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Know the Signs
Safety Planning
Protective Orders
Internet Safety
Tech Safety App
Lethality Assessment Program (LAP)
Find Help

Know the Signs

Although it is not always easy to immediately recognize an abusive relationship, knowing some of the signs of domestic violence can help save a life.

Anyone of any race, gender, age, sexual orientation, social status or religion can be a victim of domestic violence.

Abuse can occur in many forms:

Reproductive coercion

To learn more about the signs and many forms of domestic abuse, visit thehotline.org.

Safety Planning

Your safety and the safety of your loved ones is a priority. If you are in an abusive relationship it is important to have plan in place to keep you safe – whether you are staying in the same location as the abuser or you choose to leave.

During an Explosive/Abusive Incident

Below are a few steps that you, your loved ones and others can take in an attempt to stay safe during an explosive/abusive incident:

  • Position yourself and any others at risk of harm in a room with an exit – a window or door leading outside
  • Avoid the bathroom, kitchen or any other room that may contain weapons or hard surfaces
  • Try to get to a room that has a phone or, if you can, take your cell phone with you
  • Identify a safe route to leave your home and practice the route at a time that does not put you at risk – if you cannot physically practice the route, visualize it often
  • Identify where you will go if you leave and how you will get there
  • Pack a bag with Checklist (link to Checklist) items and keep it at the home of a trusted friend or family member
  • Use your instincts – if the situation becomes dangerous consider doing whatever is necessary to reduce your risks
  • Tell your children to never get involved in an argument between you and your abuser
  • Teach your children how to call 9-1-1 and create a simple 9-1-1 code word that lets them know when to call

Safety in Your Home

Once the abuser is no longer in the home or with you, there are a few things you can do to increase your safety:

  • Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible
  • Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows
  • Add outside security lighting
  • Request a new, unlisted number
  • If you have moved, never tell your abuser where you live – advise others to do the same
  • Discuss a safety plan with your children – inform them where to go and what to do if the abuser shows up
  • Alert your neighbors, landlord, neighborhood watch program, employer, and anyone else whom you feel might be helpful, that your abuser does not live with you and if they see him/her they should call local law enforcement
  • Call the police if the abuser threatens you, your children, other loved ones or acquaintances or your home
  • Tell your children’s school, daycare, etc., who does and does not have permission to pick them up
  • Screen your calls and allow them to go to voicemail

Safety in the Workplace

It is not uncommon for abusers to show up at your workplace. These preventive measures may keep you and others in your workplace safe: 

  • Inform your supervisor of your situation – alert security officers as well and provide them a picture of your abuser
  • Don’t go to lunch alone
  • If possible, screen your calls and allow them to go to voicemail
  • Park your car in a well-lit, visible area
  • Have someone escort you to your car or other form of transportation
  • If possible, lock the office if you are alone
  • Use a variety of routes to and from work

Safety in Public

When in public there are several preventive steps one can in an attempt to stay safe:

  • Go to different stores, businesses and financial institutions – if that is not possible, change the time of day or day of the week that you frequent them
  • Use a variety of routes when traveling to and from home
  • Whenever possible, have someone escort you to your car
  • Park close to the entrance and in a well-lit, visible area
  • Remain aware of your surroundings
  • Identify ‘safe places’ where you can go if something happens while you are out
  • Get rides from different trusted friends, neighbors and coworkers

Safety when Preparing to Leave

Leaving an abuse can be a very dangerous time. It is important to exercise safety when preparing to leave an abuser – below are a few steps to help:

  • Open a savings account in your own name to establish or increase your independence – ensure your statement is sent to a safe email or physical address
  • Obtain a post office box using a safe permanent physical address
  • If you have pets, make arrangements for them to be cared for in a safe place
  • Pack a bag with Checklist (link to Checklist) items and keep it at the home of a trusted friend or family member
  • Determine who would be able to let you stay with them and/or help you financially
  • Keep the hotline number, 1-800-897-5465, with you at all times – if possible, get a cell phone
  • Review your safety plan often
  • If you use a computer or other electronic device to learn more about leaving be sure to exercise Internet safety

Safety with a Protective Order

Protective orders are intended to protect victims of abuse but they do not guarantee safety. These tips are designed to keep you safe if you have a protective order:

  • Keep a copy of your protective order with you at all times
  • Make copies of your protective order and give them to your employer, coworkers, family, friends, neighbors, teachers, church officials and others involved in your life
  • Keep a copy of your protective order in your car
  • If possible, immediately contact law enforcement if the protective order is violated
  • Identify alternative ways to stay safe if law enforcement does not respond immediately
  • Document any violations of the protective order – include names of anyone involved, the time, place, if law enforcement responded and any other information you feel might be important

Additional information about protective orders, stalking injunctions and other legal matters: Legal Services

Safety Planning Checklist

Gather these items and documents, or copies of them, and keep them at the home of a trusted friend, family member or other safe place:
( Download Safety Planning Checklist print version (PDF) )

☐ Driver License or State ID
☐ Birth Certificate(s)
☐ Social Security Card(s)

☐ Money – cash and any credit cards in your name
☐ Checking and savings account information
☐ Loan/investment information

Legal Papers:
☐ Protective order
☐ Car title, registration and insurance
☐ House deed or lease/rental agreement
☐ Health/life insurance information
☐ Medical records
☐ School records
☐ Work permit/Permanent Resident Card/Visa/Passport/ITIN/Matricula Consular
☐ Divorce and/or custody papers
☐ Marriage license
☐ Tax return from previous year

Other Items:
☐ Medications, glasses, hearing aids and any other medically necessary items
☐ Additional house and car keys
☐ Safety deposit box key
☐ Valuable jewelry
☐ Address book
☐ Change of clothes
☐ Current pictures of you, your abuser and your children
☐ Vaccination/immunization information
☐ Camera
☐ Appointment book/calendar

Internet Safety

Using devices (computer, iPad, tablet, smartphone, etc.) to access the Internet results in thousands of records of one’s activity to include email, messaging, social media, searches and web site visits. Additionally, there are many programs available to track the activity or whereabouts of an individual.

If you believe your online activities are being monitored, or if you are in danger, the following Internet and computer safety tips are recommended:

  • Use a computer or device that the abuser cannot access—directly or remotely
  • Use a computer in a public library, in the home of someone you trust, or at an Internet café
  • Utilize private window options when visiting certain sites—especially those sites that detail safety planning, support and shelter information
  • When on domestic violence prevention sites, click on the ‘Escape’ link any time you feel at risk

Tech Safety App

We are so excited to let you all know about the Tech Safety App! The Tech Safety App helps you understand how a particular technology could be misused to harass or stalk, what you can do about it, and offers safety tips on how to increase yourv safety and privacy. The app also includes a wide range of resources, including those on this site, the WomensLaw.org legal hotline, and other hotlines.

This app takes advantage of the Safety Net project’s more than 15 years of working on the intersection of technology abuse and violence against women. The The Safety Net Project has provided expert advice, trainings, and consultation on this issue to thousands of survivors of abuse, victim service providers, and technology companies. This app is one more way information can be put into the hands of survivors and their service providers.

Check out more about the app at TechSafetyApp.org, and download it today!

Additional Resources:

For additional safety planning tips and information, call the Utah Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-897-5465.  If you or someone you know is in immediate danger please call 9-1-1.