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Safety Planning

Risk to the victim and their children increases when planning to leave a relationship or the period just after. Safety planning needs to be in place when the victim leaves and needs to continue to be a priority in the period following their departure. Safety plans need to be easy to remember as they shouldn’t be written down. Safety planning needs to be completed after risk assessment so that the safety plan is carefully designed and doesn’t heighten risk posed to the victim.

  • Places to avoid when abuse starts (such as the kitchen, where there are many potential weapons). 
  • People a victim can turn to for help or let know that they are in danger. 
  • Asking neighbours or friends to call 999 if they hear anything to suggest a victim or their children are in danger. 
  • Places to hide important phone numbers, such as helpline numbers. 
  • How to keep the children safe when abuse starts. 
  • Teaching the children to find safety or get help, perhaps by dialling 999. 
  • Keeping important personal documents in one place so that they can be taken if a victim needs to leave suddenly. 
  • Letting someone know about the abuse so that it can be recorded (important for cases that go to court or immigration applications, for example). 
  • Packing an emergency bag and hiding it in a safe place in case a victim needs to leave in an emergency. 
  • Plans for who to call and where to go (family, friends, refuge). 
  • Things to remember to take are documents, medication, keys or a photo of the abuser (useful for serving court documents). 
  • Access to a phone. 
  • Access to money or credit/debit cards that a victim has perhaps put aside. 
  • Plans for transport. 
  • Plans for taking clothes, toiletries, and toys for the children. 
  • Taking any proof of the abuse, such as photos, notes or details of people who know about it. 
  • Contact details for professionals who can advise or give vital support. 
  • Changing landline and mobile phone numbers. 
  • How to keep location secret from partner if they have left home (by not telling mutual friends where they are, for example). 
  • Getting a non-molestation, exclusion or restraining order. 
  • Plans for talking to any children about the importance of staying safe. 
  • Asking an employer for help with safety while at work. 
  • Social networks, managing information. 

Women’s Aid have advice on making a safety plan, preparing to leave, what to pack, how to be safe after leaving and if the abuser continues the abuse. Visit: Making a safety plan – Women’s Aid (