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Safety Strategies in Abusive Relationships

If you are in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1

Although you can't control an abuser's use of violence, one way to protect yourself in abusive relationships is by planning how you will respond to future abusive or violent incidents, preparing for the possibility of an incident happening, and planning how get to safety by creating a  safety plan which may assist in mental and strategic preparation. It is your decision if and when you tell others that you have been abused, or that you are still at risk. Friends, family, and coworkers can help with your safety plan if they are aware the situation and want to help.


If you are in the relationship

  • Plan ahead where you can go if the abuser shows signs of escalating.
  • Make a list of safe people to contact (DV program, friends, relatives, attorney, and important persons/services).
  • Have numbers for local domestic violence services on campus and in the community.
  • Pack and have ready a bag or suitcase of essentials, including medications.
    • Include cash if you can and any other valuables that you don’t want to leave behind.
  • Obtain and secure personal documents and information for you, and if you have children, for them as well:
    • birth certificates, driver’s license, social security cards, immunization records, passports, licenses, bank accounts, debit and credit cards, checkbooks, W-2s, paystubs, insurance cards and policies, school records, clothing, and keys.
  • Any documentation that you might have about the abuse, pictures, recordings, medical records, and police reports are also very important to have.
  • Find a safe place to hide these—with a friend, relative, and/or another place the abuser cannot access.

If you are in the home during an incident

  • Avoid rooms with no exits, like bathrooms and closets.
  • Avoid rooms with weapons, like the kitchen.
  • Get to a room with a door or a window to escape.
  • If it is possible, lock the abuser outside. Call 911.
  • Get medical attention if you are hurt.

If you have children

  • Create a safety plan appropriate for their age. If children are old enough, have them get out of the house and alert a neighbor (that you have already contacted, is safe, knows about your situation, and is willing to help), and call 911.
  • Practice the safety plan with your children.
  • Instruct them not to get physically involved in the incident and instead “go” to their safe place (already established).
  • If going to a safe place or neighbor’s house is not possible, teach them to call 911.
  • Have older children take younger children to a safer room in the house, already established.

If you are not in the relationship

  • Change your phone number and other contact information.
  • Speak to an advocate on campus or in the community to review your options.
  • Consider getting a restraining/protective order.
  • Screen your calls.
  • Save and document all contact, messages, injuries, or other incidents involving the abuser.
  • Change your locks.
  • Avoid being alone.
  • Plan how to get away if confronted by the abuser.
  • If you have to meet the abuser do it in a public place.
  • Vary your routine.
  • If you have a restraining or protective order, always have a copy with you. Leave a copy at school and at work. If you have children, leave a copy at your children’s school and every place your children might spend time (childcare center, grandparents, friends, etc.).
  • Find out if there is a domestic violence response policy at your school and work place and ask questions if you don't understand how it works.
  • Consider joining a support group at a local domestic violence program.
  • If you need to retrieve things, ask for a police escort or bring friends with you. Never take the risk of being alone with the abuser.

Safety Plan

A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in an abusive relationship, while you’re planning to leave or after you leave. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action and anything else relevant to your unique situation. A good safety plan will have all of the vital information you need, and it will help walk you through different scenarios.

Safety Plan Print Out

Safety Apps

Pasted below are safety apps that you can utilize as an increased safety measure.

Free safety apps:
Circle of 6 -
Kitestring - 
Additional Safety Apps
BSafe - 
EmergenSee -
Live Safe -