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Safety Plan

What is a safety plan and why do I need one?

A safety plan is a prioritized document laying out a action plan to help keep you and your children safe from abuse. It identifies action steps to increase safety and to prepare in advance for the possibility of further violence. If you are working with a support person or advocate they can help you create this plan but you can also create your own if you do not have an advocate. Places such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Community Legal Education Ontario have easy to use templates available that can be filled out and customized. Whether you are using an online template or working with an advocate/support, these plans will typically include fill in the blank information that may apply to you and checklists of things to do before, during and after you leave an abusive relationship. It is important to make extra copies of your plan to provide to your support person(s).

Your individualized safety plan is designed to reduce the risks of further abuse for you and your children. Take some time to think of all the protective measures you can put in place and through each section of this safety planning tool. You will be asked a series of questions to help you identify your safety options. You can use this tool on your own, or you can use it with a support.

It is also a good idea to create a safety plan with your children that aligns with your own. Because children within the same family vary in age, needs and abilities, each child will require different plans. The ultimate goal of the safety plan for children is to empower your children by making sure they know how to get help if and when needed. It is also important for children to understand that they are not responsible or to blame for the violence or abuse they witness or are subjected to.

If is helpful to review and become familiar will all the sections within the safety plan and update it frequently as situations can change at every stage and there is possibility something can trigger your abuser.

It is critical you keep this plan private and safe. Abusers will often attempt to gain power and control by accessing your personal information and records. Hide printed material in a safe place, and ensure online or computer documents are stored on a secure device and password protected.

Within that safety plan, is typically a checklist of anything you need or think you may need when you decide to leave your partner as you may not be able to return home safely and your ex-partner may destroy or hide items that he knows you will want. Creating an emergency bag and putting it in a safe location or with a trusted support person allows it to be easily retrieved. The bag should contain essential items to get you through a few days if you have to leave in a hurry. Only take the bag if safe to do so. An example of things to include in your emergency bag is as follows:

Copies or photographs of important documents

  • Birth certificates for you and your children

  • Marriage certificate

  • Immigration papers

  • Passports

  • Work permits

  • Banking books and records

  • Mortgage or lease documents for home and car

  • Car registration

  • Medical records

  • Insurance documents

  • Copies of court orders

Extra set of keys that I need, like home, car, and work keys

Medication and prescriptions

Change of clothes

Special or valuable items, like family photos, important jewelry, small gifts from my family

Children’s important items

  • Medication and prescriptions

  • Vaccination records

  • Special toys

  • Change of clothes

Keep your wallet and purse in spot that easy to grab quickly and ensure the following are in there:

  • credit cards

  • debit cards

  • some cash

  • health card

  • drivers license

  • cheque book

  • social insurance number card

  • cell phone; and

  • charger

If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence or family violence and would like to learn more about creating their individual safety plan, be reach out to Evermore Ontario for assistance.

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