If you are a victim of family violence, you probably know more about safety planning than you realise. Whether you are currently with your partner or not, a safety plan can reduce your risk of being harmed. If you are planning to leave your partner or have already left, be aware that abusers often are more violent during times of separation, increasing your risk for harm.
Review your plan often. Remember: You do not have control over your partner’s violence, but you can reduce the risk of harm to yourself and your children. You do not have to figure it all out on your own. Ask for help!
Go through the following safety plan to help you be prepared.
Contacting the Police and other agencies
- I can call the police on 111 if I am in danger or think I might be.
- I know how to make contact with our local women's refuge.
- I know our local family violence prevention providers
Preparing to be safe
- I have worked out an escape route from my house (for example what doors, windows, lifts or stairwells to use).
- I know what to do to try to keep my children safe.
- I know where to go when we escape and how to get there (including the form of transport if my car is unavailable).
- I know what I will do and where I will go if I need to leave empty-handed.
Keeping safe if in immediate danger
- I will avoid being in rooms that have potential weapons of hard surfaces – such as the bathroom, kitchen, or garage.
- I will avoid being in rooms from which it is hard to access the front door.
- I will use my judgment to calm the abuser down.
- I know I have to protect myself and my children until I am out of danger.
- I know who can help.
- I will write the names and phone numbers of at least three people who can help me to be safe.
- I will consider a code word for help.
Things to do now
- I have informed my neighbours of the specifics of my safety situation and made arrangements for them to contact police if concerned for my safety.
- I have considered arrangements I might need to make for pets.
- I have made arrangements so that I can access cash in a hurry.
- I have removed essential documents from the house and/or made copies to leave with someone I trust and can contact easily.
I have packed an emergency bag containing:
- Phone charger ( buy a spare)
- Spare set of keys for house, car, office
- Essential medication required by any family member.
Knowing how to be safe on the internet
- I know not to use a computer that can be accessed by the abuser when researching information about domestic violence services or as part of researching my safety plan.
- I know the steps to take to cover my internet tracks to the best extent possible if I must use a computer that the person doing the harm has access to.
- I am aware of the risks of sharing information online (for example, how easy it is for people to disguise themselves as a friend).
- I am able to talk to children, friends and family about online safety.
Packing to leave
Things to pack if I am leaving at a time when there is no immediate danger (for example, while the police are at their home):
- Essential items for the children (bottles, formula)
- Security/comfort toys, blankets or other items for children (these are probably the most important items to pack as they cannot be replaced)
- Documents (see below)
- Several clothes changes for each person
- Any disability aids or essential medication that might be needed.
Useful documents I should include:
- Documents that prove my and my children’s identity (passport, licence, birth certificates)
- Bank account details
- WINZ card
- Marriage Certificate
- Citizenship papers
- Other legal papers
- Mortgage/rental agreement
- Insurance policies
- IRD number
- Details of any disability aids and equipment needed.
Caring for children
- My children know that it is ok to talk about the violence.
- My children know that they are not responsible for the violence and that I am doing everything possible to keep them safe.
- If my child is old enough, I will talk with them about what they might do in different situations (for example, they could talk about “What if you felt scared?” or “what if someone was hurt and you had to call an ambulance?”)
- I will help my child recognise signs that violence is coming (if, for example, the person doing the harm tends to blow up or cycle through violence)
- I have discussed with my child the best thing to do in a variety of situations (this is especially important if I think there is a danger that my child might step in to try to stop the violence).
- I am aware that my child might also need help from me in how to talk to others about the violence, the importance of children not feeling they have to keep the violence secret, and how much safer children are when other people know about the danger.
Preparing to leave with children
If I plan to leave my child might need to know what plans have been made for:
- Their pets
- Their special things
- Keeping in touch with special people.
Safety planning with children
- If my child is mature enough I will make a safety plan with them
- I will request a Safety Programme for my child as part of a protection order.
Mobile phone safety
- I have been advised to get a new phone
- I understand that I should be wary of phones that the perpetrator has had access to (this includes children’s phones)
- I know how to use the ‘block my number’ feature on our mobile phones and how to use the ‘ caller ID’ feature
Internet and banking safety
- I will use a computer the person who has done harm does not have access to
- I have changed my PIN numbers and passwords on everything
- I have created new accounts for email, instant messaging, etc
- I am aware of the risks of sharing information online ( for example, that it is easy for people to disguise themselves as a friend)
- I know how to talk to children, friends and family about online safety
- I am aware of the risks of opening email attachments or links sent by unknown people or the person who did harm
- I have considered changing the locks on doors and windows and installing window locks if they are not already fitted.
- I will inform trusted neighbours of the specifics of my safety situation and make arrangements for them to contact the police if they are concerned for my safety
Safety at work
- I will inform my supervisor or manager of the specifics of my safety situation and make arrangements for them to contact police if they are concerned for my safety
- I will arrange to have my work calls screened
- I will have a safety plan for leaving work (including not leaving at my regular time)
Safety in transit
- I will make plans for safety when travelling – in the car, on public transport, or on foot
Rotorua Police 07 349 9400
Victim Support 0800 VICTIM or 0800 842 846
Women's Refuge 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843
Work and Income 0800 559 009
Find a lawyer:
For legal information including legal aid information:
- speak to a lawyer
- visit your local District Court
- at our local Community Law Centre: 1276 Pukuatua St, phone 348 8060
- Call the Legal Services Agency on 07 350 1090
- visit justice.govt.nz/getting-legal-aid
- 211 Helpline - 0800 211211 – redirects calls to the appropriate agency
- Shine 0508 744 633
- Family Violence Information Line -0800 456 450
Family Court Information:
IN AN EMERGENCY DIAL 111