Safety Planning

Safety planning is an ongoing process. Contact a nearby licensed domestic violence program to connect with an advocate who can help.

If you are in danger, please

  • Call 911.

  • Call your local shelter or a national hotline.

    • U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or TTY at 1-800-787-3224

    • U.S. National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 automatically connect you to a local U.S. rape crisis program near your phone number’s area code.

    • Scroll down on our home page to find other helpful resources 

  • Be aware that many cell phones and cell phone plans have location tracking (GPS) features that an abuser with access could use to learn where you are or where you have been.

  • Contact your local domestic violence program, shelter, or rape crisis center to learn about free cell phone donation programs.

  • Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs – avoid roads with no exits or rooms with weapons.
  • Practice how to get out of your home safely.
  • Keep purse/wallet and car keys readily available.
  • Memorize all important numbers.
  • Teach children how to call 911 or other emergency services in your area.
  • Think about a safe place to go or safe person to contact.
  • Rehearse an escape plan. Practice it with your children.
  • Open a savings account if possible.

  • Change your phone number.
  • Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries, or incidents.
  • Change locks if batterer has key.
  • Avoid staying alone.
  • Plan how to get away if confronted by batterer.
  • Vary your routine.
  • Keep your protection order on or near you.
  • Give the protection order to police departments in communities where you live and work.
  • If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place.
  • Inform your employer, spiritual leader, close friends and relatives that you have a protection order and show them a picture of the abuser.
  • Ask for help screening calls at work.
  • Identification
  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards
  • School and vaccination records
  • Marriage license and/or divorce papers
  • Leases or deeds in both names
  • Money, checkbook, ATM card, charge card, bank books
  • House and car keys
  • Pay stubs or W-2 for both of you
  • Drivers License and registration
  • Medications
  • Welfare identification, work permits, green card, passport
  • Bank statements and charge account statements
  • Documentation of past incidents
  • Insurance policies

Technology Safety

People working together at a desk

If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are.

Abusers tend to be controlling; They want to know your every move. Importantly, they don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor your computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it. In fact,  there are many ways abusers could be monitoring you using Spyware, keystroke loggers, hacking tools, and more.

Note also that when you’re being monitored, it could be dangerous to suddenly change your computer behaviors such as deleting your browser history (if that is not your regular habit), so be careful not to arouse suspicion and put yourself in a dangerous situation.

You may want to keep using the monitored computer for normal activities, such as checking the weather, or browsing recipes. Use a safer computer–one that your abuser does not have direct or indirect (remote) access to–when possible, to find your local domestic violence shelter, research an escape plan, look for new jobs, find a new place to live, check prices of bus tickets, and so on.

Here are other security tips that can help keep you safe. 

  • Computers can store a lot of private information about what websites you visit, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases, medical information, banking, and many other activities.
  • It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints” of your computer or online activities, but you can use safer practices. 
  • When you’re accessing information you wish to keep private from your abuser, consider using a computer in a public library, at a community technology center (CTC), at a trusted friend’s house, or an internet café–something your abuser doesn’t have access to. 
  • If it isn’t possible for you to use a different computer or device, use your browser’s “incognito” or “private browsing” mode. This can help you escape some low-level tracking techniques.
  • To further increase your safety, use a VPN, or “virtual private network” service. This adds another layer to your digital safety, by cloaking your IP and ISP. 
  • Email and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are some of the least confidential ways to talk to someone about the  abuse in your life. Please call a hotline instead. You can use a secure messaging app such as Signal, which can help keep your messages from being intercepted–but when your abuser has access to your phone, the abuser may be able to see the app on your phone. Just the app could arouse suspicions.