Safety Planning

What is Safety Planning?

safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Safety planning may include how to cope with emotions, telling friends and family about the abuse, securing resources, taking legal action, and more.

A good safety plan will have all of the vital information you need and be tailored to your unique situation, and will help walk you through different scenarios. Although some of the things that you outline in your safety plan may seem obvious, it’s important to remember that in moments of crisis your brain doesn’t function the same way as when you are calm. When adrenaline is pumping through your veins it can be hard to think clearly or make logical decisions about your safety. Having a safety plan laid out in advance can help you to protect yourself in those stressful moments.

For many people who have been affected by sexual assault, current and long-term safety can be an ongoing concern. Safety planning is about brainstorming ways to stay safe that may also help reduce the risk of future harm. It can include planning for a future crisis, considering your options, and making decisions about your next steps. Finding ways to stay and feel safer can be an important step towards healing, and these plans and actions should not increase the risk of being hurt. (RAINN)

Safe Haven advocates can assist you with developing an individualized safety plan in-person by appointment or 24 hours a day/ 7 days by calling our 24-hour Crisis Hotline at 419-289-8085.




Safety planning when someone is hurting you

  • Become familiar with safe places. Learn more about safe places near you such as a local domestic violence shelter or a family member’s house. Learn the routes and commit them to memory. Find out more about sexual assault service providers in your area that can offer support.
  • Create a code word. It might be a code between you and your children that means “get out,” or with your support network that means “I need help.”
  • Keep computer safety in mind. If you think someone might be monitoring your computer use, consider regularly clearing your cache, history, and cookies. You could also use a different computer at a friend’s house or a public library.
  • Lean on a support network. Having someone you can reach out to for support can be an important part of staying safe and recovering. Find someone you trust who could respond to a crisis if you needed their help.
  • Prepare an excuse. Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times or for existing situations that might become dangerous. Have these on hand in case you need to get away quickly.
  • Stay safe at home. If the person hurting you is in your home, you can take steps to feel safer. Try hanging bells or a noise maker on your door to scare the person hurting you away, or sleep in public spaces like the living room. If possible, keep the doors inside your house locked or put something heavy in front of them. If you’re protecting yourself from someone who does not live with you, keep all the doors locked when you’re not using them, and install an outside lighting system with motion detectors. Change the locks if possible.

Source: Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network 

Social Media

What you choose to share on social media is always your decision, but what others choose to do with your information may not always be in your control. Consider taking the following personal safety precautions with these social media safety tips.

  • Know how to report, block, and filter content. Read RAINN's tips on how to filter which users or content you see, report harmful comments or content, and bloack those who are attempting to use technology to hurt others. 
  • Personalize your privacy settings. Adjust your privacy settings on the site to your comfort level, and select options that limit who can view your information. Think about non-traditional social media as well, such as your public transactions on Venmo or music activity on Spotify. These site-specific security pages can help you get started.
  • Pause before you post. Before you post, ask yourself if you are comfortable sharing this information with everyone who might see it. Content that contains personal information or your whereabouts could pose a safety risk. Even content that is deleted can sometimes be accessed by the website or through screenshots of the original post and could be used maliciously.
  • Turn off geolocation. Many social media sites or apps will request to access your location, but in most cases this isn’t necessary. You can still get the most out of your social media experience without sharing where you are while you’re there. If sharing where you are is important to you, consider waiting to tag the location until you leave. In addition to this, some sites may automatically make geotagged information public. When you “check in” on Facebook, update your Instagram story, or add a geotag to a Snapchat, these sites may share your exact location with people you may or may not trust with it. Take a look at the privacy settings on the sites listed above, or others you use regularly, to see what your location settings are and consider updating them.
  • Use a private Internet connection. Avoid public Wi-Fi connections, like those offered at coffee shops or airports, when using a website that asks for a password. Limit your social media usage to personal or private Wi-Fi networks, while using cellular data on your phone, or under the protection of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
  • Talk to your friends about public posts. Let your friends know where you stand on sharing content that may include personally identifying information, like your location, school, job, or a photo of you or your home. Respect each other’s wishes about deleting posts that may be embarrassing or uncomfortable. Always ask permission before you post something about another person, whether it mentions them indirectly, by name, or in a picture. To help keep track of your online presence, you can change your settings so that tagged photos of you will only appear on your profile—but won’t be shared publicly on your timeline—if you have approved the post on Facebook or other social media accounts.
  • Report harassment or inappropriate content. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable online, you can report the interaction to the host site, often anonymously. You can use the “report” button near the chat window, flag a post as inappropriate, or submit a screenshot of the interaction directly to the host site. If you do experience harassment or abuse through social media, consider taking screenshots immediately and saving them in case the content is deleted or removed from your view. To collect evidence of harassment on Facebook, you can download your full Facebook history through the Download Your Information (DYI) feature.
  • Look before you click. If you get a suspicious sounding message or link from a friend through social media, it’s best not to automatically click it. Your friend’s account may have been hacked, which could cause everyone in their contacts list to receive spam. If you’re not sure it’s spam, try contacting that person another way to ask if they meant to send you a link recently.
  • Pick strong passwords and update them frequently. This can help protect against someone who may be trying to sign on to your account for negative reasons like posting spam, impersonating you, or stalking. In addition to choosing strong passwords and updating them, remember to keep your passwords in a secure location.
  • Make privacy a habit by doing a regular social media privacy check-up. Once you’ve gone through the privacy settings in your social media accounts, set a reminder on your calendar to revisit them in three or six months. Companies may change policies or update their platforms which could affect how you would like to share your information online.

Source: Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network