Personal Safety Plan
LAUREL SHELTER, INC.
Pull this section out and keep it in a safe
place where your abuser cannot find it.
Laurel Shelter, Inc. (24 hour, confidential service) 804-694-5552
Laurel Shelter, Inc. Outreach Office 804-694-5890
Gloucester Co. Sheriff 804-693-3890
King & Queen Sheriff 804-785-7400
King William Sheriff 804-769-0999
Mathews Sheriff Dept. 804-725-7001
Middlesex Sheriff Dept. 804-758-2779
Riverside Walter Reed Hospital 804-693-8800
Victim Witness Directors:
Gloucester Co. 804-693-1227
Mathews/Middlesex Co 804-725-1291
Magistrate-Gloucester Co 804-693-3890
Victim’s Safe Plan Your Bill Of Rights
DEFINITION: A safe plan is a plan of action designed to help keep you and You have the right to be you.
your children as a safe as possible from physical abuse.
Before your partner becomes violent, consider the following things: You have the right to put yourself first.
1. Avoid getting trapped in the kitchen (too many potential weapons) or the
bathroom (no place to dodge blows and too many hard surfaces.) You have the right to be safe.
2. Stay out of a room where there are known weapons such as guns and
You have the right to love and be loved.
3. Think through all possible escape routes-doors, first floor, or basement You have the right to be treated with respect.
windows. Before your partner becomes violent think about where you
will go. Will it be safe? If you think that you won’t be safe with friends You have the right to be human—NOT PERFECT.
or family, consider a shelter. At the very least, go to a public place, i.e.
McDonald’s, library, hospital lobby. Make sure you know where they You have the right to be angry and protest if you are treated unfairly or
are. abusively by anyone.
4. Now, before the abusive incident, get an extra car key made and hide it
near or on the car. You can get a magnetic key holder for less than $2.00. You have the right to your own privacy.
This will provide you an escape to safety. Hide money in the car for
You have the right to your own opinions, to express them, and to be taken
phone calls. If you escape but don’t have access to the car, go to a
neighbor’s house to use the phone, or pull the closest fire alarm.
5. Gather together important documents you might need (see Checklist You have the right to earn and control your own money.
under “Personalized Safety Plan”). If you are able to escape a violent
incident your partner may not let you have access to these papers. If You have the right to ask questions abut anything that affects your
possible, take them with you, or get copies made and keep them in a safe life.
place outside your home.
6. Could you let a neighbor know about the violence? If so, work out a You have the right to make decisions that affect you.
signal that would let the neighbor know to call the police, such as lights
going on and off quickly, banging on the wall, a scream, or a word or You have the right to grow and change (and that includes changing your
phrase on the phone.
7. Have a back-up plan, in case your first one doesn’t or won’t work. You have the right to say NO.
8. Teach your children to leave the room when violence begins.
Your have the right to make mistakes.
Important: You may feel that your partner will never be physically
abusive to you again. Don’t let that stop you from developing a safe plan. You have the right NOT to be responsible for other adults’ problems.
It won’t hurt to have one, and it might mean safety for you and your
children. Being prepared to escape could make the difference between You have the right not to be liked by everyone.
life and death. Remember, the cycle of violence always increases in
severity. Being prepared to leave will help you to escape to freedom YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONTROL YOUR OWN LIFE
easier. AND TO CHANGE IT IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH IT!!!
How Do You Know You’re Safe? Personalized safety plan
Often the risk of violence increases when you leave. For your own Name: _____________________________ Date: ___________________
safety and the safety of your children, watch for the following Dates I reviewed my plan to make sure it is still useful:
signs: (1) ___________ (2) ____________ (3) ___________ (4) ____________
The following steps show my plan for keeping myself safe and preparing
****Tries to find you— in advance for the possibility of more violence. I know I do not have
control over my partner’s violence. I do have control over how I can
He may try to get information from your family and friends about respond to him/her and how to best get my child(ren) and myself to
your whereabouts, either by threatening them or trying to get their safety.
Step 1: Safety during a violent event. Avoiding violent situations is not
****Tries to get you to come back to him— always possible. In order to increase safety, victims of domestic violence
may use different ways to keep themselves safe.
He may do anything to get you to come back. He will try
promising to change, crying, threats of suicide, buying gifts, and if I can use some or all of these plans:
this doesn’t work, then force is used. This is the time in which A. Practice a safe way to leave your home. What door, window,
abusers may resort to extreme violence to keep/regain control. elevator, stairwell or fire escape would you use? If I decide to
leave, I will ___________________________________________
****Tries to take the children—
He may try to kidnap the children as a way of forcing you to stay ________________________________________________________________________
with him. He also may threaten you with having the children taken
B. I can keep my purse/wallet and car keys ready and put them
away. (place) ___________________________________________
so I can leave quickly.
C. I can tell __________________ and _____________________
If you always seem to run into him when you are on your way to about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear
work, running errands, or out with friends, or if you receive hang- strange noises coming from my home.
up or mysterious calls, it could be him stalking you. Keep a
written record of these incidents. D. I can teach my child(ren) how to use the telephone to call the
police and fire department.
E. I will use _________________ as my secret word with my
Child(ren) or my friends so they can call for help.
F. If I have to leave my home, I will go ____________________ Safe Plan For Your Children
________________________________. (Decide this even if you
don’t think there will be a next time.) If I cannot go to that place, Provide your children with a plan of action for when a fight, or other
I can go to ____________________________________________ physical violence occurs.
Things to teach your children…………………….
G. I can also tell some of these plans to my child(ren). 1. Call 911 if they believe/feel that someone is going to get hurt. Even if
they dial 911 and hang-up, the Police will call back or send someone
H. (Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, near out to check on the situation.
weapons without an out side door). When I think we are going to 2. Tell them to go to a safe place that you have agreed upon. This could
have an argument, I will try to move to a place that has fewer be a bedroom (do not tell them to go to the kitchen or the bathroom),
dangerous objects, such as _____________________________. a neighbor’s house, or a friend’s house. Not only are they escaping
danger, but they also can alert others to get help for you.
I. I will use my judgment and I will trust my feelings. If the 3. Tell your children to stay away from the fighting. Getting in between
situation is very serious, I can give my partner what he/she wants could escalate the anger of the abuser. It can also result in the children
to calm him/her. I will do my best to keep myself safe until I am getting hurt.
out of danger. 4. Help them to find someone they can talk with about the problems at
home. Suggest they talk with someone you both trust, such as their
Step 2: Safety when getting ready to leave. When getting ready to leave, teacher, minister, counselor at school, babysitter, or friend’s parents.
victims of domestic violence must be very careful to hide plans from their Let them know that talking about their problem is okay, and it will
abuser. If you choose to leave, plan carefully to keep yourself safe. Abusers help them with their feelings/fears.
often get angrier when they believe their partner is leaving the relationship.
Things to discuss with your children…………
I can use some of or all of these safety plans: It is normal to feel confused after there has been a fight. They might even
have mixed feelings about their parents. This is also natural.
A. I will leave money and an extra set of keys with (safe person)
_________________________________so I can leave quickly. They are only responsible for their own actions, and not the actions of
their parents. Help them to understand that there are other ways of
B. I will keep copies of important papers or keys at (safe location) handling anger and frustration. Just because Mom and Dad fight, they do
____________________________________________________. not have to grow up using violence as a method for problem solving. Help
them to get information on more appropriate ways of dealing with their
C. I will open a savings account by (date) ___________________ anger and frustration. One out of three boys who grows up in a home
to increase my independence. where violence was present will grow up to repeat the violence.
Remind them that it’s not their fault that violence occurs, it is the abuser’s
D. Other things I can do to increase my independence include: responsibility to stop the violence.
_____________________________________________________ They are only children; and not adults. They still have a lot of growing up
_____________________________________________________ to do. Encourage them to be children.
_____________________________________________________ Let them know that the Safe Plan is not designed to make anyone feel bad
or unloved, but it exists to keep them and yourself safe.
Insurance papers E. The domestic violence program’s hotline number in my area is
Small, easy to sell objects ____________________. The hotline can give me support and a
Address book safe place to stay. I can call the Virginia family Violence and
Pictures Sexual Assault hotline at 800-838-8238 for support. The Virginia
Jewelry Hotline can connect me to my local program if I need them to.
Children’s favorite toys an/or blankets
Items of special sentimental value F. I can keep change for phone calls or a pre-paid calling card
with me at all times. I know that if I use my telephone credit
Telephone Numbers I need to know: card the next month’s telephone bill will let my abuser know the
numbers I have called. To keep my telephone calls secret, I must
1. Police Department (home): ____________________________ use coins, a pre-paid telephone card or ask a friend to let me use
his/her telephone credit card for a short time when I first leave.
2. Police Department (school): ___________________________
G. I will ask (safe person) _______________________________
3. Police Department (work:) _____________________________ and _________________________________________ if I can
stay with them and borrow some money.
4. Domestic Violence Program: ___________________________
H. I can leave extra clothes with (safe person) ______________
5. Work Number: ______________________________________ ___________________________________________________.
6. Supervisor’s home number: ____________________________ I. I will look at my safety plan every (length of time) _________
so that I can remember the safest way to leave the residence.
7. Minister: ___________________________________________ (safe person) __________________________________________
has agreed to help me review this plan.
8. Other: _____________________________________________
J. I will practice my escape plan by myself and with my
9. Other: _____________________________________________ child(ren).
10. Other: ____________________________________________ K. I will be careful not to share too much information with my
young child(ren) because they may tell my partner.
For more information contact: Step 3: Safety in my own home. There are many things a person can do
Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline to be safer in his/her home. It may not be possible to do everything at one
1-800-838-8238 time. Safety steps can be added slowly over time.
I can use some or all of these safety steps:
Personalized Safety Plan
Office of the City Attorney A. I can change the locks on my doors and windows.
San Diego, California
B. I can change wooden doors to steel or metal ones. H. I can attend workshops and support groups at the domestic
violence program or ___________________________________
C. I can add safety items such as more locks, window bars, poles ________________________ or __________________________
to wedge against doors, an electric security system, etc. to gain support and strengthen my relationships with other people.
D. I can buy rope ladders to use for escape from second floor Step 8: Items to take when leaving. When leaving an abusive partner, it
windows. is important to take certain things. Often, victims of abuse find it helpful
to give an extra copy of papers and an extra set of clothing to a friend just
E. I can put in smoke detectors and fire extinguishers for every in case leaving must be done quickly.
floor in my home. (Keep kitchen extinguishers near the kitchen
exit). Items with check marks on the following list are the most important to
take. If there is time, the other items can be taken or stored outside the
F. I can put in a motion detection lighting system outside my home.
These things are best kept in one location. If I must leave in a hurry, I can
G. I will teach my child(ren) how to make a collect call to me and grab them quickly. While I am collecting these things, I will be very
to (safe adult) ________________________________________ careful to not let my partner know.
just in case my partner takes them or they are not feeling safe.
When I leave, I should take some or all of the following:
H. I will tell people who take care of my child(ren) who can pick
them up. I will tell them my partner is not allowed to pick up my Identification for myself
child(ren). These are the people I will tell who can pick up my Children’s birth certificates
children: My birth certificate
1. School Social Security cards
2. Day Care Staff School and vaccination records
3. Babysitter Money
4. Church members Checkbook, ATM (Automated Teller Machine) cards
Keys – house/car/office/safety deposit box
I. I can tell these people: ________________________________
______________________, and __________________________ Driver’s license and registration
that my partner no longer lives with me. I will ask them to call the Medications
police if my partner is seen near my home.
Step 4: Safety with a protective order. Many abusers obey protective Work permits
orders. No one can be sure whether or not his or her violent partner will obey Green card
the order. Passport(s)
Medical records – for all family members
. Bank books (continued on next page)
Step 5: Safety at work and in public. Each victim of domestic violence Step 6: Safety and drug or alcohol use. The use of alcohol and mood-
must decide if and when to tell others that his/her partner is abusive and that altering drugs is very common. Much of this use is legal, and some is not.
he/she is not safe. Friends, family, and co-workers can help to protect the The legal outcomes of using illegal drugs can be very hard on a battered
battered person. person. It may put strain on relationships with family members and put
him/her at a disadvantage when facing legal action with the abusive
I can do any or all of these things to keep myself safer at work and in public: partner. It is important to carefully think about the possible costs of using
illegal drugs. The use of any alcohol or other drugs can reduce a person’s
A. I can tell my boss, the security supervisor and _____________ ability to act quickly when protecting him/herself during an argument or
_________________________________ at work of my situation. assault. The abuser may also use is/her use of alcohol or other drugs as an
excuse for being abusive. Someone who is at risk of being abused needs
B. I can ask ____________________________ to help screen my to think about all the things that could happen if drugs and/or alcohol are
telephone calls at work. used.
C. When leaving work, I can _____________________________ If drugs or alcohol have been used in the relationship with my abusive
_____________________________________________________ partner, I can keep myself safer by doing some or all of these plans:
D. When driving home if problems occur, I can ______________ A. If I am going to use, I can do so in a safe place and with
_____________________________________________________ people who know I am at risk for violence and are committed
_____________________________________________________ to my safety.
E. If I use public transportation, I can _____________________ B. I can also __________________________________________
F. I can use different grocery stores and shopping malls and shop C. If my partner is using, I can ____________________________
at hours that are not the same as the ones I used when living with _____________________________________________________
my abusive partner. _____________________________________________________
G. I can use a different bank and take care of my banking at hours D. I might also ________________________________________
different from those I used when living with my abusive partner. _____________________________________________________
H. I can also __________________________________________
_____________________________________________________ E. To keep my children safe, I can _________________________
Step 7: Safety and my emotional health. Being physically and mentally I may need to ask the police and the courts to enforce my protective order.
abused and verbally put down by partners is tiring and emotionally draining. I can use some or all of these steps to help keep my protective order
The process of building a new life takes a lot of courage and energy. enforced:
To conserve my emotional energy and resources, and to keep my stress level A. (Always keep your protective order with you. If you change
down, I can do some or all of the following: your purse/wallet, put your protective order in the new one.)
I will keep my protective order (location) ___________________
A. If I feel down and ready to return to potentially abusive _____________________________________________________
situation, I can ________________________________________
_____________________________________________________ B. I will give my protective order to police departments in the
_____________________________________________________ town where I live, where I usually visit family or friends, and
_____________________________________________________ where I work.
B. When I have to talk with my partner in person or by telephone, C. I can call the local domestic violence program (phone
I can ________________________________________________ number) ___________________ if I have any problems with
_____________________________________________________ my protective order.
D. I will tell my employer, my minister, my friend ___________
C. I will use “I can…” statements with myself and with others. ______________ and my neighbor ________________________
_____________________ that I have a protective order in effect.
D. I will tell myself – “__________________________________
____________________________________________________” E. If my partner destroys my protective order, I can get a copy
whenever I feel others are trying to control or abuse me. from the clerk of the court.
E. I can read ________________________________________ to F. If my partner violates a no-trespass condition of the protective
help me feel stronger and surer of myself. order, I can call the police or magistrate and report the violation.
If my partner violates other conditions of the protective order, I
F. I will call __________________________________________ can call my lawyer (phone # ______________________). I can
and __________________________________as support systems. call my advocate ___________________________________.
G. Other things I can do to help myself feel stronger are _______ G. If the police do not help, I can call my advocate, my lawyer,
_____________________________________________________ and/or the Commonwealth’s Attorney. I can file a complaint with
_________________________________________________ and the chief of police or with the sheriff.
H. I can also file a Show Cause Petition with the clerk of the
court in the town where I got the Protective Order. If my partner
breaks the law again, I can file a private criminal complaint with
the magistrate in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed.
I can call the domestic violence advocate to help me with this.