Domestic Violence Safety Plan

Safety During an Explosive Incident

  • If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area with an exit and not in the bathroom, kitchen or anywhere near weapons.

  • Practice how to get out of your home safely.  Identify which doors, windows, elevator or stairs would be best.

  • Have a packed bag ready and keep it in a secret but accessible place so you can leave quickly.

  • Identify a neighbor you can tell about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.

  • Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need the police.

  • Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you don’t think you will need to).

  • If the situation is very dangerous, use your own instincts and judgment to keep yourself safe.  Call the police as soon as it is safe to do so.

Safety When Preparing to Leave

  • Determine who will let you stay with them or lend you some money.

  • Always try to take your children with you or make arrangements to leave them with somebody safe.

  • Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents, and clothes with someone you trust.

  • Open a savings account in your own name to establish or increase your financial independence.

  • Keep the shelter numbers close by and keep change or a calling card with you at all times.

  • Review your safety plan with a domestic violence advocate to plan the safest way to leave your partner.

Safety on the Job and in Public

  • At work, decide who you will tell about your situation.  This should include office or building security (provide a picture of your partner if possible).

  • Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls if possible.

  • Devise a safety plan for when you leave work.  Have someone escort you to your car or bus.  Use a variety of routes to go home, if possible.  Think about what you would do if something happened while going home.

Safety with a Protection Order

  • When criminal charges are filed against your partner, be sure to let the police and court know that you want a protection order.

  • You may qualify to get a “civil protection order” from the Domestic Relations Court.  Only this kind of order can give you temporary custody of your children.

  • Protection orders don’t last forever – make sure you know when yours expires.

  • Keep your protection order with you at all times.  Leave extra copies at work, with a friend, in your car, etc.

  • Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.

  • Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
    Inform family, friends and neighbors that you have a protection order in effect.

  • Try to avoid places where your partner might go.

Safety in your Home

  • Inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see your abuser near your home.

  • Rehearse a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.

  • Inform your children’s school or day care about who has permission to pick up your children.  (Give school authorities a copy of your protection order).

  • Change/add locks on your door and windows as soon as possible.

  • Change your telephone number.

Your Safety & Emotional Health

  • If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.

  • If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the best way to do so.

  • Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs.

  • Plan to attend a support group for at least two weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship.

  • Decide who you can call freely and openly to give you the support you need.

  • Read articles, books and poetry to help you feel stronger.

    ALWAYS REMEMBER – you have the right to feel safe in your relationship.  You are not alone.  There are agencies that can help you.

Columbiana County

Christina's House


Alliance Area DV Shelter


Mahoning County

Sojourner House


Alliance Area DV Shelter


Stark County

Domestic Violence Project, In.

Canton 330-453-7233

Massillon 330-393-1565

Alliance Area DV Shelter


Wayne County

Every Woman's House

330-263-1020 (24hr crisis hotline)

1-800-686-1122 (toll free)


Victim's Assistance


Medina County

Battered Women's Shelter

1-877-414-1344 (24hr crisis hotline)

330-723-3900 (crisis)


Summit County

Battered Women's Shelter

1-888-395-4357 (24hr crisis hotline)

330-374-1111 (crisis)

330-374-0740 (business)

Trumbull County

Someplace Safe

330-393-1565 or 330-393-3003

Portage County

Safer Futures






What you need to take when you leave:

  •  Identification

  •  Driver’s license, car title & registration

  •  Children’s birth certificates

  •  Your birth and marriage certificates

  •  Money, credit cards, ATM card, telephone calling card

  •  Protection order

  •  Lease, rental agreement, house deed

  •  Checkbooks, bank books & withdrawal slips

  •  Health insurance or medical card

  •  Insurance papers

  •  House and car keys

  •  Medications or prescripts

  •  Address book

  •  Pictures

  •  Medical records for all family members

  •  Social security card, for self & children

  •  Welfare identification

  •  School records

  •  Work permits

  •  Green card/immigration papers

  •  Passport, for self & children

  •  Divorce papers, including custody order

  •  Jewelry

  •  Children’s small toys

  •  Pets (if you can)

  •  Other                                                                                



This article is meant to give you general information and not to give you specific legal advice.
Prepared by Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. Updated May 2012.