Safety planning is thinking about how to stay safe while living with domestic and family violence, and the actions you can take if you need to leave in a hurry.
You can contact the Domestic Violence Line or another counselling and support service, to help you create a safety plan that covers the different actions you can take. Tell trusted family members or friends about the safety plan and discuss how they can help and support you.
Your safety plan
There are some key things that you can do to help improve your safety and the safety of your family:
- reporting every occurrence of violence and abuse to the Police
- always having a mobile phone with you in case you need to call 000
- ask neighbours to call Police on 000 if they hear fighting, shouting or noises that sound like violence
- keep the numbers of your local police station, taxi service, and emergency accommodation on your mobile or in your wallet
- keep a record of all contact with your current or former partner, including saving abusive text messages, voice mail messages, emails, and social media posts or messages, and report them to the Police
- keep in touch with your support worker (if you have one)
- install the free Aurora or Daisy app on your mobile phone
- practice online and tech safety on your computer, mobile phone and on social media
- if possible, have a spare mobile phone with prepaid credit on it
- have an 'escape plan' and 'emergency bag' packed for when you feel unsafe or things get out of control
The Safety Planning factsheet includes helpful phone numbers and can be printed out
Prepare an escape plan
You and your children may need to leave immediately to avoid serious harm. Here's what to prepare if you need to leave in a hurry:
- Decide on the best way for you and your children to leave the house, this might be through a certain door or window.
- Let a trusted family member or friend know that you may need their support if you have to leave quickly. For example, agree if you can stay at their place in an emergency or if they could pick you up from a designated spot. Or is there a women's shelter or refuge that you and your kids can go to?
- Have a code word that tells a family member or a friend that you feel unsafe and need help, that way you can make a call even if the violent partner can hear you.
- Install the free Aurora or Daisy app on your mobile phone to help you get in touch with friends without the violent partner knowing and to help you find services such as emergency accommodation.
- Have an 'emergency bag' packed and ready with essential items. Hide it or give the bag to a trusted family member or friend to keep for you.
What to pack in your 'emergency bag':
- cash, debit and credit cards
- bank account details
- Medicare card, medical records
- your and your children's ID, such as driver's licence, birth certificates, passports
- lease or rental agreement, or mortgage papers
- Centrelink info, tax file number
- legal papers, such as residency documents
- copies of Domestic or Family Violence Orders (ADVO)
- some clothing for you and your children
- recent photo of your ex-partner
- spare key to your house and car
- personal items such as your jewellery or the kids' toys
Talk to your kids about the safety plan
Depending on how old they are, talk to your children about the safety plan.
- Help choose a room in the house where your children feel the safest but can escape (through the door or window) if necessary. Let them know they should go to this room if there’s a fight.
- Have a code word to tell your children that they need to leave now.
- Teach your kids how to contact family, friends, or neighbours who can give them a safe place.
- Teach your kids how to call 000 for the police, fire or ambulance. Have each child practise what to say if there is violence, for example “My name is … and my mum is being hurt. My address is ….”
Updating your safety plan
Your safety plan may change depending on your situation, for example if your relationship status changes, you become pregnant, have a baby, or your living situation changes.
How do I support someone who has a safety plan?
If you have a family member or a friend who is living with domestic and family violence, there are ways you can support them:
- listen to your family member or friend, let her tell you the ways she is keeping safe
- don't judge or make decisions for your friend or family member
- remember that "just leaving" isn't always a safe option for her or the children
- call about how you can support someone affected by abuse and violence: