ChecklistWhen people approach HAWC to learn more about our services, the number one priority is always safety. That’s why safety planning is one of the most effective tools our advocates teach our clients.

Developing a safety plan involves coming up with creative ways for a survivor to protect him or herself if ever in fear because of his or her abuser. By brainstorming about the different ways to find safety in the event of an emergency, the survivor is empowered to take back control of an escalated situation.

Here are some examples of tips our advocates suggest to survivors while building a plan:

  • Is there a trusted friend or family member you can inform about your situation? Could you flee to his or her home in the event of an emergency?
  • Always have a cell phone with you. Event if you are out of minutes, you can always call 911.
  • If you or your child have any prescriptions, it is advised you carry them with you at all times.
  • Make extra copies of important keys.
  • If you have a restraining order against an abuser, keep it with you.
  • Keeping copies of your and your children’s birth certificates, social security cards and your driver’s license is also advised.
  • Lock all windows and doors in your home, especially when you are alone.
  • Use an answering machine to screen phone calls.

These are just a few of the ways survivors can protect themselves from any further abuse. And remember: even if an abuser has never been physically violent, when a victim begins making moves to remove him or herself from the situation, an abuser’s tactics often become more frequent and aggressive.

Here are some additional safety tips. If you or someone you know may be experiecing domestic abuse, please call our 24-hour free and confidental hotline at 1-800-547-1649.