Your safety and well-being are of the utmost importance. Trust your instincts and take threats seriously. If you feel unsafe, you probably are. Making a safety plan before you need it will help hone your instincts to be able to quickly react in case of an emergency.
Keep this plan in a safe and private place. It is normal to feel afraid and nervous when creating a safety plan. The risk of increased violence and emotional manipulation can be higher if your partner knows you are going to leave. Be cautious with the people you choose to confide in but remember you do not have to do this alone, your friends, family and UW resources are here to help.
Go through the checklist below and think about or write down what you would do for each part of the plan. The SARIS Specialist will discuss each option with you.
- Who you can call when you need help. Alert people you trust that you have some safety concerns, such as friends, family members, roommates, boss, a professor or counselor.
- Safe places. Choose a few places where you know you will be safe. Practice how to get out of a place if you think things are getting dangerous. Plan how you are going to get to the safe place, whether you can drive yourself, call a friend or take a bus.
- Keep important things with you at all times. This might include a cell phone and charger, wallet with driver’s license, money, credit cards, bank cards, keys, protection order, and medication. You can also pack a bag in advance and leave it with a friend.
- Changes at home. Decide if you feel safe at your current residence or if you would like to move or stay somewhere else. If you want to stay at home, consider things like changing locks, moving your furniture around for an easy escape, switching apartments, or other options. The SARIS Specialist can discuss all of these options with you.
- Changes at school or work. Decide if you can make changes in your school or work schedule. UW Police can conduct a security assessment of your workplace and make suggestions on how to make it safer.
- Changes to your daily routine. The perpetrator may know your schedule and come looking for you. Try new routes to school or work or change where you eat meals.
- Use the buddy system. You may feel safer if you are with trusted friends. Always call 911 if you feel threatened.
- Check places online where you have identifying information. This might include the UW student database, Facebook, Myspace or other networking websites, departmental and class websites and listserves, among others. You might search for yourself in Google or Zabasearch to see if identifying information comes up and try to get it removed.
- Consider filing a police report for an incident. This will create a record that may help in future situations.
- Consider filing for a protection order. There are many things to think about before filing for a protection order. The SARIS Specialist can discuss this with you.
- CALL 911 at any time you feel threatened or unsafe!
There are many individual things to consider when making your safety plan. Talk to the SARIS Specialist about your unique circumstances.