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Create a Safety Plan to Stay Safe in an Abusive Relationship

In our work at Safe Connections, we talk a lot about safety planning because it is useful when exiting an unsafe situation and vital when staying. To people who are unfamiliar with the dynamics of domestic violence, the concept of staying safe in an abusive relationship might seem counter-intuitive. However, in an abusive relationship, the most dangerous time is when the survivor does leave. The likelihood of violence and lethality ramps up, so many times the safest option is to stay.

Safety planning is not one-size-fits-all – every survivor will be in a unique situation and have to plan for their individual circumstances. Below are a list of steps and actions to take when preparing your safety plan.

  1. Identify the safest rooms in your home. Typically kitchens and bathrooms are what you want to avoid. Pick a room that doesn’t have too many sharp angles and has a potential exit.
  2. Practice makes perfect. Whether it’s going to a different room in your house or dialing 911, practice each step of your plan. When you’re in a scary situation, your adrenaline kicks in, making it harder to complete simple tasks. Practicing your plan will help you when you need it most.
  3. Utilize support networks. Including family, friends, neighbors or anyone that you feel you can trust in your Safety Plan can increase your safety. Set up a code word, or a system that will let them know you need help.
  4. There’s an app for that. There are several apps that you can use that are cleverly disguised and allow you to get help. Check out this article that provides you with several options.

You can be incredibly savvy in finding ways to get help without alerting your abuser. Remember the woman who called 911 and ordered a pizza? How about the woman who ordered online through Pizza Hut with a plea for help. Creating a safety plan that fits your needs and experiences will be vital in increasing your safety.

If you have any questions about Safety Planning, you can always call our 24/7 Crisis Helpline at 314.531.2003.