Every victim of domestic abuse should develop a Personalized Safety Plan. In creating your own plan, we encourage you to work with an advocate who can help you explore your options and identify local resources.
To find an advocate who can help you plan for your safety, please call:
For residents of New York City: The Center Against Domestic Violence’s 24-Hour Hotline at 1-718-254-9134.
If you are outside New York City: The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233).
Personalized Safety Plan
The following lists highlight some things you should consider when developing your plan. Everyone’s situation is unique, and these lists are not all-inclusive, but they provide a good starting place to help you plan for your safety.
Before the next incident:
- Learn where you can get help.
- Memorize emergency phone numbers.
- Plan an escape route out of your home.
- Think about where you will go if you need to escape from your home.
- Teach your children not to get in the middle of a fight, even if they want to help.
- Teach your children how to get to a safe place, call 911 and give your address and phone number to the police.
- Teach your children who to call for help (besides 911).
- Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside. If you can, get a cell phone and keep it with you at all times. (WARNING: If your abuser has purchased a cell phone for you, he or she may have access to your whereabouts through the GPS built into your phone.)
- Establish a signal that tells your neighbor to call the police. For example, if the phone rings twice, a shade is pulled down or a certain light is turned on.
- Pack a bag with important things you will need if you have to leave quickly. Put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust.
- Keep some cash, car keys and important information—such as court papers, passports, birth certificates, social security cards, medical records and immigration papers—together where you can get to them quickly.
- Consider opening a savings account in a new bank and having the statements sent to the home of a friend or relative or to a P.O. Box.
During an incident:
- Stay away from the kitchen. (The abuser can find weapons there.)
- Stay away from the bathroom, closets and small spaces where the abuser can trap you.
- Get to a room with a door or window to escape.
- Lock the abuser outside if you can.
- Get to a phone to call for help.
- Call 911 right away for help and get the dispatcher’s name.
- Run to a neighbor or friend for help.
- If the police come, tell the officer what happened and get his or her name and badge number.
After an incident:
- Get medical help if you are hurt.
- Take pictures of bruises or injuries.