Safety Planning


If you are in immediate danger or feel unsafe, call 911.

YWCA 24-Hour Confidential Helpline
616.454.YWCA (616.454.9922)


Leaving abuse is difficult. The most dangerous time for victims is when they make efforts to leave the relationship.

If you cannot stay safe at home or decide to end the relationship, be sure to develop a safety plan beforehand. While none of these suggestions will guarantee your safety, there are some things that can be done to reduce your vulnerability.

  • Call the YWCA for help in developing a personalized safety or escape plan. (616.454.9922)
  • If you can, avoid using a home computer to look for domestic abuse information. It is almost impossible to completely hide what websites you have visited. Access public computers, such as those at libraries, instead. Click here for tips on surfing safely.
  • Take ALL threats seriously. Trust your instincts.
  • Call 911 if you feel unsafe or have already been hurt.
  • Teach your children to call 911.
  • Devise a signal to let neighbors know that you are in trouble. As an example, turn on a porch light that is not used for any other purpose or tie a towel around the front door knob, etc.
  • Change the locks on your doors and windows
  • Keep your plans secret from your abuser.
  • Notify your place of employment to prevent the abuser from stalking you at work.
  • File a Personal Protection Order. Include your children on the PPO so that the abuser cannot remove your children from their schools, daycare, etc., unless they have a Circuit Court order.
  • Pack key documents and items such as:
    • Lease/ Deed/ Rental Agreement
    • Driver’s License
    • Checkbook/ Credit Cards/ Cash
    • Social Security Cards
    • Medical Records
    • Bankbooks
    • Birth Certificates
    • Insurance Papers
    • Divorce/ Legal Papers
    • Welfare Identification
    • Food Stamps
    • School Records
    • Immunization Records
    • Keys
    • Vehicle Titles
    • Address Book
    • Medications
    • Clothing
    • Personal Care Items
  • Decide on a safe place for your children to go if you leave the abusive situation.