The DC Victim Hotline provides free confidential, around-the-clock information and referrals for victims of ALL CRIME in the District of Columbia.
A safety plan is a personalized plan that includes practical information about staying safe, physically and emotionally. A useful safety plan includes all of the important information needed to help you leave an unsafe situation and move forward after experiencing a crime.
What Can I do?
Though safety plans are personalized to you and your situation, basic safety steps that apply to most victims include:
Seek Trusted Help – Let trusted family, friends, teachers, or neighbors know of your situation and ask them to help you stay safe. Have a signal or a code word that you can use to let them know if you are in trouble.
Keep Important Items Handy – Make sure you have easy access to money, medications, phone numbers, and important documents if you have to leave in a hurry. You may want to have a bag hidden or left with a friend.
Know Where to Go – Think about safe places where you can go if you have to leave suddenly; consider friends, trusted family members, or a local shelter. Try practicing how to leave safely so you will be prepared if the time comes.
Alter Your Routine – Regularly change the routes you take to work or school so your routine is not predictable.
Protect Your Home – Consider changing the locks on your doors, getting a new phone number, putting your lights on a timer, and keeping your windows shut when you are not home.
Learn About Your Legal Options – Find out about your legal options such as protective orders/restraining orders against an abuser, alternative child custody arrangements, and civil remedies.
Remember to Care for Yourself – Try to be kind to yourself and allow yourself time and patience as you move forward; everyone responds differently to crime. Practice self-care and healthy coping skills.
Contact the VictimConnect Resource Center by phone at 1-855-484-2846 or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services that can help you with safety planning.
Stalking Safety Planning includes general information about safety planning as well as tips for staying safe in a variety of situations.
Path to Safety offers victims of domestic violence resources for safety planning, including situations where there are pets or children involved. It also includes suggestions and information for those fleeing violence, considerations before, during, and after leaving an unsafe situation.
This Interactive Safety Planning Guide is geared towards high school or college victims of abuse or violence. While designed specifically for victims of dating abuse, victims of other forms of violence and abuse may find it helpful.
Elder Abuse: Safety Tips is a guide for older adults who may be abused by or afraid of their family members, and helps create plans for managing potentially dangerous situations.
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This website is funded through a grant (2014-VOCA-01) from the DC Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, Executive Office of the Mayor. Neither the DC Office of Victim Services nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse this website (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).