Create a Safety Plan
An insult turns into a slap turns into a punch…you want out. Danger increases when you attempt to end an abusive relationship. This is the MOST dangerous time for you. You must create a safety plan for yourself. You must prepare yourself. Take control over what you can. Be prepared, and make careful plans. Involve as many people as possible to support you.
- You may need to inform your school or place of work so that a safety plan can be implemented with their support. Talk to your school counselor, if you do not get support, you may need to contact the police or the state domestic violence hotline. Do not be afraid to ask for support.
- Avoid being alone with the abuser. This may not be easy, but you must take the control out of his hands. Do not get in his car or go for a walk or go away to talk privately. He wants to isolate you. If he gets you alone, he can take advantage.
- You must cut off ALL contact. Do not talk to his friends without an adult present. Do not fall for suicide threats or promises that his behavior will change.
- Change your email address, cell phone number and other contact information (Facebook, MySpace etc.).
- Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. If not a parent, then a trusted friend who will know to alert an adult if you are not in contact.
- Always have your cell phone and extra money with you. In the old days it was called “mad money” – if you got mad at your date you could always get a taxi home or call home. Times have changed, but common sense hasn’t.
- Memorize important phone numbers. Your phone may be taken away from you by an abuser, so you must know some numbers to call in case you are able to escape or get to a phone.
- Keep a log of abusive or alarming behavior. Mark the time, date, place and as much information as you can. You may need to prove abusive behaviors or patterns to authorities. For example: 3/4/09 – home – Boyfriend called my cell phone 15 times in 20 minutes. Left threatening voice messages.
- Save all threatening voice mail, email, or text messages. Print out emails and put them in a safe place. You will need evidence.
- Keep an extra set of house and car keys in a safe, hidden place or with someone you can trust. An abuser may take your keys away from you in order to isolate you.
- Plan a safe place to go in advance. Choose a place (your place of worship, a public place where you can alert authorities) that your partner does not know about or would not think to look for you. You know he’ll look for you at home or school. Going to your best friend’s house may put her in danger, too.
- Make up a code word or sign so a friend or family member will know you are in danger. Remember when you were in elementary school and your mom or dad gave you a secret pass word that was used when a neighbor or friend was to get you from school or in an emergency? This is the same idea.
- Never go to your partner’s home alone, especially if you’ve already broken up. Bring at least two friends or adults. Do not go to “pick up your stuff” by yourself – even if his family is at home. Shev’s killer did it while his father and grandparents were upstairs. Kari Ann Gorman’s killer did it while his mother was home.
Special thanks to Jenniferann.org in memory of Jennifer Ann Crecente for providing this important information on creating a safety plan.