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Safety Planning

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Note: This does not clear your browser history.

Your safety is the most important! If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

If you need support or assistance, call the Oklahoma SafeLine at 1-800-522-SAFE (7233) or contact any of the resources listed on the Resources section.

You are not alone, and help is available.   

A safety plan is a set of strategies to help increase your safety and reduce the risk of harm. Safety planning should be specific to each victim’s situation. It is important to remember that safety planning should be ongoing and reviewed regularly. A safety plan is not a guarantee of safety but can be a great resource for victims to help improve safety. 

Flashpoints are things that may lead to increased violence and risk. These are important to understand and it can help to plan around flashpoints that you may experience.  

Examples of flashpoints are:  

  • The abuser believes that the victim is separating or leaving the relationship.
  • Civil court proceedings, including filing or service of a Victim’s Protective Order, starting or continuing divorce or custody proceedings.
  • Criminal justice involvement including police, court dates, arrest or release from jail or prison.
  • Visitation or custody exchanges with child(ren). 
  • The abuser discovers initiation of support services including domestic violence or legal services 
  • Involvement in other government services including child welfare, child support, etc. 


  • Assess Your Safety Risks:
    • Look for possible risks and dangers associated with the abusive relationship.
    • Identify times and situations when you feel most at risk. Note any warning signs that abuse may occur.
  • Safety at Home:
    • Look for safe areas in your home where there are no weapons and ideally more than one exit. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.
    • If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target. Curl up and protect your face with arms and hands.  
    • Learn escape routes from your home in case you need to leave quickly. 
    • Create a code word with a trusted friend or family member that means you need help without alerting the abuser. When the code word is used, have a plan of action including contacting law enforcement or support services on your behalf.  
  • Safety when Leaving/Preparing to Leave
    Separation, or perceived separation, from an abusive relationship can be one of the most dangerous times for a victim. A sound plan for leaving safely is strongly encouraged, when available.  
    • Do not tell the abuser that you plan to leave. 
    • Create a “go-bag” with important items you may need in an emergency including clothing, medications, important documents and cash. Keep the “go-bag” in a hidden location or with someone you trust. 
    • If able, plan a discreet departure or have someone else present when leaving to try to avoid risk of violence.
    • Contact your local domestic violence service provider to learn about resources available to you.
    •  If a quick, unplanned escape is necessary, call local law enforcement or a trusted friend or family member for support. 
  • Safety at Work or School
    • You can take alternate routes to/from work or school.
    • Tell supervisors, coworkers, or teachers about the situation. 
    • Adopt a buddy system and walk in and out of the building with a co-worker, classmate, or security guard. 
    • Update emergency contacts on file at work or school.
  • Safety with Children 
    • Work with children to create their own safety plans. Let them know that it is their job to stay safe, not to protect you. 
    • Discuss safety tips with your children and teach them when, how, where and who to call for help.
    • Find and talk about safe places for your children to go within the home and outside the home to be safe during an abusive incident. 
    • Use a code word or signal to use with your children to use when they need to leave or call for help. 
  • Safety with Pets
    There is a strong link between people who hurt people and people who hurt animals. Sometimes abusers also abuse pets as a way to use power and control to cause fear.  
    • Find safe places for your pets or consider reaching out to local animal shelters that may be able to offer support for pets of domestic violence victims. 
    • Update safe contacts for microchips and veterinarians; establish ownership of pet by having their health records in your name. 
    • If applying for a protective order, consider including your pet on the order. 
    •  Pet-Friendly Domestic Violence Shelters - SAF-T Program (
  • Safety with Technology
    Abusive partners often use technology as a way to harass, abuse or stalk. This may include monitoring and searching your devices, tracking you with technology, using your passwords, or accessing social media.  
    • Be careful of your online presence and consider using private browsing or a different device to research safety options.
    • Learn safe ways to use technology to document abusive incidents, like saving threatening messages, recording abusive conversations or photographing injuries if it is safe to do so.
    • Review this helpful link to digital safety planning, including securing devices and tips for protecting your activity online: Digital Safety - Palomar (  
  • Safety in Court:
    Navigating court and legal systems can be overwhelming. It can be more complex and scary for victims of domestic violence, as they are oftentimes facing their abuser.  
    • Consider having a domestic violence advocate or friend attend court with you.  
    • Request a local police or sheriff escort to and from the parking lot into the courthouse.
    • Inform bailiff or sheriff in the courtroom about your safety concerns. 
    • Ask if the judge can hold the abuser for 5 minutes so that you can safely leave the courthouse before them. 
  • Emotional Safety:
    Emotional safety planning includes self-care practices that support emotional well-being during and after leaving an abusive situation.  
    • Find and use self-care plans including breathing and grounding techniques.  
    • Use positive coping skills that promote well-being including exercise, meditation, or creative outlets. 
    • Create a support system 
      • Find friends, family members or individuals who can provide emotional support and a safe space if needed
      • Memorize important contact numbers, including local domestic violence hotline or service provider. 
  • Professional support safety options:
    Professional supports can be helpful for victims of domestic violence and can help with safety, healing, and long-term well-being.   

For more help with safety planning, you can contact your local domestic violence service provider or visit Relationship Abuse Safety Planning | National Domestic Violence Hotline (   

24-hour Oklahoma State Safeline:
1-800-522-SAFE (7233) - Call or text!

Last Modified on Jan 02, 2024
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