Need Someone on Your Side?

Call 24/7 Crisis Hotline at 1.800.359.0056.

Our advocates are trained and ready to talk to you about your particular situation, to provide emotional support, to offer referrals to community resources, and to help you make a safety plan to leave your abuser.

All calls are confidential. All services are free.

You are not required to stay in the safe shelter when you come in for help or call for guidance or information. If you are not ready to speak with someone about your situation, please read the information we have for you on this site. When you feel ready to reach out, give us a call.

Bilingual support is available from 9am - 5pm.

Safety Planning and Strategy

Considering your family's safety is the most important thing you can do when planning to leave your situation.

The following are some suggested tips in developing a safety plan, however, remember that you know your abuser and specific situation best, so listen to your instincts in choosing which of these may or may not be safe for you. These ideas do not cover every possible scenario; and you may find that some may or may not work for you.

It is your decision whether to make a safety plan, and what to include if you do make one. It may help to speak with an expertise in domestic violence. You should also consider where you can safely keep this plan so your abuser does not have access to it.


Handling a Violent Incident

Victims cannot always avoid violent incidents of abuse. To increase safety, a victim can use various strategies.

  • If deciding to leave, have a plan of departure, such as which window, door, stairwell, etc
  • Keep purse and keys ready for the departure
  • Tell neighbors to call police if suspicious noises are heard
  • Teach children to call the police, neighbor, relative
  • Select a code word that the children, friend, neighbors know to call the police
  • Start your own savings or checking account

Safety at Home

Prepare a safety plan and discuss the plan with your family, friends, children, or neighbors. Discuss when to call the police. There are many ways to increase safety at home, including:

  • Changing the locks and replace wooden doors with metal doors
  • Installing additional locks
  • Installing additional outside lighting
  • Teaching children how to use the phone to call a friend, relative, neighbor, or police
  • Staying in parts of the home that are close to an exit
  • Having a bag packed in a hidden place for quick departure

Talk With People You Trust

Talk with people you trust such as friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Let them know what is happening and talk about ways they might be able to help. 

Consider what you might do to increase safety during an argument or if you can tell abuse is coming. For example, some rooms in your home may be safer than others. Some survivors try to move away from the kitchen because it has knives and other many sharp objects. Some survivors try to stay close to a door, so they could run if they needed to.


Memorize Phone Numbers

Memorize the numbers you might need to use in an emergency, like 911, a friend or family member’s telephone number, or the local hotline. The Crisis Intervention Center’s hotline number is toll free, 1.800.359.0056. Keep in mind that the person hurting you could take your cell phone from you, so memorizing numbers or keeping a list of numbers somewhere safe may be helpful.


Plan How You Would Escape

Plan how you would escape if you needed to. If you live in an apartment building, make sure you know all the ways out of the building. Consider what routes you could take to get to transportation, and where you could go to get to safety.

You could learn how to get to a local police station, fire department, hospital emergency room, or 24-hour store. You might want to identify a route to the subway that is different from your usual route, and plan to use that in an emergency.


Talk With Your Children

Consider talking with your children about safety. Some survivors teach their children how to call 911, or talk with them about a neighbor’s home or place in the community that may be a safe place to go in an emergency.


Prepare an Emergency Bag

You may want to put together a bag that includes money, copies of house and car keys, medicine, and copies of important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, immigration documents, court orders, and health insurance information.

The bag could also include extra clothes, important phone numbers, or other things you might need if you had to leave your home in a hurry. If you prepare an emergency bag, you may be able to keep it at a trusted friend or family member’s home.


Items to Take When Leaving

  • Identification for self, such as driver’s license, social security cards, passport, green card, public assistance ID, work permit, etc.
  • Money, credit cards, checkbook, ATM card
  • Important documents, such as birth certificates, social security cards, school and vaccination records, medical records, welfare identification records, marriage/Divorce papers/Temporary Orders, Protective Order
  • Clothing
  • Lease/rental agreements, or house deed
  • Insurance papers
  • Medical records: health, life and medical records
  • House, office, car keys
  • Medication / toiletries / diapers
  • Address book, pictures, jewelry, small sellable objects
  • Financial documents: income tax records, savings accounts, bank books, IRAs
  • Children’s favorite toys and/or blankets
  • Anything that would be impossible or hard to replace should the abuser decide to destroy it

IMPORTANT: If your safety is at risk, LEAVE. Do not worry about getting any of these items if you are in danger.


If You Have Left the Relationship

  • Change your phone number
  • Screen all calls
  • Save and document all contact, message, threats, injuries or other incidents
  • Change locks, if the abuser has a key
  • Avoid staying alone
  • Plan how to get away if confronted by your abusive partner
  • If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place
  • Vary your routine
  • Notify your children’s school and work
  • Call a shelter for service, help, counseling, safety plan
  • Contact an attorney or legal aid

You have the right to live without fear & violence.

We can help. Call 1.800.359.0056, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

Posted by Donald W Reynolds Crisis Intervention Center on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Special Thanks to Our Partners