Making a Safety Plan

You are the expert on your own situation. This guide is designed to help you plan ahead to stay safe in dangerous situations.

It is important to think about your options and focus on what you know and what you need.

If you are afraid that someone you know will try to hurt you, it is important to make a safety plan even if you do not think you will ever leave the home. For more information about making a safety plan, visit

Remember: you do not deserve to be threatened or hurt by anyone. Learn more about how to recognize abuse at

How can I prepare for dangerous situations?

Make a safety plan for where you will go, and how you will get there, if you ever have to leave your home. If there are weapons in the home, you may need to take extra steps to protect yourself. Learn more about safety planning at

Pack an emergency bag and keep it ready. Keep it hidden somewhere that is easy for you to take it and leave quickly, if necessary. Include important things, such as your medication and the telephone numbers of trusted people.

Think about how to get out of your home safely. Decide which doors, windows, elevators, or stairwells are safe exits.

Tell a neighbor about your concerns and ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.

Choose a code word to use with your family, friends and neighbors when you need the police.

Use your instincts and judgment. You are the expert on your own situation. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.

How can I get ready to leave the home safely?
Decide on a safe place to go. Who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money?

Leave important things with someone you trust: Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, and extra clothes with someone you trust. Include medications, prescriptions, glasses, hearing aids, and other important things. This way, you can leave quickly in a dangerous situation.

Review our checklist of what to take with you when you leave.

Write down phone numbers: Keep the telephone numbers of trusted people with you at all times.

Contact our Helpline: If you are 60 years or older, contact the Elder Helpline at (561) 684-5885 to find out if you are eligible for public and private benefits and services, such as Social Security, pensions, housing, transportation and medical insurance.

Review your safety plan so you know the safest way to leave the home.

Keep a journal of all threats and attempts to harm you.  Be sure to hide this journal in a safe place or keep it with someone you trust.

Increase your financial independence: Consider opening a bank account in your own name so you have money if you need it in an emergency.

Violence can escalate when someone tries to leave, so it is important to plan ahead. Learn more about planning to leave at

How can I protect myself during a dangerous situation?

Try to stay near a phone so you can call 911 or call a friend or a neighbor.

If you cannot avoid an argument, try to move to a room with access to a safe exit. It is best to avoid the bathroom, kitchen or any room that has weapons in it.

Use your instincts and judgment. You are the expert on your own situation. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.

If you are in danger:

  • Call 911 if your life is in danger or if you need emergency help.
  • Take your emergency bag—if possible—and leave the home through a safe exit.

If you have a restraining order or other protective order and someone violates it, call the police right away.