The Importance of Safety Planning
Sojourner often cites “safety planning” as one of the services advocates can provide victims/survivors via our crisis line or in person, but what does that actually mean?
The National Domestic Violence Hotline describes a safety plan as a “personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave.”
Safety plans are unique to both the individual and the specific situation. The victim/survivor is the expert in their own lives and can provide the information to help build the best safety plans. Safety plans can be useful at multiple points on the journey from to hope. A victim/survivor may want a plan for living with their partner in a safer way, leaving the relationships and protecting themselves after they have left.
Typically, a safety plan will include safe friends or spaces to go to, what essential items they and their family will need, and contact information for domestic violence resources. By having these strategies in place, the victim/survivor can be prepared to navigate dangerous situations in the safest way possible.
Some aspects of safety planning may seem obvious, but when a person is in crisis or panicked it’s easy to forget the basics and harder to make decisions. That’s why planning in advance can be a crucial step to keep oneself as safe as possible. An individual does not need to wait until speaking with an advocate to begin safety planning but having someone to help walk them through the process can make a big difference. Sojourner advocates can provide free and confidential guidance, support and resources 24/7 via our crisis line at 952-933-7422.
If you or someone you know wants to start safety planning and isn't ready to talk with an advocate, consider using the below free resources. Feeling overwhelmed? Start by picking three things you think could help your situation. For example: make a code word with your children and family, ask a friend to hold onto copies of important documents, and practice the path you will take to quickly leave your house.
To access the above template: http://centerforchildwelfare.fmhi.usf.edu/kb/DomViolence/DV%20Safety%20Plan.pdf