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The safety plan for survivors of domestic violence

Domestic violence refers to a pattern of abusive behavior used by one person in a relationship to gain power and control over another person. It occurs within various types of intimate relationships, such as spouses or partners, dating relationships, or family members. Domestic violence can affect individuals regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or cultural background.

Abuse in domestic violence can take many forms, including but not limited to:

Physical Abuse

Any physical force or action that causes harm or injury, such as hitting, slapping, punching, choking, or using weapons.

Emotional or Psychological Abuse

Behaviors aimed at undermining the survivor’s self-esteem and mental well-being, such as constant criticism, humiliation, gaslighting, threats, intimidation, and manipulation.

Sexual Abuse

Coercing or forcing the survivor to engage in any sexual activity without their consent, including rape, unwanted sexual acts, or degradation.

Financial Abuse

Controlling or limiting the survivor’s access to financial resources, preventing them from working, or using their finances without permission.

Digital Abuse

Using technology to harass, monitor, stalk, or control the survivor, such as monitoring their online activities, sending threatening messages, or sharing explicit images without consent.


Isolating the survivor from their support network, friends, and family, making it difficult for them to seek help or leave the abusive relationship.

Suggestions to create a safety plan for the survivors of domestic violence

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, it’s important to make a safety plan in order to keep you safe.

Although every situation of domestic violence victim is unique, you can follow the general guidelines to create your own safety plans for domestic violence. While making your own safety plans, the safety and well-being of the survivor should always be the top priority.

Here are some steps you can consider when creating a safety plan:

Develop a Support Network:

  • Identify trusted friends, family members, or organizations that can provide support during and after an abusive incident.
  • Share your situation with them and let them know what you need from them, whether it’s emotional support, a safe place to stay, or help with practical matters.

Emergency Contacts:

  • Memorize emergency phone numbers such as the national helpline for domestic violence in your country, local law enforcement, and trusted individuals who can help you in a crisis.
  • Keep a written list of emergency contacts in a safe and accessible place.

Identify Safe Areas:

  • Determine which areas of your home are safest during an altercation. Avoid rooms with weapons or areas where you could be trapped.
  • Practice how to quickly exit the premises and have a predetermined safe place to go, such as a neighbor’s house or a local shelter.

Safety at Home:

  • If possible, change the locks on doors and windows to enhance your security.
  • Install a security system or alarms to deter potential abusers and notify authorities in case of a break-in.
  • Consider keeping important documents, such as identification papers, restraining orders, and evidence of abuse, in a safe place outside of your home.

Safety in Public:

  • Vary your daily routines and avoid predictable patterns of behavior.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, move to a public place or approach a trusted person for help.
  • If you have children, establish a safe meeting place and teach them how to seek help in case of an emergency.

Digital Security:

  • Change passwords regularly and use strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts.
  • Be cautious about sharing personal information on social media or other online platforms.
  • Consider using private browsing or a virtual private network (VPN) to increase your online privacy.

Restraining Order or Protection Order:

  • Consult with a legal professional to understand the process of obtaining a restraining order or protection order.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times, and provide copies to your local police department, trusted friends, and your workplace if necessary.

Self-Care and Emotional Support:

  • Prioritize self-care activities that help you relax and reduce stress, such as exercise, therapy, meditation, or hobbies.
  • Seek counseling or support groups specifically for survivors of domestic violence, as they can provide a safe space for sharing experiences and receiving guidance.

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