Safety Plan

Personalized Safety Plan 

 “The following is my plan to increase my safety, and prepare in advance for the possibility of further violence. Although I do not have control over another’s violence, I do have a choice about how to respond to them, and how to best get myself, children and pets to safety. I will review and update my plan as needed.”

(Printable version: Safety Plan)

Resources – (e.g., counselor/support group contact, advocacy, doctors/health care providers, others)

PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 24-hour hotline: 800-723-3014; Website:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1:800-799-SAFE (7233); Website:

Legal Aid: 215-686-7082 Website:

Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County Inc., Media, PA 19063
Hotline:(610) 565-4590, Tel:(610) 565-6272, Tel: TTY(610) 565-2735, Fax:(610) 565-9911

Laurel House, Norristown, PA 19404
Hotline:(800) 642-3150, Tel:(610) 277-1860, TTY:(888) 883-0770; Web:
24-hr hotline, Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART), counseling, support groups, children’s program.

Lutheran Settlement House—(bilingual support for Spanish speakers). Philadelphia , PA 19125

24-hr Hotline & Main Phone: (215) 426.8610; Fax: (215) 426.0581; Web:

After-school program for high school students re: dating violence / healthy relationships. Housing for M/W/C.

Counseling, biblical counseling, and other services:

  • Place of Refuge: 2938 N. 5th St, Phila, PA 19133; Tel: 267-909-8550;
  • Philadelphia Access Center, Tel. (215) 389-1985
  • Enon Baptist: 2800 W Cheltenham Ave, 19150; (215) 276-7200,
  • Mount Zion Baptist Church of Germantown: 41 W. Rittenhouse Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144

Tel. (215) 844.7614, Fax (215) 844.3680, Email:

Who to Call, and Where to Go to be safe: 

Make sure these contacts are safe, and will not pass on information about your plan or whereabouts. Sometimes you can call on family and friends. At times the safest people may be those who do not know you, or your abuser. 

Safe place #1:_______________________________________________ Phone:__________________

Address:_______________________________________________ Contact:_________________

Safe place #2:_______________________________________________ Phone:__________________

Address:_______________________________________________ Contact:_________________

Safe place #3:_______________________________________________ Phone:__________________

Address:_______________________________________________ Contact:_________________

I can use some or all of the following safety strategies: 

A. I will leave money, extra keys, clothes, and important documents with ____________________ so I can leave quickly.

B. What I will say to partner if escalation/violence begins: ___________________________________________________

C. I will open a savings account by_____________________________, to increase my independence.

D. I can ask __________________________________call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my home.

E. I understand that if I use my telephone/cell phone, the phone bill will let my batterer know which calls I have made. For safety, I must use coins at a public telephone (if available), or I can ask a friend/safe neighbor to use their phone briefly.

F. I will check with______________and ________________ to see who could house me or lend money in an emergency.

G. I will sit and review my safety plan every ________________ in order to plan safest way to leave the residence.

H. I will rehearse my escape plan and, as appropriate, practice this with my children.

‘Mentally Plan, & Practice’ how to get out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells, fire escapes would you use? 

I. I will use______________________________ as my code with my children or my friends so they can call for help.

J. I can teach some strategies to some or all of my children. (I want to cultivate alertness where important; not fear.)

K. I will use my judgment and intuition. I have to protect myself until I/we are out of danger.

L. If my partner is abusive, I will only meet publicly. I will document all contact, messages, injuries, and other incidents.

M. (Other notes) If I decide to leave, I will:________________________________________________________________

(Avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, near weapons, rooms without access to outside door). 

Safety in Volatile Incidents: 

  • If an argument is unavoidable, move to a room/area with easy access to an exit—NOT a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons or sharp objects (such as knives).
  • Identify which door, window, stairwell or elevator offers the quickest way out of the home. Practice your route.
  • Keep your packed, ready-to-go bag in an undisclosed, easily accessible place, where you can retrieve it quickly.
  • Find neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance.
  • Use the code word you devised with your children, family, and friends when you need the police.
  • Decide where you will go if you have to leave, even if you do not think it will come to that.
  • Use your instincts and judgment.
  • Consider the possibility of giving the abuser what they want, in order to defuse a dangerous situation.
  • You have a right to protect yourself when you are in danger, and do not deserve to be battered or threatened.

Safety Planning For / With Your Children  ( 

Being in an abusive situation can feel incredibly scary and isolating, and if children are involved, or are witnessing the abuse, it can become a lot more complicated and dangerous. A parent’s instinct is to make sure their child is safe – but how can you do this best if your abusive partner is unpredictable, or manipulative? A safety plan should include ways that your children can stay safe if violence is happening in your home. It’s key to remember that if the violence is escalating, you should avoid running to the children, because your partner may hurt them as well.

  • Develop a safety plan and discuss it with your children. Review it often, and check for their understanding.
  • Create and practice a code word with your children, and family and friends, if you will need the police/911.
  • Make sure your children’s school, day-care center, after-school program(s), or camp (etc) know who is authorized to pick up your children.
  • Change the locks and install devices to secure your windows.
  • Hide spare keys and money in a safe place, or ask a safe person to keep them for you in case you need to flee.
  • Tell your neighbors and landlord that your abuser no longer lives there, and ask them to call the police if they see him/her/they near your home.
  • Before you resume a potentially abusive relationship, discuss alternatives with someone you trust. You can always call the National Domestic Violence hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or the other resources given to you.
  • Teach your children when and how to call 911.
  • Instruct them to leave the home if possible when things begin to escalate, and where they can go.

They should go to one of the following places:



  • Come up with a code word that you can say when they need to leave the home in an emergency — and make sure that they know “not” to tell others what the secret code word means.
  • A room they can go to when they’re afraid, and something they can think about and do when they are scared:



  • Instruct them to stay out of the kitchen, bathroom and other areas where they could easily get hurt, or where there are items that could be used as weapons.
  • Teach them that although they want to protect their parent, they should never intervene.
  • Help them to make a list of people that they are comfortable talking and expressing themselves to.




Planning for After You Leave: 

  • Alert others about the situation, including: school counselor, receptionist, teachers, principal, sports coaches, and other caretakers. If you have a protective or restraining order, indicate who is allowed to pick them up, etc.

Planning for Unsupervised Visits, and for Safe Custody Exchanges:

If you have separated from an abusive partner and are concerned for your children’s safety when they visit your ex, developing a safety plan for while they are at their home can be beneficial.

  • Brainstorm with your children (if old enough) to come up with ways they can stay safe, using the same model as for your own home. Have them identify where how to get to a phone, how they can leave, and where to go.
  • If it’s safe to do, send a cell phone with the children to be used in emergency situations— this can be used to call 911, a neighbor or you if they need aid.
  • Avoid exchanging custody at your home or your partner’s home.
  • Meet in a safe, public place, (e.g., restaurant, a bank/other area with lots of cameras, or even a police station).
  • Bring a friend or relative with you to the exchanges, or have them make the exchange.
  • Perhaps plan to have your partner pick the children up from school at the end of the day after you drop them off in the morning – this eliminates the chances of seeing each other.
  • Emotional safety plan as well – figure out something to do before the exchange to calm any nerves you’re feelings, and something after to focus on yourself or the kids, such as going to a park or doing a fun activity

How to Have Important Conversations with Children: 

  • Let your child know that what’s happening is not their fault and that they didn’t cause it.
  • Let them know how much you love them and that you support them no matter what.
  • Tell them you want to protect them, and for everyone to be safe, so you have a plan to use in emergencies.
  • Remember that when you’re safety planning with a child, they might tell this information to the abusive partner, which could make the situation more dangerous, (ex. “Mom said to do this if you get angry.”) Thus, it is important when talking about these plans with your child, use phrases such as “We’re practicing what to do in an emergency,” instead of “We’re planning what you can do when dad/mom becomes violent.”
  • If you have any questions about safety planning or want an advocate’s help in developing a personalized safety plan for your child, give us a call at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Safety Planning for Pets Safety planning for your pets is also important.

  • If possible, don’t leave pets alone with an abusive partner.
  • Bring extra food provisions for them, copies of their medical records and important phone numbers.
  • If you’ll need to leave, seek domestic violence shelters that accept pets, or animal-shelter foster care programs.
  • You can also talk to friends, family or your veterinarian about temporary care for your animal.
  • If your pet was left behind with your abusive partner, ask help from law enforcement officials or animal control.
  • Take steps to prove ownership of your pet:  have them vaccinated and license them with your town, ensuring that these registrations are made in your name. (Change them if they aren’t).
  • If you’re thinking about getting a protective order, know that some states allow pets to be a part of these.
  • If you’ve left your partner, ensure your pet’s safety by changing veterinarians. Avoid leaving pets outside alone.
  • The Animal Welfare Institute and The Human Society have the Safe Havens Mapping Project for Pets of Domestic Violence Victims, which maps shelters that allow you to bring pets. If there is no listing for your area, call a local shelter and ask about temporary assistance for pets in domestic violence situations.
  • If you need a shelter for your pet, the Humane Society has a database of local locations 503.285.7722.
  • Red Rover offers grant programs to enable victims to leave abusive partners without having to leave their pets behind. Grants must be submitted by a shelter worker. See:

Technology and Safety  (Courtesy of 

  • Abusers often use technology to keep track of and control survivors. Be very cautious about your computer usage. Use a computer your abuser does not have access to, when searching or reaching out for assistance—(such as the public library).
  • Computers can store a lot of private information about websites, emails, instant messages, calls you make, etc, and it is impossible to completely clear all of the sites you have visited. Computer monitoring software can easily be placed on a computer, allowing the abuser to view all of your usage activity.
  • Be cautions of accessing bank and email accounts on any computer that you think might be monitored.
  • Remember that text messages and cell phone calls can show up on your cell phone bill.
  • Avoid using personal phones for safety planning, if possible.
  • GPS location tracking devices can be used by abusers to locate you. Contact your cell phone carrier to see if the GPS in your phone has been activated, and can be used in this way.
  • If you think your activities are being monitored or you are being followed, you probably are. Trust your instincts, and talk to the Crisis Line or another appropriate person to help you further plan for your safety.

Safety in public or at work: 

  • If you have an order of protection, keep it with you at ALL TIMES. Make copies of your order and place one in your purse/bag, in your car or anywhere you may stay.
  • Inform building security and coworkers you trust of your situation.
  • If possible, provide a photograph of your abuser to building security.
  • Vary your routes to and from work and arrange for someone to escort you to your car, bus, or train.
  • Plan what to do in various situations if your abuser confronts you.
  • Change store locations where you are known to shop. (Instead of where you usually shop, go elsewhere.)

Preparing to Leave Because violence could escalate when someone tries to leave, remember to: 

  • Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures of injuries.
  • Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made. Keep this in a safe place.
  • Know where you can go to get help. Tell someone what is happening to you. Don’t wait.
  • If injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room. Report what happened to you, and ask that they document it.
  • Plan with your children, and identify a safe place for them—like a room with a lock (if sensible), or a friend’s house where they can go for help. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
  • Contact your local shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis. The Internet site has state-by-state legal information.
  • Acquire job skills or take courses at a community college as you can.
  • Set money aside, or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.
  • Make copies of important documents, and place them somewhere safe, or in a “ready-to-go” bag—and/or leave such items with someone you know is safe, in case you need to leave immediately.

___Driver’s license and registration

___Birth certificates for you and your children

___Social security cards for you and your children

___School and medical records

___Money, bank cards (keep in mind that use of credit cards may enable someone to trace you)

___Keys (office, car, home)


___Photos/jewelry/sentimental items

___Welfare identification

Safety After Leaving

  • If possible, change your locks, get a security system, a large dog, or motion-detector lights.
  • Changing your name and social security number are options. If you change your name, you may want to change it to something common that will make it difficult to locate you, (such as “Mary Smith”).
  • If your neighbors are safe, let them know about your situation and ask that they call the police if necessary.
  • Inform your employer of the situation and ask for workplace accommodations and support to ensure your safety. Ask them to not give your any of your personal information. Vary your work schedule if possible.
  • Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you are in danger.
  • Consider safe transportation options.
  • You may want to vary your daily routines so that your abuser can’t easily find you.
  • If you need to communicate with your abuser, consider safest way of doing it (through a 3rd party? Attorney? Etc).
  • Consider getting a post office box to keep your address confidential.
  • Impress upon friends and family your need for confidentiality.
  • Lock your car doors and park in well-lit areas.
  • Put important documents in a safe deposit box at a bank, if you can.
  • CALL 911 if your abuser violates your protective order, and make sure you have a copy on you at ALL times.
  • If possible, get a cell phone for 911 purposes. Ask a hotline if they are aware of any collected for this purpose.
  • Some states offer a free Address Confidentiality Program. Consider also getting an unlisted phone number.
  • Consider getting CALLER ID on your phone and having your number show as ‘anonymous’ on other’s phones.
  • Screen incoming calls, and save threatening messages if you want to report violations or threats to police.
  • Consider all possible ways to protect your privacy. Examples of places that may have personal information about you include: utility companies, creditors, banks, schools, daycare centers, fitness centers, churches, tax records, insurance companies, magazine subscriptions, online social media sites.
  • Change passwords to computers and personal accounts. Use passwords that your abuser won’t be able to guess (for instance, don’t use the names of pets or children).

Is the abuser in Jail?: 

  • Some states offer a way to find out the custody status of an offender, and may also allow you to register to be notified by phone and email if the custody status of an offender changes.

List of Local, Pennsylvania Resources for Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence

Berks Women In Crisis:
255 Chestnut Street, Reading, PA 19602
Tel: 610-373-1206, Fax: 610-372-4188
Email:, Website:
Safe House Phone: 610-373-2053, Fax: 610-373-1799, Email:

A Woman’s Place
P.O. Box 299, Doylestown, PA 18901
24-Hour hotline: 800-220-8116, Phone 215.343.9241, Fax 215.343.3411, Web:

West Chester
Domestic Violence Center of Chester Co.
PO Box 832, West Chester, PA 19381
Hotline: (888) 711-6270 or (610) 431-1430. Tel: (610) 431-3546, TTY: (610) 431-7262; Web: www.dvccc.html
Provides 24-hour hotline, counseling, housing, legal advocacy, outreach and education programs.

Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County Inc.
14 West 2nd Street, Media, PA 19063
Hotline:(610) 565-4590, Tel:(610) 565-6272, Tel: TTY(610) 565-2735, Fax:(610) 565-9911
Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware county Inc. provides counseling, housing, legal, medical and welfare advocacy, prevention education and community outreach, clinical training and educational programs.

Delaware County Women Against Rape
P.O. Box 211, Media, PA 19063
Hotline:610-566-4342, Phone:610-566-5866, Phone:610-566-7954, Fax:610-566-6896


Laurel House
PO Box 764, Norristown, PA 19404
Hotline:(800) 642-3150, Tel:(610) 277-1860, TTY:(888) 883-0770; Web:
24-hr hotline, Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART), counseling, support groups, children’s program, temporary emergency shelter, transitional housing, medical advocacy, legal advocacy & representation.

Victim Services of Montgomery County
18 West Airy Street Suite 1, Norristown, PA 19401
Hotline:888-521-0983, Tel: (610) 277-0932, Sexual Violence: 610-277-5200;
Provides free and confidential comprehensive support services to crime victims, their families and significant others; prevention education and risk reduction programs.

Counseling, biblical counseling, and other services:

Hazael Haven, Inc.

P.O. Box 19204, Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone: (267) 292-4558, Fax: (678) 669-7869; Email:, Web:

– Biblical counseling / support group re: domestic and intimate partner violence, and preventive education for young women and men. Has networked  with safe-haven homes, and is raising funds to launch pilot project ‘Safe Refuge’, to support and house women and children facing domestic and intimate partner violence.

Church support groups:

  • Enon Baptist: 2800 W Cheltenham Ave, 19150; (215) 276-7200,
  • Mount Zion Baptist Church of Germantown: 41 W. Rittenhouse Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144

Tel. (215) 844.7614, Fax (215) 844.3680, Email:
Lutheran Settlement House – (bilingual support for Spanish speakers)

1340 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia , PA 19125

24-hr Hotline & Main Phone: (215) 426.8610; Fax: (215) 426.0581; Web:

Counseling, legal and medical advocacy, education and training, and after-school program for high school students re: dating violence / healthy relationships. Housing for men.

Housing for women and children: Jane Addams Place: 25 S. 43rd St, Phila, PA 19104; Tel. (215) 387-2587

Congresso – (bilingual support for Spanish speakers)

216 West Somerset Street, Philadelphia, PA 19133

Tel: 215-763-8870; Fax: 215-291-0561
Website:  FB:

– Provides Latina Domestic Violence Program (LDVP), a counseling and advocacy program for survivors of domestic violence, as well as for children who have witnessed domestic violence.

Esperanza Health Center – (bilingual support for Spanish speakers)
Provides Medical, Dental, Behavioral Health, Social and Wellness services:

  • 2940 N. 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19133; Tel. 215-221-6633
  •     3156 Kensington Ave, Phila, 19134; Medical: 215-831-1100; Dental: 215-831-1100, x201
  •     4417 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140; Tel. 215-302-3600

Women In Transition, Inc.
21 South 12th Street, 6th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Hotline: (215) 751-1111; (866) SAFE-014; Main Tel: (215) 564-5301; Fax: (215) 564-5723
Web:; Email:
– Provides counseling, support groups, crisis intervention, and information.

Women Against Abuse
100 South Broad Street, Suite 1341, Philadelphia, PA 19110
Tel. (215) 386-1280; Website: PA DV Hotline: 866-723-3014
– Women Against Abuse leads operations for the hotline, which is also run by Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Lutheran Settlement House, and Women in Transition. WAA provides crisis counseling, safety planning, referrals to community resources, and admission to Women Against Abuse’s safe haven. Hotline cards are available for pick-up at our admin office. Contact: