What is a Safety Plan?

A Safety Plan helps victims of abuse increase their safety while in an abusive relationship, planning to leave, in the process of leaving, and leaving. Safety plans are created to meet the unique situation of each victim. The plans address important steps for staying as safe as possible, including: how to let others know you need help, documentation, legal options, how to protect children and pets, self-health, how to deal with the mental and emotional challenges of leaving an abusive relationship, and more.

Safety Planning does not need to be overwhelming, and victims do not need to do it alone. The MSCFV team will help victims create their plan and will work with them every step of the way, if that is what the victim wants. If you want help creating your safety plan, call us anytime at 1-800-927-HOPE (4673) or start a Chat with us through this website.

Things to consider as you are creating your safety plan?

Is there someone you trust to tell your story to? Could they be part of your safety plan?

Is there a safe place in your house with less items that can be used to hurt you or your children or pets? If possible, this space should have multiple exits.

What are your biggest fears when you think about leaving? How can you address these fears in your Safety Plan?

Do you have children? If so:

  • Did you talk to them about what they should do while the abuse is occurring?
  • Do you have a custody arrangement?
  • Do they have a safe space?

Do you have pets and if so, how can you keep them safe? [Note – MSCFV has a Pet Safety Program so you don’t have to leave your pets behind.]

What do you absolutely need to have if you leave in a hurry? This could include medicines, cash (your abuser may cancel or track your credit cards), list of phone numbers, phones and phone chargers, clothes for overnight, car keys, ...

Do you have your important documents together and easy to grab and go? Some document you may want are:

  • Driver’s license
  • Birth certificate for you and your children
  • Financial information (banking, credit card, loans, …)
  • Protective order
  • Work permits/green Card/visa
  • Divorce and custody papers

More recommendations on documents you may want to have can be found on the LoveIsRespect website at: https://www.loveisrespect.org/for-yourself/safety-planning/ under the “When You Leave” tab. While it is good to have this documentation, please don’t stay with your abuser just because you don’t have these documents. MSCFV can help you with or without these papers.

You do not have to create a Safety Plan by yourself. And while it is recommended to have a Safety Plan, not having any or all of these items does not mean that you should stay with your abuser. For help on Safety Planning, on increasing your safety when you are ready to leave, or other information on leaving abusive relationships, call us at 1-800-927-4673, or chat with us at [add chat link]. Safety Planning is one of many ways we can help you, including emergency shelter, free legal services, mental health care, housing and housing supports, food and supplies, and more.

If you are not ready to give us a call but would like more information on Safety Planning, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has some great information at https://www.thehotline.org/help/path-to-safety/.