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A domestic violence safety plan is a personalized strategy designed to help individuals who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence, including intimate partner violence, create a plan to enhance their safety and the safety of any children involved. Safety plans are tailored to the individual's unique circumstances and can provide guidance on how to respond during different stages of an abusive relationship.

Here are some general steps and considerations for creating a safety plan:

  • Assess Your Situation: Take an honest look at your situation and evaluate the level of danger you might be facing. If you feel immediate danger, contact local authorities or a domestic violence hotline.​

  • Emergency Contacts: Compile a list of emergency phone numbers, including local law enforcement, domestic violence shelters, hotlines, trusted friends, family members, and neighbors. Keep this list in a safe and accessible place.

  • Safe Places: Identify safe places you can go to in case you need to leave quickly. This could include the homes of friends or family members, a domestic violence shelter, or public places like libraries, community centers, or stores.

  • Pack an Emergency Bag: Prepare a bag with essentials such as identification, important documents (IDs, passports, driver's license, birth certificates), medication, clothing, cash, keys, and any necessary items for your children. Store this bag in a discreet and easily accessible location.

  • Communication Plan: Establish a way to communicate with trusted friends or family members about your whereabouts and safety. You might use code words or signals to indicate if you're in danger.

  • Protective Orders and Legal Options: If applicable, consider obtaining a restraining order or protective order against the abuser. Familiarize yourself with the legal procedures and documents required.

  • Technology Safety: Be cautious with your use of technology. Assume that your devices could be monitored. If possible, use devices that the abuser does not have access to. Be mindful of your social media activity.

  • Children's Safety: If you have children, include a plan for their safety. Teach them how to call for help and where to go in case of an emergency.

  • Workplace Safety: Inform your workplace security or human resources department about your situation, if you feel comfortable. Provide them with a photo of the abuser, if possible, and make sure they're aware of any potential risks.

  • Personal Documents: Keep important documents and copies of important records in a safe location. This includes legal documents, financial records, and identification.

  • Financial Independence: If possible, work towards financial independence. Open a separate bank account, save money, and secure access to your financial resources.

  • Support System: Reach out to friends, family, or support groups that can provide emotional and practical support. You don't have to go through this alone.

  • Practice Escaping: If you feel the need to leave quickly, practice the safest way to exit your home. Consider practicing this with your children as well.

  • Trust Your Instincts: If you feel that your safety is in immediate danger, don't hesitate to call emergency services.

If you would like assistance with completing your own Safety Plan, please contact the San Joaquin County Family Justice Center at 209-468-2600, or you can complete a Safety Plan online through the National Domestic Hotline by clicking here:

Remember that creating a safety plan is an ongoing process. As circumstances change, you might need to adjust your plan accordingly.

If you're in immediate danger call 911.

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