Safety Planning

Don't Leave Until You're Ready


- Identify and practice how to get out of your home safely.

- Prepare a suitcase and leave it with a friend. See our suggested checklist for items to pack.

- Open a post office box so that you can receive mail/checks.

- Determine ahead of time where you might be able to stay temporarily. Keep in mind that you don’t want your abuser to find you.

- Keep important phone numbers on you, including numbers of domestic violence shelters.

- Purchase a phone card and keep it in your wallet.

- Try to save money in a separate savings account in your name or give money to hold to a trusted friend.

- Review your safety plan as often as possible. 

Safety At Home (When the Abuser has Moved Out)


- Change the locks on your doors.

- Buy locks for your windows.

- Talk to a neighbor about the violence,

and ask that they call the police if they hear

a disturbance coming from your home. 

Safety Planning with your Children


- Plan and rehearse an escape route out of your home.

- Teach them a code word, and tell them to call 911 when you use that code word.

- Teach them how to use a public telephone to dial 911.

- Inform your children’s school, day care provider, etc. about who has permission to pick your children up.

- If necessary, provide school/day care personnel with a photo of your abuser, with strict instructions not to release your child to that person. Make sure they have a copy of your restraining order if you have one.

- Ask school personnel not to give out your address or phone number. 

Safety During an Incident With Your Abuser


-  Stay out of rooms that have no exit (closets, bathrooms).

- Avoid rooms that have weapons (kitchens, bedrooms

where there may be a gun).

- Select and use a code word that alerts your friends,

neighbors and family members to call 911.

- Use your instincts. If the situation is dangerous, consider

giving the abuser what he or she wants to calm him or her down. 

Items To Take - Checklist


  1. Identification & driver's license

  2. Car registration, title and insurance

  3. Birth certificates for self and children

  4. Social Security cards

  5. School and medical records

  6. Cash, bankbooks, ATM and credit cards

  7. Extra keys - house/car/office

  8. Changes of clothes

  9. Medications

  10. Eyeglasses and contacts

  11. Food and supplies for pets

  12. Pet registration and medical records

  13. Cash and food assistance cards

  14. Child support orders

  15. Passport(s), Green Card, Visa Permits

  16. Divorce and custody documents

  17. Marriage license

  18. Copies of protective orders

  19. Agreements - lease/rental/deeds

  20. Mortgage payment book

  21. Current unpaid bills in my name

  22. Health and life insurance documents

  23. Jewelry, heirlooms, photos and items of sentimental value

  24. Children's toys and blankets

  25. Address book/emergency numbers

  • RI Statewide Helpline (1.800.494.8100)

  • Trusted friends and family; school; work

  • Local police; doctor's office; hospital

  • Community agencies; veterinarian