Develop a Safety Plan

Women who are at risk of violence by their partners are strongly advised to develop a personalized safety plan as a first step in protecting themselves and their children. The following will help you create your plan. The purpose of a safety plan is to empower women to prepare for a possible crisis situation and to make healthy safe choices in the relationship and after ending the relationship. A safety plan is a practical guide that helps you lower your risk of being hurt by your abuser. It includes information specific to you and your life that will help keep you safe. It is also important to consider the risks that technology pose to your safety. A good safety plan helps you stay safe at home and in the community but also across the internet, social media and through your tech devices. The information below is a good start, however we encourage you to reach out for assistance when it is safe to do so.

Call DASO at 519-539-4811 or 1-800-265-1938 for further assistance in developing your plan.

Safety at Home

  • Know the quickest route out of your home. Practice escaping that way.
  • Know the quickest route out of your workplace. Practice escaping that way.
  • Know the route to shelters, police stations, hospitals, fire stations and public places/stores opened 24 hours a day.
  • Pack a bag and have it ready. Keep it somewhere where it is hidden but easy to grab.
  • Tell your neighbours about the abuse and ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance.
  • Have a code word to use with your children, family, neighbours, coworkers and friends. They will know to call the police and get you help.
  • Teach your children how to reach help (e.g dialing 911, going to a neighbour) in an emergency situation.
  • Keep your phone charged and, on your person, where possible.
  • Make arrangements for pets.
  • Use and trust your instincts.
Woman looking at smartphone

Technology Safety

Please note: Making changes to your technology devices may indicate to your abuser that you are aware and/or are preparing to leave. Use caution when making changes.

  • Take all threats seriously.
  • Change passwords and usernames. Consider creating all new accounts.
  • Check your smartphone settings. Ensure devices are not connected through Bluetooth or hot spot.
  • Turn off Location settings. Or use Airplane Mode.
  • Get a new smartphone OR factory reset your current phone.
  • Check the apps on your smartphone. Make sure you know what every one does and delete ones you do not use or recognize.
  • Have your car checked for hidden location devices.
  • Reset smart home devices including video doorbells, security cameras, Alexa/Google Home devices.
  • Thoroughly and frequently check through your children’s devices.
  • Document abuse/threats. Take screenshots, and/or print call history or text logs.

Plan in advance where you would go in an emergency and how to get there. Take the following with you: identification, health records, money, bank/credit cards, keys, medication, legal papers, important phone numbers, jewelry/photos/sentimental items, cellphone and charger, a few items of clothing and favourite toys/blankets.

Click here to find out what to expect when you go to a women’s shelter.

It is your right to protect yourself and your children.