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Safety planning with people with disability

  • A safety plan for a person with disability needs to be developed with a support service
  • Issues such as communication difficulties, limited mobility or special care requirements can mean that extra planning and support are needed
  • A well designed safety plan should be available in a usable format and be readily accessible by the person intending to use it.

Safety planning for people with disability

Safety planning for people with disability can pose greater challenges than for people without disability. As a starting point, a safety plan for a person with disability should:

  • List the contact numbers for sexual assault, domestic and family violence support services
  • List emergency contact numbers
  • Identify a safe place to go if there is danger, and how to get there
  • Identify a friend, family member or other trusted person who can assist in an emergency, and how to contact them
  • Identify a way to get access to money in an emergency
  • Identify a way to access emergency personal care assistance and support if required
  • Identify a place to store valuables and important documents so they can be accessed when needed
  • Specifically address any barriers to enacting the safety plan (for example, leaving a pet behind, or having mobility or communication difficulties)

When assisting someone to make a safety plan, you can encourage them them to find solutions that fit with their own situation. Use these points as prompts for discussion:

  • Where will you go if you need to leave quickly — a refuge, a friend's place or a family member's place?
  • Women with disability can go to a women's refuge. A refuge may also be called a safe house or a shelter. Some refuges (but not all) are accessible for women in a wheelchair or with a mobility restriction. If you need to, ask the person helping you to find a refuge which is accessible. Children are also welcome at most refuges.
  • How will you get away? Do you need to get accessible transport? Would you need the refuge to pick you up or is there someone who can give you a lift?
  • Is there someone you trust who could help you leave quickly? If there is, let them know about your safety plan and how you would like them to help if you call.
  • Make a list of phone numbers of people who could help you. Important numbers might include:
    • Police
    • A friend or family member that you trust
    • A domestic violence support service
    • Your nearest accessible transport service
  • Put aside some money in case you need a taxi.
  • Gather together any special things and important documents for you and your children. Put the special things in a safe place. A safe place might be somewhere in the place you live or at the home of a friend, neighbour or family member you trust. These things might include:
    • A spare key for the house
    • Photographs
    • Important documents (or copies) like your birth certificate, Medicare card, passport
    • Bank books or bank details
    • Any medications you might need and any special information about your health.

Visit the 1800RESPECT Disability Support Toolkit for further resources.