Safety planning for someone involved in an abusive relationship is a necessary and important step. Often, writing out your plan helps you regain security and control of your life. Your safety plan should be used as a guide and a reminder of ways you and your family can increase your safety. If you are planning on leaving your abuser, it can be a very dangerous time. Women are more likely to be seriously hurt or even killed during or after leaving their abusers than at any other time in their abusive relationships. This is why it is imperative to have a safety plan.
The first step to protecting you and your family is to reach out to an advocate by calling a domestic violence hotline (Hubbard House 24-hour hotline: (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119) to receive counseling and safety planning assistance over the phone. But remember, if you are in immediate danger, always call 911.
For a safety plan to be effective, it needs to be personalized to your situation and updated every time your situation changes. There are general things that anyone should do if they find themselves engaged in a volatile argument; things like staying away from rooms with sharp edges or weapons, rooms like bathrooms and kitchens, or making sure your access to a phone and an exit are not blocked, just in case. A safety plan goes much further than this.
Your plan may involve working out signals with trusted neighbors so they know when to call the police, changing your route to work, working out a code word with children and others so they know when you need help or making sure your children know how to call 911 and know where they can go to be safe. Often, writing out your plan helps you regain security and control of your life. Remember, this plan should be used as a guide and a reminder of ways you and your family can increase your safety. This plan should be hidden in a safe place where the abuser is unlikely to find it. It should also be reviewed and updated on a regular basis if the situation or living environment changes.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.
ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE
Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 6,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.