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Safety Planning


» Safety Planning for Victims of Domestic
Violence
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» Sexual Assault Safety Planning &
Risk Reduction
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For Victims of Domestic Violence
Battered women may face numerous risks on a daily basis, but planning ahead can enhance safety during or after a violent incident. Please contact DASI for an appointment, or call the 24-hour Helpline for assistance in developing a personalized safety plan for you and your family.

This brief outline may help you get started:
  • Plan and practice how to get safely out of the house, and think about where you will go. Make sure your children understand this as well.
  • Keep wallet, purse, keys, cash, medications, and important papers and phone numbers in an accessible place so that you can grab them if you need to leave quickly.
  • Tell trusted neighbors about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear suspicious noises. Set up a code word or signal with them if necessary.
  • Teach children to call 911.
  • During an argument, remain in rooms with access to an outside door if possible.
  • Obtain prepaid phone cards or use a friend’s phone to keep communications confidential.

Safety planning with a restraining order, or when your partner has left the home:

  • Always keep your restraining order on or near your person. Remember it when you change handbags.
  • Give copies of the restraining order to police departments in the community where you live and visit or work on a regular basis. Give copies to your children’s schools.
  • Inform trusted friends, clergy, and your employer that you have a restraining order in effect.
  • You may call the police if your partner violates the restraining order.
  • Prepare a safety plan, or alter your usual routine when leaving work, or when grocery shopping, banking, etc.
  • Change the locks and/or install a security system. Increase outdoor lighting.
  • Ask neighbors to call the police if they see your partner near your house.

Safety and your emotional health:

  • Have a plan for when you feel depressed and alone and tempted to return to a potentially abusive situation.
  • Have a plan for when you must communicate with your partner in person or by phone.
  • Read and learn about the dynamics of domestic violence and abuse in relationships.
  • Enlist the support of trusted family and friends.
  • Reach out for services designed to help, such as counseling and support groups at your local domestic violence program.
Sexual Assault Safety Planning & Risk Reduction
It is often the case that an act of sexual violence will surprise the victim.  The offender may be someone known to the victim or a stranger.  The following guidelines are helpful for keeping an individual safe from someone who is intent on doing harm.

Be Prepared
Common sense things we sometimes forget:

  • Stay in groups, there is safety in numbers.
  • Plan your outings and let friends and loved ones know your plans.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption. Studies indicate that the most common date rape drug is alcohol.
  • Never leave a drink unattended. Educate yourself about date rape drugs.
  • Walk only in well-lit areas.
  • Keep the doors to homes and cars locked.
  • Know where a phone is located.
  • Don't go anywhere alone with someone unless you know the person very well and trust him or her.

Be Alert
You should be especially alert if the person you are with:

  • Ignores, interrupts, or makes fun of you
  • Sits or stands too close to you or stares at you
  • Has a reputation for being a "player"
  • Drinks too much or uses drugs; tries to get you to use drugs or alcohol
  • Tries to touch or kiss you or gets into your "personal space" when you barely know him or her
  • Wants to be alone with you before getting to know you, or pressures you to be alone together
  • Does what he or she wants without asking what you want
  • Gets angry or sulks if he or she doesn't get what he or she wants
  • Pressures you to have sex, or tries to make you feel guilty for saying "no."

Trust your instincts;
if a place or person feels unsafe, it probably is.

  • Watch for signs of trouble such as strangers in private areas or persons loitering in places where they shouldn't be.
  • If you sense trouble, get to a safe place as soon as possible.
  • If you feel you are in danger, attract help any way you can.

Be Assertive
Act confidently and assured.  Offenders target vulnerable individuals.

  • Being assertive means that you state what you want.
  • Remember: "No" means "No." If you do not want to be intimate with another person, tell him or her clearly. Use a confident voice and body posture.
  • Match your body language to your words - don't laugh and smile while saying "No."
  • Do not just "go along" for the wrong reasons.

Safety Planning After a Sexual Assault
Following a sexual assault the victim may feel unsafe. Call the DASI HELPLINE, 973-875-1211, when you feel unsafe or need to safety plan.

Safety in Your Own Residence

  • You can change the locks on my doors and windows as soon as possible.
  • You can install security systems including additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, an electronic system, etc.
  • You can install lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to my house.
  • You can notify friends and family of your safety concerns.
  • You can keep the doors and windows locked.
  • You can preprogram home and cell phone for 9-1-1

Be Alert

  • As soon as you get in your car lock your car doors.
  • Trust your instincts; if a place or person feels unsafe, it probably is.
  • Watch for signs of trouble such as strangers in private areas or persons loitering in places where they shouldn’t be.
  • If you sense trouble, get to a safe place as soon as possible.
  • If you feel you are in danger, attract help any way you can.
  • Seek shelter at DASI

Protective Orders
Based on your relationship to the offender and/or the status of criminal charges against the offender you may be eligible to receive a restraining order.  

Adapted with permission from the US Army Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Program http://www.sexualassault.army.mil/content/prev_reduce_victim.cfm