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Creating a Domestic Violence Safety Plan

If you find yourself in a genuinely dangerous domestic violence situation with your partner, DIAL 9-1-1 and tell the operator:

"Domestic violence at ___________ [your address]"

You can help protect yourself from future episodes of domestic violence with a Domestic Violence Safety Plan like the one below!

Print out this page, fill in all the blanks, keep it somewhere safe and review it often.

Carefully choose and guard your hiding place for this Safety Plan to prevent your partner from learning in advance of your plans.

While you may not be able to predict or control your partner's violence, you CAN plan the most effective way to respond to violence. You should review your Safety Plan periodically and modify it according to your needs or circumstances.

Safety During a Violent Incident:

  • If my partner and I are going to have an argument, I can try to move to a space that is lowest risk, such as____________________ . {Try to avoid the bathroom, garage, kitchen, rooms with weapons, or rooms without access to an outside door.}
  • If it is not safe to stay, I can_______________________ . Practice getting out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells, or fire escapes can you use?}
  • I can keep my purse and car keys ready and put them ___________________ so I can leave quickly.
  • I can tell ____________ and ____________ about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my home.
  • I can use ____________ as my secret code word with my children or my friends so they can call for help.
  • Develop a system of coded messages to signal danger or the batterer's presence in your home.
  • I can teach my children how to use the telephone to contact the police and fire department.
  • If I have to leave my home, I can go to ____________ or____________. {Decide this even if you don't think there will be a "next time."}

Use your judgment. If the situation is very serious, give your partner what he/she wants to calm him/her down. You have to protect yourself until you (and your children) are out of danger.

Safety When Preparing to Leave:

  • I can leave money and an extra set of keys with ____________ so I can leave quickly.
  • I can keep copies of important documents or keys and some extra clothes with ____________________.
  • I can open a savings account to increase my independence. {Preferably opened in a separate bank than you and your partner use jointly.}
  • Other things I can do to increase my independence are _____________________________________________ .
  • The local domestic violence hotline telephone number is ____________ . I can keep change for phone calls with me at all times. I understand that if I use my telephone credit card, the following month's bill will tell my partner those numbers that I called after I left. To keep my telephone communications confidential, I can use change or get a friend's permission to use his or her calling card for a limited time when I first leave. I could also purchase a pre-paid calling card for this purpose.
  • I can check with ____________ and ____________ and ____________ to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.
  • I can review this Safety Plan every week so I know the safest way to leave my home.
  • I can rehearse my escape plan and, as appropriate, practice it with my children.
  • I can keep a bag packed, hidden in a safe place at home or in the home of a friend in case I must flee the home.

Safety in My Home:

  • If my partner does not live with me or no longer lives with me, I can take steps to ensure my safety and my children's safety in the home. Safety measures I can take include:
    • Changing the locks on the doors and windows.
    • Replacing wooden doors with steel or metal doors.
    • Installing security systems, including additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, an electronic alarm system, etc.
    • Purchasing rope ladders to be used for escape from second floor windows.
    • Installing smoke detectors and purchasing fire extinguishers for each floor of my home.
    • Installing an outside motion-sensitive lighting system that activates when a person approaches my home.
  • I can teach my children to ____________________ when I am not at home.
  • I can teach my children to recite their names, addresses, home telephone number and parents' names.
  • I can inform ____________ and ____________ about who has permission to pick up my children from school, daycare and/or after-school care.
  • I can teach my children how to use the telephone to make a collect call to me and to _________________________ in the event that my partner abducts them.
  • I can inform ____________ and____________ that my partner no longer resides with me and they should call the police if he/she is observed near my home.

Safety with EPOs and DVOs:

  • I can keep a copy of my EPO/DVO ____________________________ . {Always keep it on or near your person. If you change purses, for instance, be sure that the first thing into the new purse in your EPO/DVO.}
  • I can make extra copies of my EPO/DVO and keep them at _______ ________________.
  • If my partner violates the EPO/DVO, I can ________________ __________________.
  • If the police are not responsive, I can ________________ _______________________.
  • I can inform ____________ and ____________ and ____________ that I have an EPO/DVO in effect.
  • If my partner destroys my EPO/DVO, I can get another copy from ___________.

Safety on the Job and in Public:

  • I can inform ____________ and____________ and____________ at work of my situation.
  • I can give a copy of my EPO/DVO to_________________ or other co-worker.
  • I can use voice mail, the receptionist or a co-worker to help screen my telephone calls at work.
  • I can park my car in a visible, well-lighted area at _________ ______________.
  • When I am leaving work, I can walk out with co-workers or ask Security for an escort.
  • If problems occur while I am driving home, I can use my cellular phone to call for help, making note of my exact location and situation.
  • If I have a problem while driving and do not have a cellular phone, I can exit to a well-lighted, heavily trafficked place such as a gas station, restaurant or drive-thru to ask for help.
  • If I use public transportation, I can make the driver aware of any threatening situation.
  • I can also _______________________________________________ ________________________________.

Safety and Drug or Alcohol Consumption:

  • If I am going to consume alcohol or other drugs, I can do so in a safe place and with people who understand the risk of violence and are committed to my safety.
  • If my partner is consuming or using, I can be prepared to leave the home.
  • To protect my children, I can ____________________________ _________________________ .

Remember that the use of alcohol or drugs can impair your judgment, awareness and ability to react quickly. Moreover, the legal outcomes of using illegal drugs can be severe, and may hurt your relationship with your children. It may also put you at a disadvantage in other legal actions with your abuser. Therefore, carefully consider the potential consequences before using alcohol or illegal drugs.

Safety and My Emotional Health:

To conserve my emotional energy and resources, and to avoid hard emotional times, I can do some of the following:

  • If I feel down and not ready to return to a potentially abusive situation, I can ____________________________.
  • When I must communicate with my partner in person or by telephone, I can _____________________________.
  • I can use positive self-talk with myself and be assertive with others. I can tell myself that I do not deserve to be beaten whenever I feel others are trying to control or abuse me.
  • I can read __________________________________to help me feel stronger.
  • I can call the police, my attorney or _____________________as other resources to support me when I feel threatened.

Items to Take With Me When Leaving:

  • Identification for myself
  • Driver's license
  • Children's birth certificates
  • My birth certificate
  • Clothes for myself and my children
  • Money
  • Lease, rental agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book
  • Bank books
  • Check books and ATM cards
  • Credit cards
  • Insurance papers
  • Keys to the house, cars and office
  • Medication for myself and the children
  • Small saleable objects (jewelry, etc.)
  • Address book
  • Pictures
  • Medical records for all my family members
  • Social Security cards
  • Welfare identification
  • School records
  • Work permits
  • Green card, visa and/or passport
  • Divorce papers
  • EPO/DVO
  • Jewelry
  • Children's favorite toys
  • Items of special sentimental value
  • ______________________________
  • ______________________________
  • ______________________________

I can keep these items in one location. If I have to leave, I can grab them quickly.

Important Telephone Numbers:

  • Police department nearest my home: ________________
  • Police department nearest my children's school: ______________
  • Police department nearest my office: ______________________
  • Domestic violence crisis hotline: ___________________________
  • Shelter: __________________________________________
  • My attorney: ______________________________________
  • Trusted friends or family members: ________________________
  • Other: ___________________________________________

Return to our main Domestic Violence page to learn more about protecting yourself and the ones you love from physical, emotional and sexual abuse from an intimate partner