What Should a Safety Plan Consist of?
A safety plan is an important tool for those families living with domestic abuse. The plan should help the victim identify options to limit the risk of harm to themselves and the children should further violence take place.
Where social workers are working with a family, a safety plan should be used as a part of safety planning work completed with the whole family. To read more please visit our post how to complete safety planning with families.
The importance of a safety plan
A safety plan should be put together by the victim (and also possibly with the children) so that they can remember it in stressful situations. This plan could also be shared with trusted friends or family members. Plans should be put in place both when the family is living with the abuser and/or if the victim decides to leave and should always have the children's safety and protection as the primary concern. The following is a guide of what a plan should include.
Know your house - where are the high risk areas of the house (ie where there are dangerous objects - usually the kitchen), stay away from these areas if an argument occurs. Plan possible escape routes for every room and devise an escape plan (children should also be included in this)
Have an emergency bag - as well as having your handbag ready in an easily accessible place an emergency bag should also be put together containing - a change of clothes and underwear, money/bank cards, medication, important documents (passport, birth certificates, any legal documents to do with home ownership or lease, documents regarding the children) and contact details of any agencies or people that can support you.
Train the children - speak honestly to the children about what they should do in an emergency, they should be encouraged to call for help but not to intervene, how to use 999, and what the escape routes are.
Use 999 - Set speed dial on the phones to 999 and be aware of what information you or the children should give and know how to complete emergency calls on your mobile when it is locked. Be aware that calling 999 and coughing or tapping in 55 on the keypad will signal to the call operator that you are in danger. However, if they don't hear anything, the operator will simply hang up.
Talk to neighbours - Let trusted neighbours know about the situation and ask that they call 999 if they see or hear signs of violence coming from the house
The Risks of leaving
Always keep in mind that one of the most dangerous times for a victim is when they leave the perpetrator. Statistics show that 75% of victims are at a greater risk of being killed by the perpetrator at this time with 90% of women who are killed by their partner, killed after they leave.
The following helplines are available for victims of domestic abuse:
National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247 The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327 The Mix, free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994 National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428 Samaritans (24/7 service) – 116 123 Rights of Women advice lines, there are a range of services available
Call the UK police non-emergency number, 101, if you need support or advice from the police and it's not an emergency.