About Safety Planning

Safety planning is a process that is done alone with a survivor, and it is based on her/his individual needs, circumstances and choices. It is informed by an understanding of the survivor's strengths, meaning what she/he has done in the past to survive, as well as a current assessment of risk and of how protective factors can be supported. In order to intervene effectively with a survivor experiencing domestic violence, it is necessary to explore a range of options and resources.

Safety planning always involves the following:

  • Information and referral to local domestic violence resource(s).
  • Information about legal rights.
  • Detailed plan in case of a dangerous situation, including: identification of safe friends, safe places, and essential items to take should one need to leave home.
  • Support and encouragement.
  • Building on what a survivor is already doing to survive

There are many examples of safety plans available on the Web. Find one that fits your organizational context and client group to print and have handy. For instance:

Safety planning is an ongoing process, which is important regardless of the decisions that the survivor is making about the relationship. Safety planning should occur whether a survivor is deciding to stay in an abusive relationship, preparing to leave the relationship, already out of the relationship, or deciding to return to the abusive relationship.