Safety planning: Know your rights and protect yourself

Domestic violence is physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of a partner or family member. It is a crime, and you have rights. Know how to protect yourself and your family by having a safety plan.


Take these steps:

  1. If you can't avoid an argument, have it in a place with an exit.
  2. Leave home if you are in immediate danger.
  3. If you are hurt, go to the hospital.
  4. Call the police to help you leave and arrest your abuser. You can ask for an interpreter if you need one.
  5. Call a domestic violence shelter if you need someplace safe to go.
  6. Call Legal Aid for a protection order or apply online.
  7. Tell your child's school who has permission to pick them up.
  8. Change your phone number.
  9. Change/Add locks to your doors and windows.
  10. Avoid places where your abuser goes.


When you're ready to leave, you should take the following:

  • ID, birth certificate, social security card
  • Marriage certificate
  • Children's birth certificates and social security cards
  • Driver's license, car title, and registration
  • Money, checkbook, credit cards, ATM card, debt card
  • Cell phone, telephone calling card
  • Protection order
  • Rental lease or house deed
  • Health insurance or medical card
  • Insurance papers
  • House and car keys
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Address book
  • Pictures of abuser and sentimental photos
  • Work permit
  • Green card and immigration papers
  • Divorce and custody papers
  • Jewelry