Safety Alert!

Internet use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you need to leave this website quickly, click the red “Safety Exit” button.

If you are in danger, please call Harbor House at 815-932-5800 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY for the Deaf 1-800-787-3224.

Safety Planning

safety planningSafety planning is important!

The most dangerous times for a victim of domestic violence are while they are leaving the abuser and after they have left the abuser.

If you are living in an abusive relationship, consider making your safety plan with a trusted relative, friend, or professional.

Harbor House is here to help you in this process.

24-Hour Hotline: 815-932-5800


What is a safety plan?

A personal safety plan is a checklist to help you think clearly about your personal safety and the safety of your children. When you are experiencing domestic abuse or thinking about leaving an abusive situation, your safety is your most important consideration.


Why do I need a personal safety plan?

You can’t stop someone from behaving in an abusive way. The abuser is the only one who can choose to stop abusive behavior. To keep yourself safe in an abusive situation:

  • Avoid rooms where weapons are kept, such as the kitchen.
  • Stay in an area with an easy exit. Avoid letting anyone get between you and the exit.
  • Devise a code word or signal to use with your children, family, friends, and trustworthy neighbors when you need help from the police.
  • Keep your phone charged and in a safe place at all times, in case you need to call for help.
  • Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents, extra medicine, and clothes with someone you trust. This will help you if you have to leave quickly.
  • Trust your instincts and judgment. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.

Can someone help me make my personal safety plan?

  • A Harbor House advocate can help you create your plan. 
  • A Harbor House advocate can talk with you about your safety and help you think through your options to reduce your risks.

What if I have to leave my home quickly?

These suggestions may help you if you are in danger and have to leave your home quickly.

  • Decide who to call if you feel threatened or in danger.
  • Decide where you will go if you need a safe place. 
  • Decide what arrangements you will make to ensure the safety of your children.
  • Save money for a cab, car ride service, or bus fare for emergency transportation. Keep the money in a safe place.
  • Keep an extra key to your house and car.
  • Make and keep a list of emergency phone numbers in a safe place.
  • Hide a change of clothing for you and your children in a safe place.
  • Pack all the medications you need.
  • Consider keeping some clothing, medication, extra keys, and cash safe at a trusted person’s home.
  • Know where all the important papers and records are so you can find them quickly.