abuser doesn't see them.

I can also check to see how much money is in our joint account in case I need to remove half the money quickly. If my abuser knows my account or PINnumber, I will ____________________________________.

I can help my children escape by telling them _______________________________. I will teach them the number of the local police _________________ and other emergency numbers such as _____________________.

I will review and revise my safety plan every ____________________________.


What I Can Do During a Violent Incident

I must be able to think and act quickly in order to keep myself and my children safe during a violent episode. Here are some things I can do to increase my safety.

I can make sure I can grab my clothes and/or my children's clothes quickly by _______________________. If my abuser asks me what I'm doing, I will tell him/her_____________________________.

I trust ______________________ and ___________________ to tell them about my situation. I will use the code word _________________ to let them know I am in danger and to contact police immediately.

I can use the code word ________________ with my children so that they can protect themselves during a violent incident.

I will look in each room and figure out the best way to escape. I will try to stay out of places such as the bathroom and kitchen if there is no outside exit.I will also try to avoid places where weapons such as knives or guns are kept.

On the main floor, the best way to get out is _______________________________
On the second floor, the best way to get out is ______________________________
In the basement, the best way to get out is _________________________________

I will use my judgment and intuition. If the situation is very dangerous, I should consider _______________ to calm down my abuser. I will remember that my first priority is to keep myself and my children safe.

I will review and revise this safety plan every _______________________


My Child(ren)'s Safety

I know that the best thing my children can do for me during a violent episode is to get away and protect themselves. I can tell them to ______________________________ if they see me being abused.

I can teach them to pick a safe room like _____________ , preferably with a lock and access to a telephone. It is important to me and to them that they get out of the room where the abuse is occurring as soon as possible.

I can tell them their most important job is to keep themselves safe. I will explain it using these words________________________________________

I will teach them how to call for help. If they cannot safely get to a telephone in my home, I will talk to them about using our neighbour's ________________________ phone or the nearest payphone, which is located at ___________________________.

I will make sure they know they don't need money to dial an emergency number. If I have a cell phone, I will teach them how to dial 9-1-1 or other emergency number.

I will make sure they know their name and address if they need help. If we live in the country, I will teach them their address, including concession and lot number.

I can rehearse what my children will say when they call for help. For instance, we can practise how to contact the police like this:

  • Dial 911.
  • An operator will answer:
  • "Police, Fire, Ambulance."

Your child says:

  • Police.

Then your child says:

  • My name is ______________.
  • I am ____years old.
  • I need help. Send the police.
  • Someone is hurting my mom.
  • The address here is _______________.
  • The phone number here is ______________.

I will teach my children to leave the phone off the hook after they are done talking. The police may call the number back if they hang up, which could create a dangerous situation for me and my child/children.

I will pick a safe place such as ______________to meet my children outside our home after the situation is safe for me and for them (so we can easily find each other). I will teach my children the safest route to the planned place of safety for them.

We will review and revise our safety plan every ________________________.


What I Can Do When I Am Living in a New Place

I can increase security by ___________________________________________.

I may want to change the locks and put bars on the windows if I think my (ex) partner has a key.

I will talk to my children and tell them to _________________________________ if my (ex) partner shows up.

I will teach my children how to dial police or ambulance numbers. In my area, the number for police is ________________.

I will keep copies of any court orders with me at all times. I will give copies of these orders to (school, day care, police) _________________________________________ and tell them to call me if they see my partner. I will give these people copies of my partner's photograph so they can recognize him/her.

I can install a peephole my children can use. I will tell them to ___________________ if my abuser shows up.

I can get these features installed on my telephone (call blocking, call display, unpublished number, speed dial) ________________________to increase my safety.

I can block email messages from my partner or switch Internet service providers. If my abuser can access my email password, I can __________________________________.

I can have the emergency numbers in my area ready by writing them out.

Emergency Numbers:

Women's Shelter: 1-800-465-3623 (Sioux Lookout)
Women's Shelter: 1-800-565-5368 (Red Lake)
Women's Shelter: 1-800-465-7221 (Dryden)
Crisis Line______________________________________________________
Children's Services_______________________________________________
Other services___________________________________________________

I can install fire detectors and extinguishers on each floor. I will put them _______________________________________.

Here are some other things I can do to increase my safety__________________________


Safety in My Neighbourhood

I will tell _________________________ to call police if they hear a fight in my home.
I will tell __________________________ who can and cannot pick up my child(ren).
I can ask ______________________ to look after my children in an emergency situation.
I can ask ________________________ to keep my emergency escape plan items at their house.

I can switch banks, grocery stores and other services so that I can avoid running into my abuser. I can go to _________________ at different times than I did when I was with my partner.

I may want to change my doctor, dentist or other professional services if I think my partner may track me down there. I will explain my situation to ________________.

I can make sure my name is not on my mailbox or in an apartment directory.


How I Can Increase My Safety at Work

I can tell (my boss, co-workers, human resource personnel) ______________ of my situation.

I can ask _____________________ to help screen my telephone calls at work. I can also use voice mail to screen calls.

I can block unwanted emails or send them to a folder where I do not have to read them.

When I leave, I can ask ________________________ to walk me to my car to ensure my safety.

I can get a "call police" banner for my car to alert other drivers.

If I run into problems on my way home I can ________________________________.

If I agree to see my abuser, I can go to a public place such as ________________________ so that we will not be in an isolated place.

Some other safety precautions I can take are________________________________


Safety with A Court Order

I can report to the police any violations of the conditions of a court order. If the police officer will not help me, I can report the breach to the OPP Detachment Commander or the Chief of Police in the area where the court order was violated. I can get a copy of my partner's court order from the court offices located at __________________________ and keep it with me at all times.

If my partner destroys the order, I can get another copy at _______________________

If I move to another town or district, I will notify the local police of the court order, my new location and my partner's history of violent behavior. I will do the same thing if I often visit other cities/towns/countries. The numbers I need to call are______________.

I will tell the following people (boss, religious leader, close friend, counselor ______________________________________ about the order, including all conditions.


Taking Care of My Emotional Well-Being

I realize that I have been through a lot and I may be feeling exhausted and emotionally drained. I know that building a new life free of violence takes a great deal of courage and requires a lot of energy. Here are some things I can do to take care of my health. I may choose as many of these options as I feel comfortable doing.

  • Attend as many Crisis Counselling group sessions as I can.
  • Become involved in community activities to reduce feeling isolated.
  • Take a part-time job to reduce isolation and to improve my finances.
  • Enroll in school to increase my skills.
  • Join support groups of other women to gain support and strengthen my relationships with other people.
  • Take time for myself to read, meditate, play music, etc.
  • Spend time with people who make me feel good and provide support.
  • Take part in social activities, e.g. movie, dinner, exercise.
  • Take care of my sleep and nutritional needs.
  • Keep a personal journal to write about my feelings, especially when I am feeling low or vulnerable. I will keep it in a safe place or burn it.
  • Take time to prepare myself emotionally before entering stressful situations like talking with my partner, meeting with lawyers, or attending court.
  • Try not to overbook myself - limit myself to one appointment per day to reduce stress.
  • Be creative and do whatever makes me feel good.
  • Write something positive about myself everyday - my own personal affirmations.
  • I will not find my comfort in excessive use of alcohol or food - it only serves to increase my depression.
  • Avoid excessive shopping and impulse buying.
  • Join a health club or start an exercise program. It will increase my energy level and sense of well being.
  • It's OK to feel angry, but find positive and constructive ways to express my anger.
  • Remember that I am the most important person to take care of right now.

I will review and revise the sections of the safety plan that apply to me every __________________ to make sure I am on track.


Safety for Women in Special Circumstances (Rural Women, Women with Disabilities, Immigrant Women)

If I am concerned my partner will track me down by long-distance telephone records, I will find out the toll-free number of the closest shelter. That number is ____________.

If I cannot leave my home because of disabilities, I will contact__________________ to make arrangements for transportation when my partner is not there.

I do not feel comfortable speaking English, so I will ask _________________ to translate or help me find someone to talk to me in another language.

I can ask ___________________ if I am concerned about my animals' welfare should I leave.


Here are some other things I can do to feel safer