24-hour hotline 802-775-3232

Safety Plan

Safety Plan

Leaving an abusive relationship can often times be VERY dangerous. It is important to think about your safety and if possible, plan ahead.

If you need assistance in developing a safety plan please call 802-775-3232, 1-800-228-7395 (domestic violence), or 1-800-489-7273 (sexual violence) and an advocate can assist you.

Things to think about when preparing to leave, when leaving, or after leaving an abusive relationship:

  1. Have important phone numbers nearby for you and your children. Teach your children how to call 911. Numbers to have are the police, hotlines, friends, and the local shelter.
  2. Friends or neighbors you could tell about the abuse. Ask them to call the police if they hear angry or violent noises. Make up a code word or signal that you can use when you need help.
  3. How to get out of your home safely. Practice ways to get out.
  4. Make a list of four places you may be able to go and four people who may be able to help you when you leave.
  5. Safer places in your home where there are exits and no weapons. If you feel abuse is going to happen try to get your abuser to one of these safer places.
  6. Are there any weapons in the house? Think of ways you could get them out safely.
  7. Open a checking account or get a credit card in only your name.
  8. Even if you do not plan to leave, think of where you could go if you did. How might you leave? Do things that will get you out of the house-taking the trash out, walking the dog or going to the store. Have a bag of things you use every day ready in case you need to leave. Hide the bag in a place where it is easy for you to get it.
  9. Go over your safety plan often.

After You Have Left:

  1. Get a cell phone even if it is just for 911 calls. Your local domestic violence program may be able to help you with this.
  2. Do you want to get a Relief from Abuse Order? An advocate can help you with this process.
  3. Change your locks. Get a security system, out door lighting, metal doors as opposed to wooden ones.
  4. Let your friends and neighbors know that the abuser should not be in or around your home so if they see him to call the police.
  5. Tell your children’s school or childcare facility who is allowed to pick your children up.
  6. If you have a Relief from Abuse order consider giving a copy to your childcare facility, school, and work.
  7. Make a safety plan for work. This includes traveling to and from work.
  8. If you know where he shops and hangs out do not go to these places.
  9. If you must see him or speak with him, how can you do so safely?
  10. Is there someone you can call when you are feeling down? Consider calling the local domestic violence hotline or attending support group.
  11. Go over your safety plan often.


  • Children (if it is safe)
  • Money
  • Keys to car, house, work
  • Extra clothes
  • Medicine
  • Important papers for you and your children
  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards
  • School and medical records
  • Bankbooks, credit cards
  • Driver’s license
  • Car registration
  • Welfare identification
  • Passports, green cards, work permits
  • Lease/rental agreement
  • Mortgage payment book, unpaid bills
  • Insurance papers
  • Relief from Abuse Order, divorce papers, custody orders
  • Address book
  • Pictures, jewelry, things that mean a lot to you
  • Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc.)