Custody Preparation for Moms

A support site provided by those that have been through the process.



Personalized Safety Plan 

This plan was generalized for use in other jurisdictions from a plan found at Metro Nashville Police Department

Step 1. Safety during violence.

I can use the following options:

a. If I decide to leave, I will_____________________________________________
(practicing how to get out of your home safely)

b. I can keep a bag ready and put it______________________ so I can leave quickly.

c. I can tell________________________________about the violence and have them call the police when violence erupts.

d. I can teach my children to use the telephone to call the police and the fire department.

e. I will use this word code________________________________for my children, friends, or family to call for help.

f. If I have to leave my home, I will go_________________________________________.
(Be prepared even if you think you will never have to leave.)

g. I can teach these strategies to my children.

h. When an argument erupts, I will move to a safer room such as

(Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, near weapons or in rooms without access to an outside door)

i. I will use my instincts, intuition, and judgment. I will protect myself and my children until we are out of danger.

Step 2. Safety when getting ready to leave.

I can use the following strategies:
a. I will leave money and an extra set of keys with___________________________________________.

b. I will keep important documents and keys at_______________________________________________________.

c. I will open a savings account by this date___________________________________ to increase my independence.

d. Other things I can do to increase my independence are:



e. The domestic violence hotline is _____________________.

f. The shelter's hotline is _________________________.

g. I will keep change for phone calls with me at ALL times. I know that if I use a telephone credit card, that the following month the telephone bill will tell the batterer who I called after I left. I will keep this information confidential by using a prepaid phone card, using a friend's telephone card, calling collect, or using change.

h. I will check with_________________________ and ______________________ to know who will let me stay with them or who will lend me money.

i. I can leave extra clothes with___________________________.

j. I will review my safety plan every ___________________(time frame) in order to plan the safest route.

  I will review the plan with ______________________________ (a friend, counselor or advocate.)

k. I will rehearse the escape plan and practice it with my children.

Step 3. Safety At Home

I can use the following safety methods:
a. I can change the locks on my doors and windows as soon as possible.

b. I can replace wooden doors with steel doors.

c. I can install security systems- i.e. additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, electronic sensors, etc.

d. I can purchase rope ladders to be used for escape routes from the second floor.

e. I can install smoke detectors and buy fire extinguishers for each floor of my home.

f. I can install an outside lighting system that lights up when someone approaches my home.

g. I will teach my children how to use the phone to make collect calls to me and to ___________________________ (friend, family, minister) if my partner tried to take them.

h. I will tell the people who care for my children, who has permission to pick up my children.  Inform the following people:


Day Care___________________________________


Sunday School______________________________



i. I can tell my the following people that my partner no longer lives with me and that they should call the police if he is near my residence:


Church Leaders______________________________




Step 4. Order of Protection

The following steps will help enforce the order of protection:

a. I will keep the protection order______________________(the location). Always keep it with you.

b. I will give my protection order to police departments in the areas that I visit my friends, family, where I live, and where I work.

c. If I visit other counties, I will register my protection order with those counties.

d. I can call the local domestic violence agency if I am not sure how to register my protection order with the police departments.

e. I will tell my employer, my church leader, my friends, my family and others that I have a protection order.

f. If my protection order gets destroyed, I know I can go to the courthouse and get another copy.

g. If my partner violates the protection order, I will call the police and report it. I will call my lawyer, my advocate, counselor, and/ or tell the courts about the violation.

h. If the police do not help, I will call my advocate or my attorney AND I will file a complaint with the Chief of the Police Department.

i. I can file a private criminal complaint with the district judge in the jurisdiction that the violation took place or with the District Attorney. A domestic violence advocate will help me do this.

Step 5. Job and Public Safety

I can do the following:

a. I can tell my boss, security, and _______________ at work about this situation.

b.  I can ask ___________________________________ to help screen my phone calls.

c.  When leaving work I can do the following:




d. When I am driving home from work and problems arise, I can




e. If I use public transportation, I can:




f. I will shop at different grocery stores and shopping malls at different hours than I did when I was with my partner.  I will try to vary regular routines and routes.

g.  I will use a different bank and bank at different hours than I did when I was with my partner.

h.  I can also do the following:_______________________________________________________________

Step 6. Drug and Alcohol Use.

I can enhance my safety if I do the following:

a. If I am going to use, I am going to do it in a safe place with people who understand the risk of violence and who are committed to my safety.

b. I can also_____________________________________________________________

c. If my partner is using, I can________________________________________________________________

d. I can also___________________________________________________________________

e. To protect my children, I can____________________________________________________________


Step 7. Emotional Health

I can do the following:

a. If I feel depressed and ready to return to a potentially violent situation/ partner, I can


I can call ____________________________________________________________________

b. When I have to talk to my partner in person or on the phone, I can




c. I will use "I" statements and I will be assertive with people.

d. I can tell myself "__________________________________________________________________________"
when I feel people are trying to control or abuse me.

e. I can call the following people and/ or places for support:



f. Things I can do to make me feel stronger are:



I will keep this document in a safe place and out of the reach of my potential attacker.


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