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A Guide to Safety Planning

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Norse Violence Prevention Center

The Norse Violence Prevention (NVP) Center provides confidential advocacy and assistance to university students who are affected by sexual assault, and intimate partner violence and stalking. The NVP Center assists survivors in identifying which choices make the most sense for them. Some of the safety planning measures the NVP Center can help you with include: 

  • Safety when you’re preparing to leave an unhealthy or abusive relationship
  • Safety with a protective order 
  • Safety on campus, at work, or in public 
  • Safety in your housing
  • Others, based on situation

To schedule an appointment, please call the Norse Violence Prevention Center at (859) 572-5865 or stop by the center on the second floor of the Albright Health Center, Suite 246. For more information about the NVP Center, please visit: nku.edu/nvp or e-mail nvp@nku.edu

Why do I need a safety plan? 

Everyone deserves relationships that are healthy, safe and supportive. If you are in a relationship that is hurting you, it is important for you to know that the abuse is not your fault. It is also important for you to start thinking of ways to keep yourself safe from the abuse, whether you decide to end the relationship or not. While you can’t control the other person’s abusive behavior, you can take action to keep yourself as safe as possible. 

Leaving can be one of the most dangerous times in an abusive relationship, and there are countless reasons that survivors are unable to leave. Staying safe requires a unique approach. For some survivors taking legal or campus disciplinary action against their abusive partners is a part of their safety plan, and for some it is not. 

What is a safety plan? 

A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that helps lower your risk of being hurt by your abuser. It includes ways to keep safe while in a relationship, how to safely leave a relationship and how to stay safe once you’ve left. Safety planning involves learning how to cope with emotions, telling friends and family about the abuse, taking legal action and more. A good safety plan will include making sure you have all of the vital information you need to stay safe whether you are leaving your relationship or not and it will be tailored to your unique situation.

Safety planning is an ongoing process, and advocates at the NVP Center are here to help. 

How do I make a safety plan? 

Take some time for yourself to go through each section of this safety plan. You can complete this on your own, or you can work through it with someone else that you trust. 

Answering the following questions will help create your own safety plan:

  1. What situations make you feel unsafe?
  2. What are things that could help you feel safe? 
  3. What kinds of things have you tried to protect yourself in the past? Which of these things have worked and which would you use again?
  4. What arrangements can you make to improve your safety at work or school? (Examples: change your routes, screen your calls, change arrival and departure times, safety while traveling, etc.)
  5. What can you do to improve your safety in your home? (Examples: change locks, increase lighting, inform neighbors, resident assistance, or landlord to call the police if they hear a disturbance, purchase a cell phone, etc.)
  6. Does your abuser have access to your phone, address, email or other ways to contact you? Can/should these be changed?
  7. Are there other people or pets whose safety you are also concerned about as a result of this situation? (Examples: roommate, dating partner, coworker, etc.)
  8. What legal resources are available to you?

Staying safe on campus or at work

  1. The safest way for me to get to class/work is:
  2. These are campus/work places where I often run into my abuser:
  3. There may be places where it is impossible to avoid my abuser. If I need to go to one of those places I can make sure a friend can go with me. I will ask ___________________ or _______________________.
  4. I can ask ______________________ to help screen my calls.
  5. If I feel threatened or unsafe, I can go to these public areas where I feel safe (NVP, Student Union, classroom, etc.)
  6. If a problem arises on my away home from work I can:

Staying safe in my home

  1. I can tell these people (roommates, neighbors, and friends) about what is going on: ____________________
  2. There will be times when I am home alone. If I feel unsafe during those times, I can have people stay with me.  I will ask ___________________.
  3. The safest way for me to leave my home in an emergency is: ______________________
  4. If I have to leave home in an emergency. I should try to go to a place that is public, safe and unknown by my abuser. I could go: _____________
  5. I will use a code word so I can alert my family, friends, roommates and/or neighbors to call for help without my abuser knowing about it. My code word is:____________.
  6. I will keep a spare set of keys here:_________________.

I could talk to...

the following people if I need to rearrange my schedule in order to avoid my abuser or if I need help staying safe on campus or at work:

  • Supervisors
  • Campus Police
  • Work place security
  • NVP Center
  • Counselor
  • Other

For immediate support, if I feel depressed, confused, or scared,

I can call the following friends or family members at any time of day or night:

name ____________________
phone ____________________

name ____________________
phone ____________________

name ____________________
phone ____________________

Hotlines that help:
___________________________________

Websites with helpful and supportive info:
___________________________________

Staying safe emotionally:

My abuser often makes me feel bad by saying this: _________________________________________

When they do this, I will think of these reasons why I know my abuser is wrong: __________________________________________

I will do things I enjoy, like: __________________________________________

I will join clubs or organizations that interest me, like: __________________________________________

If I feel down and ready to return to a potentially abusive situation, I can: __________________________________________

I can read, watch, or listen to______________________________ to help me feel stronger and more supported. 

Getting help in the community:

For emergencies, call 911 and give your location 

University Police:
(859) 572-7777
415 Old John’s Hill Road
Highland Heights, Kentucky 41099

Norse Violence Prevention Center:
(859) 572-5865
Albright Health Center, Suite 246

Other:
phone:___________________________________
location:___________________________________ 

These are things I can do to help keep myself safe everyday:

  • Carry my cell phone and important telephone numbers with me at all times. 
  • Keep in touch with someone I trust about where I am or what I am doing. 
  • Stay out of isolated places. 
  • Alert work or campus security about what is happening so that my abuser is not allowed in my building. 
  • Avoid places where my abuser or their friends and family are likely to be. 
  • Keep the doors and windows locked where I live, especially if I am alone. 
  • Remember that the abuse is not my fault and that I deserve a safe and healthy life.

These are things I can do to help keep myself safe in my social life:  

  • Ask my friends to keep their cell phones with them while they are with me in case we get separated and I need help. 
  • If possible, go to different malls, bars, banks, parties, grocery stores, movie theaters, restaurants, etc. than the ones my abuser goes to or knows about. 
  • No matter where I go, I will be aware of how to leave safely in case of an emergency. 
  • Leave if I feel uncomfortable in a situation, no matter what my friends are doing. 
  • If I plan on drinking, I will be sure to have a sober friend to help in a volatile situation. 
  • Spend time with people who make me feel safe, supported and good about myself.

These are things I can do to stay safe online and with my cell phone:

  • Keep my cell phone charged and program in important numbers. 
  • Not say or do anything online that I wouldn’t in person. 
  • Set all my online profiles to be as private as they can be. 
  • Save any abusive, threatening or harassing comments, posts, or texts. 
  • Never give my password to anyone. 
  • If the abuse and harassment does not stop, change my usernames, email addresses, and/or cell phone number. 
  • Not answer calls from unknown, blocked or private numbers. 
  • See if my phone company can block my abuser’s phone number from calling my phone. 

NKU Resources

Norse Violence Prevention Center
Albright Health Center, Suite 246

phone (859) 572-5685
e-mail nvp@nku.edu 
website nvp.nku.edu

Health, Counseling, and Student Wellness
University Center, room 440 
phone (859) 572-5650 
e-mail hcsw@nku.edu 
website hcsw.nku.edu

University Police 
Emergency Contact: (859) 572-7777
Non-Emergency Contact: (859) 572-5500 
website police.nku.edu 

The Office of Title IX
University Center, Suite 330
phone (859) 572-5379
e-mail zippina1@nku.edu 
website titleix.nku.edu

Community Resources

Women's Crisis Center - Northern KY
24 Hour Crisis Line – 1 (800) 938-3335 or (859) 491-3335
website wccky.org

Women Helping Women - Cincinnati, OH
24 Hour Crisis Line - (513) 381-5610 
website womenhelpingwomen.org

Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence - Indiania
24 Hour Crisis Line – 1 (800) 332-7385
website icadvinc.org

Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) - Cincinnati Chapter
phone
(513) 453-4001
website bravo-ohio.org

YWCA 
phone
(513) 872-9259
website ywcacincinnati.org

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-WA-AX-0023 awarded by the Office of Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
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