Safety Plan
Safety Plan

Creating an Exit Strategy

Having a Safety Plan in place to follow when you feel you may be at a high risk of harm is important as often in a crisis being unprepared can lead to mistakes or panic.

If you want to create your own safety plan, please contact us on 9791 2894 so we can help you, or you can find a safety planning checklist and escape bag checklist on the 1800RESPECT website. 

Leaving an abuser safely can occur with the right planning and support. Remember you are the expert in when it is safest to leave as you are really familiar with the abuser’s behaviour’s, body language and routine.

Having a safety plan for your exit strategy will provide you with a checklist to prepare for the time you do leave because the level of anxiety you might be experiencing at the time you are leaving may mean you might forget something important.

Preparing a Safety Plan will assist you to plan your exit strategy in your own time and ensure you are well prepared when you decide it is the safest time to leave.

Harbour is here to assist you draft a safety plan however, we have also provided a template below to assist you to remember what to include in your plan.

Key Strategies for Your Safety:

If it is not safe for you to leave your Safety Plan at home, there are a number of options to ensure your plan is hidden.

  • There are digital Safety apps available which may be used to draft and hold your safety plan. Click here to download.
  • You may consider asking friends/family or a trusted co-worker to hold it in safekeeping for you.
  • At Harbour we would be happy to safeguard your plan for you.

Creating your Safety Blueprint:

  • Ensure your phone is charged and have a backup, possibly a discreet second phone
  • Develop and practice an escape plan and involve your children
  • Turn off location devices on your mobile and other devices as well as the children’s
  • Keep spare keys and essential documents accessible for quick retrieval
  • Ask children not to answer their phone or respond to messages to the abuser until/unless you say it is ok to do so
  • If intending to be travelling by vehicle, ensure that the vehicle is scanned for a vehicle tracking device
  • Avoid telling young children where you are going for as long as possible
  • Ensure older children do not give their location away to friends
  • If possible, be inactive on social media until you are safe
  • Set aside emergency funds for unforeseen situations
  • Keep Emergency, Police, and Crisis Care numbers close, and carry change or a phone card for emergencies
  • Pre-program the local Police phone number into your phone
  • Keep your handbag, purse, and keys easily reachable
  • If your exit door is locked, hang keys on the wall nearby
  • Hide a spare set of car keys outside if possible
  • Maintain a recent photo of the perpetrator for the Police or refuge
  • Consult with the Police or Court Advocate to apply for a Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO)
  • Leave essentials with a trusted person for a quick exit if necessary
  • Practice safe home exits with your children
  • Establish a code word for communication with children, family, and friends
  • Plan your destination in case you need to leave home
  • Reverse your car into the driveway for easy departure
  • Regularly review your safety plan to ensure its effectiveness

Safe Spaces:

  • If you sense trouble or find yourself in an argument, move to a ‘lower risk space’: rooms with two exits and fewer things that can be used as weapons, where you can be seen or heard from the outside.
  • Stay away from the kitchen as the abuser may access weapons e.g. knives
  • Ensure that children are safe. Get them to call the Police or go to a neighbour. Teach them to position themselves ‘between trouble and the door’ in case of emergencies.
  • Call 000 from your mobile for the Police or local Police number if you know it
  • If safe, grab your purse before you leave
  • Once out of the home go to a safe place i.e. police station, neighbours, hospital etc.

Support and Signs:

  • Create signals for neighbours or family members indicating you need help, such as a turned-on porch light or a drawn shade
  • Establish signals or code words with your children for them to seek safety

Planning with Children:

  • Develop safety plans for children based on their age and skills
  • Teach children how to call emergency services (e.g., police) and ensure they know their home address

Who can I reach out to.

  • Create a list of contacts who have or can offer support
  • Make a list of what they can offer such as: “Linda-is keeping a bag of essentials at her place or can offer one or two nights accommodation”
  • Ensure a mail redirection is in place for your mail and preferably to a PO Box registered in your name only

Critical Items for Your Journey to Safety:

Leaving a harmful situation requires careful preparation. Gather these essentials to empower yourself on your journey to safety.

  • House and Car Keys (strategically hidden)
  • Medications
  • Mobile Phone and Charger
  • Change of Clothes for Yourself and Children
  • Comforting Personal Items (children’s teddies/blanket/comforter)
  • Driver’s License
  • Birth Certificates (yours and children’s)
  • Passports and Immigration Papers
  • Pension/Health Care Card
  • Purse or Wallet
  • Cash or Bank Cards
  • Eftpos Cards
  • Insurance Papers
  • Copy of Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO) or Police Orders
  • Lease or Rental Agreement
  • Family Court Orders
  • Legal Documents
  • Car Registration Documents

Are you in danger? Get Help Now.

Crisis Care

If you are in immediate risk of harm and in need of a safe and secure location, contact the Domestic Violence Helpline.

Need Assistance?

Talk to one of our advocates  about what is happening and how we can help you plan your escape.

Be a Catalyst for Change in Your Workplace!

Is your business eager to create a safe and informed environment for your staff? Harbour invites workplaces to take a stand against domestic violence by organising an educational session. Discover more about the impact of domestic violence, equip your team with knowledge, and explore ways your business can contribute to positive change. Reach out today and schedule a visit from us. Together, let’s foster awareness, support, and a culture of empathy.


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