Safety Planning for Domestic Violence Victims and Families
Steps can be taken to increase a victim’s safety and to prepare in advance for further violence. You cannot control your partner’s violence, but you do have a choice about how you can respond to a situation and to move you and your children to a safe place. The safety plan will make you aware of your personal resources as well as those in the community. It can also help you in identifying the signs and situations that occur prior to the abuse. Most significantly, a safety plan will help to protect you from your partner’s threats of abuse and injury. THE ABUSE YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED USUALLY REPEATS ITSELF AND OFTEN GETS WORSE. It is vital to have a safety plan should your partner threaten to harm you again.
Answer these questions to create your Safety Plan:
- Think of cues, behaviors or circumstances that are present before abusive situations occur. (time of day, substance abuse, discussion about money, locations, certain relatives or friends visiting, stress level of partner, etc.)
- How have you tried to protect yourself and your children in the past?
- What situation are you most afraid of?
- What thoughts do you have that may help you with what you fear the most?
- How can you increase your independence? (Open credit or bank accounts in your name, take classes to improve your job skills, look for safe housing, etc.)
- Locate legal resources in the community: law enforcement and domestic violence hotline phone numbers, safe house phone numbers, where to apply for protective order, establish custody and visitation orders, etc.
- What types of medical services are available in the community?
- How can you improve your safety at work or at school? (Change your routes, screen phone calls, change arrival and departure times, safety while traveling, have someone accompany you in public)
- How can you improve safety in your home? (Change locks, buy safety devices, inform neighbors or landlord to call police if they hear a disturbance, purchase a cell phone, etc.)
- How can you improve the safety and protection of your children or other family members in your home? (Inform school/daycare of situation, practice safely plan with family, teach children how to dial 911, etc.)
Prepare to leave if your partner becomes threatening or abusive:
- Leave extra money, keys, copies of important documents and clothes at a safe place that is easy to get to.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely if you need to leave quickly.
- Call 911 for law enforcement to come and intervene. Make up a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need law enforcement.
- Think of relatives or friends to call for support and/or a safe place to stay.
- Remember the phone number for the local domestic violence program (318-992-2067) for support in deciding what to do next.
Items to Pack or Have with You:
I.D. or Driver’s License Insurance documents Income tax returns
Birth Certificate House & car keys Divorce documents
Credit card/money Medications Welfare identification
Checkbook Small saleable items School records
Diaries and journals Address book Apartment lease/house deed
Protective Order Passports Photos
Vehicle Titles Medical records Custody/visitation orders
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 888-411-1333
Wellspring Alliance for Families: 1 800-716-7233
Emergency: Dial 911
For more information or assistance, contact the LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office Victim Advocate at 318-992-2067.