Utilize Safety Planning to be Safe

Safety planning is often perceived as something that is done with the assistance of advocates during hotline calls with individuals within an abusive relationship however they are a critical tool. The primary purpose behind safety planning is protecting the victim emotionally and physically during the time of escape.  It is a “personalized and practical plan that can help avoid dangerous situations and how to react when you are in danger” (The Hotline) All types of abuse have different types of safety plans. Safety plans may vary however the common trend among them has to do with the concept of safety.  

The first thing is to remind yourself to stay calm. Your brain is not going to react the same as if you are calm as when you are in a crisis. Having a safety plan assist you by cutting out the thinking process by having a plan already in place. 

Emotional Abuse

The most important thing to do during an abusive relationship especially an emotionally abusive relationship is to maintain a line to your outside world. This may mean family and friends or people you trust to assist you such as an advocate. Be sure to focus on positive perspectives when it comes to oneself, especially when your partner is belittling you. Finding positivity in your life is important and documenting it in a journal can help maintain sanity. “Leaving a relationship is one of the most dangerous times for victims emotionally as well — it’s normal and expected that you’ll be encountering new feelings (ex: loneliness, struggling with being uprooted, difficulty adjusting to a new life). Our advocates are here for you during this challenging time.” (The Hotline)

Self care is important in all abusive relationships and reminding yourself of what you love to do. Doing things you love to do, and reminding yourself of moments of happiness. 

Physical Violence

If you are being abused and/or enduring a physically violent relationship, some of the best ways you can protect yourself is to find places in your home that are the safest. Get to those locations at the time of an argument and if you can leave, do it. If leaving is unsafe and violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target by curling up in a ball and covering your face by wrapping your arms around each side of your head and intertwine your fingers. 

Leaving the Relationship (list provided by The Hotline)

Because violence could escalate when someone tries to leave, here are some things to keep in mind before you leave:

  • Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures of injuries.

  • Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made, if possible. Keep your journal in a safe place.

  • Know where you can go to get help. Tell someone what is happening to you.

  • If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.

  • Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them, like a room with a lock or a friend’s house where they can go for help. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.

  • Contact your local shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis. WomensLaw.org has state by state legal information.

  • Acquire job skills or take courses at a community college as you can.

  • Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.

The national Hotline partnered with Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS) to provide support and needs for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing abuse outreach programs including their 24 hour hotline through email, Instant Messenger, and video phone (VP).

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