A safety plan is a personalized plan that helps lower your risk of being hurt by your abusive boyfriend/girlfriend. It is specific to you to help keep you safe. Everyone’s safety plan is different and takes all aspects of your life into consideration to keep you safe at home, school, and other places you hangout or spend time.
Download TAP’s Safety Plan Guide for Teens here. Complete this guide to create a personalized safety plan for yourself, or go through it with a friend who is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship.
Here are some general safety planning tips:
- If you feel unsafe, trust your instincts
- Be aware of visual or verbal cues that your partner may become violent. For example, perhaps your partner becomes increasingly violent when they are drunk. Or perhaps your partner gives you a certain threatening “look” if you’re talking to a person that your partner does not know or like. Recognize these signs and know what to do when they occur- it can help keep you safe in a potentially dangerous situation.
- Know who you can call and where you can go in an emergency
- Keep your cell phone charged and have people you trust available by speed-dial (or written down in case your phone is not available)
- Familiarize yourself your surroundings– including your home, school, work, and other places you hangout
- Know what safe spaces are available– such as a trusted neighbor’s house, classroom, or a store that you can go to in an emergency
- Think about public areas you can go to in an emergency– the more public the area, the more potential witnesses and safe spaces may be available
- Create code words or phrases with friends/family to let them know when you need help. You might have different code words for different people, or you might use the same code word for each person you tell. Be sure that everyone you have a code word with knows what the code means and what they should do if you say it (such as “call the police” or “pick me up”)
- Keep a journal that documents the abuse. Perhaps you are not ready to leave the abusive relationship but you are becoming increasingly afraid of your partner. Documenting the abuse, whether electronically or on paper, may help you recall details later on that you may forget- you may need these details if you ever choose to report the abuse later on. This journal may also help to customize your safety plan by revealing patterns of abuse that your partner uses.
Remember that everyone’s safety plan is different. For help creating your own safety plan, call the Teen Advocate at 808-531-3771.