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Domestic Violence: If you live with a violent partner - A personal safety plan

Domestic violence symbol

Your first consideration is safety for you and your children.
Help is available by calling

In an emergency call 911

Here are some other strategies to help keep you and your loved ones safe

Try to avoid arguments in small rooms, access to weapons (e.g., the kitchen) or rooms without access to an outside door.

Be aware that alcohol and other drugs decrease your ability to act quickly to protect yourself and your children.

Know which doors, windows, or fire escapes you and your children would use if you have to escape quickly to safety. Know where you would go once you have left the house. If possible, practice taking this route.

If you can, tell a friend or neighbor to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from your home.

Arrange to use a code word with your children or friends so they know when they should call for help.

Teach your children how to use the telephone to contact the police and fire department.

The following items should be hidden in a place that you can access quickly for when you decide to leave:

  • Identification for self and children (for example, driver's license, passports, green cards, birth certificates , social security cards)
  • Important documents (for example, school and health records, welfare identification, insurance records, automobile titles, lease or rental agreement, mortgage papers, marriage license, and address book)
  • Copies of any protective orders, divorce or custody papers or other court documents
  • Money, check book, bank book, and credit card (in your own name if possible)
  • A small supply of any prescription medicines or a list of the drugs and their dosages
  • Clothing, toys, and other comfort items for self and children. Items of special sentimental value and small sellable objects
  • Extra set of car, house, office, and safe deposit box keys
  • Telephone numbers and addresses of family, friends, and community agencies.

National Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-800-799 SAFE (7233)

Washington State Hotline:

Safety on the Job and in Public

Is there someone at work who can be informed of the situation? A coworker? Supervisor? Employment assistance person?

Can you use voice mail, the receptionist, or a coworker to help screen calls or visitors at work?

Have a plan for arriving and leaving work and other public places safely. Vary the time of arrival and departure, vary the route.

Safety if You No Longer Live with the Batterer

Change the locks on the doors and windows as soon as possible.

Be sure the doors are secure (e.g., steel/metal instead of wood).

Install extra locks, window bars, outdoor lights that detect the approach of a person, an electronic security system, and so on

Install smoke detectors, purchase fire extinguishers, and have rope ladders for upper floor windows.


National Domestic Violence Hotline number: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800- 787-3224 (TDD)
This nationwide toll free hotline will provide immediate crisis intervention, counseling and referrals to emergency shelters and services.
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence: 1-800-537-2238.
This Pennsylvania based coalition provides information and resources, policy development and technical assistance designed to enhance community response to and prevention of domestic violence.
Family Violence Prevention Fund
383 Rhode Island Street, Suite 304
San Francisco, CA. 94103-5133

Compiled by
Aileen MacLaren, CNM, PhD
Assistant Professor
Director, Nurse Midwifery Program
Family and Child Nursing
School of Nursing
University of Washington


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