Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence Safety Planning

Posted On October 5, 2021
Categories Uncategorized

Domestic Violence is any type of violent or controlling behavior within a home from a partner. When we think of domestic violence, we often picture physical abuse between a man and a woman. However, domestic violence is not just physical, nor is it confined to heterosexual relationships, male abusers, or marriage. Domestic violence can occur in all relationships, and power, control, and abuse can be physical, emotional, intellectual, social, sexual, psychological, and financial.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, your partner’s behavior may be unpredictable; however, you can take steps to increase your own safety and reduce any harm you may experience. One way of doing so is by creating a personalized safety plan for what to do during an argument, how to be at home and work, how to stay safe when preparing to leave, or who to contact during an emergency.

Everyone’s safety plan will look different based on their situation; additionally, as situations change, so will your safety plan. If you are currently living with your abuser, here are some potential safety tips to include in your personalized plan:

  • During arguments, avoid rooms with weapons and try to remain close to easy exits within your home.
  • Notify trustworthy neighbors about the abuse and ask them to call 911 if they hear anything that sounds like it could be violence.
  • Know where to go if you must suddenly leave and have an overnight bag prepared with medicine, clothes, identification, and money.
  • Always keep your technology secured with a password or code.
  • If you must leave or are planning to leave quickly, leave any important documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, passports, licenses, legal papers, and financial documents with a trusted friend or family member.

If you are currently not living with your abuser, but fear that they may find you, here are some steps you may include in your safety plan to reduce harm:

  • Notify your workplace about the situation.
  • Change up your routine, especially your routes to and from work.
  • Find a security escort to and from your car.
  • Inform trusted family and friends about the situation.

Lastly, college students are also at risk for domestic violence. To stay safe on campus, consider:

  • Change the paths you take to work and class.
  • Use a campus police escort to and from locations.
  • Never walk alone; find a friend or buddy while on campus.
  • Contact Georgia State University’s Campus Police (404-413-3333) or Student Victim Assistance (404-413-1965).

Creating a safety plan and protecting yourself from abuse can be scary and overwhelming. You may fear leaving the relationship, be isolated from friends and family, lack financial independence due to your partner’s abuse, or face other obstacles. Know that your fears and concerns are valid, and you are deserving of safety and love. If you feel that you may need to create a safety plan but don’t know where to start, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has an interactive guide to create your own personalized plan.

If you are not experiencing domestic violence yourself but suspect a friend or loved one may be at risk, pay attention to the signs of domestic abuse. If you friend’s partner is controlling, jealous, angry, or trying to isolate your friend from their social network, learn the right ways to start the conversation and support your friend during a difficult, traumatic time. Find tips about supporting others from the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know is struggling with domestic violence and is hoping to create a safety plan with the help of a professional, please contact Student Victim Assistance at 404-413-1965.