Safety Planning for Battered Women

You do not have control over your partner’s violence, but you have a choice about how to get yourself and your children to safety. Leaving must be done with a careful plan. Abusers often strike back when they believe their partner is leaving the relationship.

Safety during a violent incident:

  • Practice getting out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells, or fire escapes would you use?
  • Keep your purse and car key where you can get to them in order to leave quickly.
  • Tell neighbors about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from your home.
  • Teach your children to use the phone to contact the police and fire department.
  • When you anticipate an argument, avoid the bathroom, garage, kitchen and other areas near weapons or rooms without access to an outside door.

Safety when preparing to leave:

  • Keep copies of important documents, keys, extra clothes and money with a friend or family member.
  • Call 911 if you need assistance leaving. Keep the national domestic violence hotline number – 1-800-799 SAFE with you or memorize it. The TTY phone number is 1-800-787-3224.
  • Check with friends or family members to see who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you money.
  • Rehearse your escape plan and, if appropriate, practice it with your children

Items to take when leaving:

  • Identification for yourself
  • Your birth certificate
  • School and vaccination records
  • Credit cards
  • Medications
  • Insurance papers
  • Keys – house, car, office
  • All identification documents for self and children
  • Children’s birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • ATM card, checkbook
  • Bank books
  • Children’s favorite toy/blanket
  • Lease/house deed

Plan ahead and put these items in one bag. Hide this bag somewhere he will not find it. Try to keep it at a trusted friend or neighbor’s house. Avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members, or mutual friends. Your abuser might be more likely to find it there.

As you are leaving

  • As you’re leaving, grab the bag you hid, your driver’s license, any checkbooks, and credit cards if you can. If there’s time, take the originals of documents you might need – like birth certificates, social security cards, legal documents and financial documents.
    If you’re in an emergency and need to get out right away, don’t worry about gathering these things. While they’re helpful to have, getting out safely should come first.
  • Create a false trail. Call motels, real estate agencies, and schools in a town at least six hours away from where you plan to go. Ask them questions that will need to be answered by them calling you back. Give them your old phone number.
  • Leave when your abuser will least expect it. This will give you more time to get away before your abuser realizes you are gone.