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Safety planning

  • Safety planning is thinking about things you can do to be safer when living with violence or abuse
  • The best way to make a safety plan is with the help of a support service
  • Trusted friends and family members can also play a role, as well as advocates for older people and people with disability
  • If you would like support with making a safety plan, you can call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, text 0458 737 732 or visit our website for online chat and video call services:
    • Available 24/7: Call, text or online chat
    • Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm AEST (except national public holidays): Video call (no appointment needed) 

What is safety planning?

You can make a simple safety plan for yourself, with help from a friend or someone in your family. You can also contact a support service for help making a detailed safety plan. Every plan is different as every person has different needs. It’s a good idea to create a new safety plan as things change, for example if you move house or leave your relationship.

If you are making a safety plan for yourself, you will already have good ideas about things you can do when you feel unsafe. These might be as simple as contacting a friend when there is violence where you live. You can start your safety plan by writing these ideas down. Keep your plan somewhere that no one else will see it. You might choose to share your safety plan with a friend or other support person. Let them know you may be calling them if you feel unsafe at home.

Support services can help you think about actions you can take when you feel unsafe. Contacting a support service to make a safety plan is the best place to start if you are living with sexual assault, domestic or family violence.

Staying safe does not mean changing your behaviour so that someone doesn’t get angry. You are never responsible for another person’s violence.

How can I support someone with safety planning?

For someone living with violence or abuse, having the support of a friend or family member can be one of the best ways to increase safety. If you are a support person, start by listening. The other person knows their own situation best and will be able to tell you about things they are already doing to keep safe. Remember not to judge or make decisions for them. 'Just leaving' is not always a safe option. In fact immediately after a separation is the time of greatest risk of violence. Work with the person you are supporting to make a plan that meets their needs.

Support services, like 1800RESPECT, are also available to help family and friends as well as workers supporting someone affected by violence.

To learn more about making a safety plan, watch the below video 'How to make a plan to look after yourself'.

Domestic and family violence: how to make a plan to look after yourself