After a Breakup
A safety plan is one that includes ways to remain safe after a breakup, or it may be used during the relationship or even when you are planning on leaving. It includes coping with emotions, informing family and friends about the abuse and even taking legal action.
A good safety plan should be tailored to your specific circumstances and will help walk you through different scenarios. Some of the things outlined in your safety plan are obvious, but remember that in moments of crisis your brain does not function the same way as when you are calm. Adrenaline pumping through your veins makes it difficult to think clearly or make sound decisions about your safety. Advanced planning can help protect you in those stressful moments.
Safety planning after a breakup is vitally important. You may think you are safe after you have left the relationship, but know that you are 75% more likely to be harmed during this time. Danger increases after breaking up with an abuser. You must prepare yourself. Take control over anything you can. Make careful plans and be prepared. Get as many of your close friends and family involved.
• Inform your school and ask for support. Do not be afraid to contact local law enforcement or the state domestic violence hotline.
• Avoid being alone with your ex. Take control out of his hands. Do not get in his car, go for a walk, or talk in private. Remember that he wants to isolate you and he can take advantage of you if he gets you alone.
• Cut off ALL contact. Do not talk to his friends or fall for suicide threats or promises that he will change.
• Change your email address, cell phone number and other contact information (like social media).
• Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will return.
• Always have your cell phone and extra money with you in case of an emergency.
• Memorize phone numbers should he take away your phone and you are able to escape.
• Document alarming or abusive behavior, with the date, time and place and what occurred. You may have to prove what happened to authorities.
• You may need evidence. Save all threatening voice mail, email or texts. Print out emails.
• An abuser may take your keys to isolate you. Keep an extra set of house and car keys in a safe place or with a trusted friend.
• Choose a safe place in advance; one that the abuser knows nothing about or would not think to look for you, like a church or public place where you can contact the authorities.
• Decide on a code or sign so a friend or family member will know you are in danger.
• NEVER go to your ex’s home alone. Bring at least two friends or adults. Have someone accompany you to get your belongings, even if his family is home. There are many cases where someone was abused while the family was home in another area of the house.
Remember that the most dangerous time is after a breakup. You are more likely to be harmed or even killed during this time. Take the time to create your own safety plan.
For more information, go to loveisrespect.org or contact the LPSO Victim Advocate at 318-992-2067.