Domestic Violence is a pattern of intentional physical and psychological abuse, threats, intimidation, isolation or economic coercion used by one person to exert POWER AND CONTROL over another person in the context of dating, family or a household relationship (The Network, 2022).
Safety planning helps to reduce the control of a violent partner and prevent harm to their spouse, children, other household members and other impacted individuals. Our advocates focus on helping survivors develop this plan according to their needs, which includes doing risk assessment. For many survivors, the realities of the pandemic increased their risk factors, since social distancing and staying at home can easily increase the power and control of abusers. Plans work to reduce both: Batterer-generated risks: These include all of the risks of an abuser’s control. These are not limited to physical violence. Life-generated risks: These are circumstances of a victim’s life over which they have little immediate control. This can include poverty, discrimination, and access to physical and mental healthcare. Individuals who are experiencing abuse are best positioned to know what is safe and practical for them at any given time. However, these are some common strategies that are often included in a safety plan. Limit any known triggers of abuse, such as social media or alcohol. If an altercation escalates, move away from the kitchen, where items that can be used as weapons are most often found. Identify and communicate a safe place in the home for children to go if an altercation occurs. Keep phones charged and available. If there is a safe and secret spot, keep a to-go bag with clothes, written phone numbers of safe contacts, cash, and important documents that could include: Identification cards, such as driver’s licenses, passports, visas and work permits Financial documents, including bank account information, checkbooks, credit cards and debit cards Insurance documents, such as health insurance cards Car documents, such as title and proof of insurance