How to Use a Safety Plan
Regardless of if you plan on leaving or staying in your relationship, safety planning is a tool to use when protecting yourself when you are threatened. It is important to recognize the skills you have already acquired. Many people in abusive relationships have already developed effective safety mechanisms; you likely know more than you realize about protecting yourself. Spend some time thinking about strategies you have been using to protect yourself. This is an opportunity to put these skills into a conscious process. No person in an abusive relationship has the control over their partner’s potential for violence, but each person can find ways to reduce their risk of harm. There is no right or wrong way to develop a safety plan. Use what applies and is comfortable for your situation. Make this your own, review it regularly, and make changes as you develop what will work for you. Be sure to keep it in a safe place where your abuser won’t find it.
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You don’t have to wait for an emergency to ask for help. It can be a good idea to talk to people about your situation ahead of time to see if they would be a good support person in a crisis. Find out what they are willing to do and how they are willing to help. This way you will know where to go in an emergency. Establishing a safe place to stay, people who may be able to offer some financial assistance, and someone to hold copies of your important papers will make the decisions made in crisis safer and more conscious. Only you can judge who is a safe person to tell about your situation. It may be helpful to sit down and make a list of your support people and their phone numbers and attach it to your safety plan for easy reference.
It can be difficult to make a safety plan alone. You may find it helpful to ask a friend to assist you in creating your plan. The advocates available in Colorado State University’s Women and Gender Advocacy Center are available to work with you to help form ideas about how to keep you safe. Services are free and confidential for CSU students. We understand the complexities involved with abusive relationships and are trained to understand the emotional, medical, legal, and physical issues involved with intimate partner violence. We are located at 112 Student Services Building on CSU’s campus and our phone number is 970-491-6384.
If you are planning on leaving the relationship: Be aware that people who are violent often escalate during times of separation. This escalation can increase your risk of harm to serious, even life threatening levels. Making a safety plan ahead of time can help reduce the risks you may encounter in the separation process.
Create your personal safety plan. By clicking this link you will open up a PDF form that you can fill out and print. This form will be your safety plan. It is a good idea to keep it with you at all times. You never know when you might need to utilize the information on it. If it is not safe to keep the form with you, think about giving a copy to someone you trust.