Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance

Personal Safety Plan

Step 1: Safety during a violent incident. You cannot always avoid violent incidents. In order to increase safety, you may use a variety of strategies. 

You can use some or all of the following strategies:

A. Think ahead of time, how will I get out? (Practice how to get out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells or fire escapes will you use?)

B. Where can I leave my keys so I can leave quickly?

C. Can I teach my children how to call 911? Do my children know where to go in the house to be safe? Do my children have an escape route and place to go in case of violence?

D. If I have to leave my home I will go to the following place(s)________________. (Think of one or two places, even if you think the violence will never happen again).

E. I will teach my children some of these safety strategies.

F. Sometimes all I can do is survive. I will use my judgement and intuition. If the situation is very serious, I can protect myself until I/we are out of danger.


Step 2: Safety when preparing to leave. 

Battered women frequently leave the residence they share with the battering partner. Leaving must be done with a careful plan in order to increase safety. Batterers often strike back when they believe that a battered woman is leaving a relationship.

I can use some of the following safety strategies:

A. I will leave money and an extra set of keys with_____________ so I can leave quickly.

B. I will keep copies of important documents or keys at________________.

C. The local domestic violence programs’ phone numbers are located on the back page:

D. I will check with______________ and _______________ to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.

E. I can leave extra clothes with ____________.

F. I will rehearse my escape plan and, if appropriate, will practice it with my children.


Step 3: Safety in my own residence. 

There are many things that a woman can do to increase her safety in her own residence. It may be impossible to do everything at once, but safety measures can be added step by step. My local domestic violence program may be able to help with some of these.

A. Change locks on my doors and install locks on windows as soon as possible.

B. Replace wooden doors with steel/metal doors.

C. Install security systems including additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, and electronic system, etc.

D. Purchase rope latter to escape from second story windows.

E. Install smoke detectors and purchase fire extinguishers for each floor in my house/apartment.

F. Install outside motion lights.

G. Tell people who take care of your children, which people have permission to pick up your children.


Step 4: Safety with a protective order

Many batterers obey protective orders, but one can never be sure which violent partner will obey and which will violate protection orders. You may need to ask police and the courts to enforce your protection order.

The following are some steps you can take to help enforcement of your protection order.

A. Carry your protection order with you at all times

B. Give copies of your protection order to the police department in the community where you work, and those communities where you visit your family or friends and in the community where you live

C. Call the local police domestic violence program for assistance with any of the above.

D. Inform your employer, minister, and close friends that you have a protection order in effect.

E. If your partner violates the protection order, you can call the police and report a violation, contact your attorney and/or advocate and/or you can contact the courts to report the violation.

F. If the police do not help, contact your advocate or attorney and file a complaint with the chief of the police department.


Step 5: Safety and drug and alcohol use.

Most people in this culture use alcohol. Many use mood-altering drugs. Much of this use is legal and some is not. The legal outcomes of using illegal drugs can be very hard on a battered women, may hurt her relationship with her children and put her at a disadvantage in other legal actions her battering partner. Therefore, women should carefully consider the potential cost of the use of illegal drugs. But beyond this, the use of any alcohol or drugs can reduce a woman’s awareness and ability to act quickly to protect herself from her battering partner. Furthermore, the use of alcohol and other drugs by the batterer may give him an excuse to use violence. Therefore, in the context of drug or alcohol use, a woman needs to make specific safety plans.

If drug and alcohol use has occurred in my relationship with the battering partner, you can enhance your safety by some or all of the following:

A. If you are going to use, do it in a safe place and with people who understand the risk of violence and are commited to your safety.

B. You can also___________________________________.

C. If you partner is using, you can_______________________________.

D. To safe guard your children you might____________________________.


Step 7: Safety and emotional help.

The experience of being battered and verbally degraded by partners is usually exhausting and emotionally draining. The process of building a new life takes time, courage, and incredible energy.

To conserve your emotional energy and resources, and, to avoid hard emotional times. I can do some of the following:

A.  If I feel down and ready to return to a potentially abusive situation, I can _________________________________.

B. If I have to communicate with my partner in person or by telephone, I can__________________________________.

C. I can use “I can….” Statements with myself and to be assertive with others.

D. I can call _________________ and ___________________ as other resources to be of support.

E. I can attend support groups and workshops at the domestic violence program or ____________________________ to gain support and strengthen my relationships with other people.


Step 8: Items to take when leaving.

When women leave partners, it is important to take certain items with them. Beyond this, women sometimes give an extra copy of papers and an extra set of clothes to a friend just in case they have to leave quickly.

Items with the asterisks on the following list are the most important to take. If there is time, the other items might be taken or stored outside the home.

When you leave, these are the items to take


*Children’s birth certificates

*Your birth certificate

*Social security card(s)

*School and vaccination records


*Checkbook or ATM card

*Credit cards


*Driver’s License and registration



Children’s favorite toy and/or blanket

Welfare identification

work permits

Green card


Divorce papers

Bank books

Address book


Items of special sentimental value

Medical records


Make a list of telephone numbers that may be important and that you may need including local police, school, work, and your local domestic violence program.


For more information on safety planning please contact the Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance at 541-592-2515. We are open Monday -Thursday 9-5 and Fridays from 9-12.