Not everyone who is encountering abuse is ready to leave their partner.
To stay safe while making a decision, the National Domestic Violence Hotline recommends coming up with a safety plan.
According to the Hotline, a safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action and more.
Plans may be different based on the situation you’re in. Here are five situations that may fit yours and suggestions to follow. For a full list with each safety plan, click here. http://www.thehotline.org/help/path-to-safety/ (this link leads to all the references to “click here” below)
1) Safety while living with an abusive partner.
If the abuser is still in the house, a safety plan needs to include safe places within the home, close proximity to a phone at all times and warnings to friends or neighbors of the situation at home.
For a list to follow, see the National Domestic Violence Hotline recommendations here.
2) Safety planning with children
Staying safe is a different story if you aren’t the only one at home during a violent situation. If children are present, a safety plan should include ways that they can stay safe when violence is happening in your home. Remember, if the violence is escalating, avoid running to the children because your partner may hurt them as well.
There are several scenarios to follow when making a safety plan and children are involved. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a different plan for each. Click on the one below that applies to your situation for recommendations.
Planning for Violence in the Home (insert links for each)
Planning for unsupervised visits
Planning for Safe Custody Exchanges
How to have these conversations with your children
3) Safety planning with a pet
One of the toughest decisions to make when deciding to leave is what to do with your pet. Statistics show that up to 65 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusive partners because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave. Fortunately, there are more and more resources in place to assist with this difficult situation.
When creating a safety plan, include your pet, such as taking extra food for them, copies of their medical records and important phone numbers.
For more information about leaving with a pet, click here.
4) Safety planning during pregnancy
Pregnancy can be an especially dangerous time for women in abusive relationships because abuse can often begin or escalate during that time.
Pregnancy is a time of change, but if your partner is emotionally or physically abusive toward you, it can make these months of transition especially difficult. There are resources available to help expecting women get the support needed for a safe, healthy pregnancy.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has suggestions of ways to stay safe or alert a health care provider here.
5) Emotional Safety planning
Your emotional safety is important to protect when in an abusive relationship. The Hotline recommends developing a personalized plan that helps you accept your emotions and decisions when dealing with abuse.
Visit the Hotline webpage here for a list of 5 ways to emotionally support yourself by seeking out supportive people, identifying and working toward achievable goals, creating a peaceful space for yourself, reminding yourself of your great value and remembering that you deserve to be kind to yourself.