Safety planning
Things you need to think about when living with violence or abuse.
Sonder Health avatar
Written by Sonder Health
Updated over a week ago

Safety planning is thinking about things you can do to be safer when living with violence or abuse. The best way to make a safety plan is with the help of a support service, however, trusted friends and family members can also play a role, as well as advocates for older people and people with disability. If you would like support with making a safety plan, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or through our online chat service.

What is safety planning?

You can make a simple safety plan for yourself, with help from a friend or someone in your family. You can also contact a support service for help making a detailed safety plan. Every plan is different as every person has different needs. It’s a good idea to create a new safety plan as things change, for example if you move house or leave your relationship.

If you are making a safety plan for yourself, you will already have good ideas about things you can do when you feel unsafe. These might be as simple as contacting a friend when there is violence where you live. You can start your safety plan by writing these ideas down. Keep your plan somewhere that no one else will see it. You might choose to share your safety plan with a friend or other support person. Let them know you may be calling them if you feel unsafe at home.

Support services can help you think about actions you can take when you feel unsafe. Contacting a support service to make a safety plan is the best place to start if you are living with sexual assault, domestic or family violence.

If you are going to leave a relationship, deciding what to take with you (e.g. legal documents, medication etc.) is an important step in creating a safety plan. You might like to visit the Escape bag checklist page created by 1800RESPECT to help you decide what you may need to take with you.

How can I support someone with safety planning?

For someone living with violence or abuse, having the support of a friend or family member can be one of the best ways to increase safety. If you are a support person, start by listening. The other person knows their own situation best and will be able to tell you about things they are already doing to keep safe. Remember not to judge or make decisions for them. 'Just leaving' is not always a safe option. In fact immediately after a separation is the time of greatest risk of violence. Work with the person you are supporting to make a plan that meets their needs.

Safety planning is a way to work on increasing safety when you are experiencing domestic and family violence. Domestic and family violence can include: physical violence, emotional abuse, sexual violence, psychological abuse, financial abuse and threatening harm to your loved ones, children and pets.

You might like to read: Safety planning checklist

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Article originally published by 1800RESPECT

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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