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Do you know what a safety plan is?

Here, we offer you the opportunity to understand the key points of a safety plan. All of this is to help you develop your own plan concretely. Thanks to Sanctuary for Families for the text.

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What is a Safety Plan?

A safety plan is your shield against physical and emotional harm , whether it's from an aggressor or a family member. In light of the changes brought about by the coronavirus, we strongly urge victims of domestic violence to explore the following safety recommendations. Crafted by survivors themselves, Sanctuary for Families’ survivor team has thoughtfully assembled this list to empower you with strategies to safeguard your well-being during these challenging times.

Why Create a Safety Plan?

During emergencies and high-stress situations, especially amidst the added anxiety of the coronavirus, thinking clearly and responding appropriately can be challenging. It's crucial to regularly update your safety plan as circumstances evolve. Perpetrators often seek to maintain power and control over their victims' lives. A safety plan empowers you to retain as much control and power over your situation as possible, enabling you to make the safest decisions given your circumstances.

You Are the Expert

You know your situation better than anyone else. Customize your safety plan based on what feels safest to you. If something seems risky or dangerous, trust your intuition. For instance, writing down your safety plan may pose risks; in such cases, try to mentally conceptualize and memorize it as much as possible. Additionally, discussing your safety plan with a trusted friend or family member can be beneficial.


Digital Safety

Whenever possible, use a computer or phone that the aggressor cannot access, either directly or remotely (through hacking). . Online harassment and surveillance are common methods perpetrators use to exert power and control. Email and messaging (text or instant messaging) are not confidential or secure modes for discussing danger or abuse. If feasible, make direct phone calls to your contact. If you must use email or messaging, use a secure computer or phone and an account your aggressor is unaware of.


For more information on computers, the internet, and digital security, click here.


Increased Risks of Physical and Psychological Harm Due to COVID-19

As many of us are in quarantine or practicing social distancing, there are additional risks for victims, such as:

  • Isolation: Perpetrators may use this period to isolate their victims from loved ones, limiting their movements and controlling their whereabouts. They can monitor the victim's online interactions, further restricting their access to the outside world.

  • Restriction of Information Access: Perpetrators may prevent you from accessing news and other information sources to become the sole source of information.

  • Escalation of Abuse: With victims spending more time in close proximity to their abuser, abuse can worsen, and new forms of maltreatment may emerge.

  • Harassment and Cyberbullying: Perpetrators may attempt to exert power by monitoring, controlling, and harassing their victims in person or online.

  • Financial Abuse: Many individuals face increased financial burdens due to unemployment, which aggressors can exploit during this period.

  • Parenting Challenges: Victims who share parenting responsibilities with their aggressors may encounter specific difficulties, such as visitation obstacles or increased exposure of their child(ren) to the aggressor due to a lack of childcare services. For instance, to work, a victim may be forced to rely on the aggressor for childcare.

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