Safety plan: In the domestic violence advocacy community, a safety plan is a strategy that advocates develop along with victims in order to raise their chances for survival. When a man or woman leaves a relationship they are at a much higher risk of being killed by their partner/spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend than when they were in the relationship.
Most plans are revised as needed.
WESurviveAbuse developed this plan that is focused on fall safety. WE didn’t want to reinvent the entire wheel because there are numerous effective and excellent plans out there.
Links to several of the best safety plans are at the end of this post.
But I also wrote this post with the general public in mind. These days we just have too many distractions. We must pay closer attention to our surroundings.
Can you believe that it is nearly October?!?
Before you know it we’ll be hitting the stores more often for gifts, bargains, and a little hangtime. I really think that we could all use a safety plan.
Develop Your Own Code
If you are having difficulty with someone in your life it might be a good idea to have a code amongst neighbors, friends, and family to signal that there is trouble inside of the home. You don’t even have to share the exact nature of the difficulty. I know folks want to know.
But still, you don’t have to tell it all on the mountain.
It could be a blind out of place from the other blinds. It could be a porch light on, front or back. The dog was loose in the fenced in yard when people know that the dog is usually in the house.
I learned this when I was a kid. Growing up, people in our communities just had these little silent codes with one another to let each other know if something was up. It might mean that someone needed to try to find out if everyone in the house was okay.
So anyway, even if you aren’t this might be something you can implement.
We’ve come a long way since mace.
Plan your exit
It is important to be mindful of how you park your vehicle. Your vehicle may become crucial to your exit should the need arise.
Most domestic violence advocates share this information with victims of dv. Of course, if you have to run out of your home because you are being chased you need to be able to simply jump in, start the car, put it in drive and go.
Who has time to back up and perform a K turn?
Out shopping? Visiting friends/family? At work?
I know you run the risk of someone taking the spot. This is about safety
Please remember that if you are parallell parking, if at all possible, try to leave yourself plenty of space between cars so that you can pull out if you need to.
Avoid parking far away
I know. Parking far away could help us to burn extra calories. We have been told this numerous times. It is great advice.
I too have been inspired to park my car a good distance away from the building. Especially when I just put on an outfit. If that outfit is all snug since the last time that I wore it, I want to park a mile down the road.
You can get exercise at the gym or at home where it is safer.
Imagine, someone sees you walking far away from the shopping center. While you’re strolling they’re planning. When you return, your mind is on whether or not you got everything, how much you spent, your next errand…..
Everything but the attacker crouched down in the seat of the smelly van next to your car.
Consider sending your donations to the charities of your choice
While you are shopping you want to avoid getting distracted. You can always ask the charity for a card. Maybe you can give online or mail a donation.
The main thing that you want to do is avoid stopping to go into your purse, wallet or pocket while you are in the parking lot or outside of a store.
I realize that some folks get really disappointed. They are used to people never following up. However, safety.
I’ve even circled back after my shopping trip with a donation in my hand. The difference was I didn’t feel caught off guard and of course I had a group of friends or family with me. There’s an option.
Fall air feels so good. I love to keep my windows down. It is that sweet spot where you don’t have to use the A/C but you also don’t need the heat yet. But remember, people who want your car know this too.
When you are at traffic signs or street lights you tend to pay more attention to pedestrians and traffic. You may not see someone walking up to the side of your car. The next thing that you know, carjacked.
Listen, at the very least, lock your doors.
Speaking of Locking Doors……
In my county, it is against the law to warm up your car in the morning if you are sitting in it. Please remember that if you warm your car in the morning, lock the doors.
While in public spaces try to avoid sitting idle in the car to do unnecessary tasks
Getting children and/or passengers ready, collecting for important items, and hiding valuables are necessary tasks.
Applying makeup, listening to your favorite song until it ends, or casual phone conversations aren’t.
That last sentence was for me. You can share if you need it too. I have been 100% guilty of all three of these at one time or another.
But, this can be dangerous.
You never know who may be watching you. You never know why they may be watching you. Do they want to rob you of your money/credit cards? Car? Kidnapping? Follow you home? Stalking?
See, one thing that made “back in the day” a bit safer is that we didn’t have so many distractions. Cell phones, text, games, music, social media, email. And all of it fits into your pocket. And everyone knows that it fits into your pocket. So, everyone demands your attention and/or response immediately if not sooner.
Otherwise they want a detailed explanation. (Guilty as charged again)
Yet, we must keep our own safety in mind. We have to be aware of our surroundings. Therefore it is up to each individual to be more disciplined about removing these modern day distractions.
Or maybe, pausing them.
Please stay safe!
Best Safety Plans on the Web:
To be clear, these primarily pertain to victims of domestic violence. These folks are on high alert and in crisis. However, we should all routinely give more thought and consideration to our own plan for keeping safe.