Safety Planning

Safety Planning During Crisis

We know that Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse, towards partners or children, often occurs in the home,  so when the response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis is to encourage people to quarantine themselves at home, victims of abuse can be more isolated and cut off from support. 

During this time, the Advocacy Center is doing everything we can to ensure that our services continue through a remote service model using phone, text, and video technology. Visit our COVID 19 Updates page or call our hotline (607-277-5000) for details.

In addition, here are some tips you can use if you are quarantined with someone who abuses you and how we can help. Our advocates and volunteers are available 24/7 through our hotline (607-277-5000). Please don’t hesitate to call!

Three Tips

1) Create a Safety Plan

Safety plans help to reduce the risk of harm in unsafe situations. Thinking ahead of time about how we can respond if different things happen increases our ability to remember our options and respond in effective ways in the moment. For example, to prepare for the possibility of an escalating iargument, identify an area of the home you can move to where there are no weapons that ideally also has a way for you to leave the house, apartment, or building. 

You may want to make an “exit plan” in case you have to leave suddenly. What are the important things you would want to bring with you? Is it safe for you to have a bag packed in case, or do you think this would increase your risk? Who could you call for help?  You know your situation better than anyone, so please individualize your safety plan to what feels safest for you. If something does not feel safe, trust your instincts.

It can also be helpful to go over your safety plan with a trusted friend, relative, or an Advocacy Center Advocate. Our Advocates are trained to help think through your particular situation and will work with you to make a plan that feels useful to you.

2) Stay Connected and Use the Buddy System.

By its nature abuse can be an isolating experience: whether it’s a tactic of control by an abusive partner or the isolation of feeling like no one will believe you. If you are at home with the person abusing you this isolation is heightened by our current mandates to stay at home and physically distance from other people in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

We know that abusers often monitor and control contact with other people. If this is the case in your situation, tell people who want to support you how to stay in contact with you, whether this is by phone or text, social media or video chats, or through a creative, pre-arranged, less visible signal. 

If you can, identify at least two people that you can contact with a “code word or phrase” to let them know if you are in trouble. Plan in advance what they should do if you send them the code word. For example, should they call law enforcement? Or, meet you at an agreed upon place to help you leave? Or, let a neighbor know that you might need help? Please keep in mind that plans should be realistic to your circumstances and include options for maintaining social distancing and health when at all possible but also maintaining yours or your children’s safety.  

If you have people you are in regular contact with, let them know what you want them to do if they don’t hear from you by a certain day/time.

3) Know There is Help Available. 

At the Advocacy Center, we are making sure that our services remain available to you throughout the COVID pandemic. 

Our 24/7 Hotline 607-277-5000 is open to all survivors of sexual or domestic abuse, whether you need a listening ear or connection to local resources.

Our Domestic Violence Shelter is also still open. We are still providing a safe space for people in need of safe and confidential housing and can provide you with basic needs. 

Even though we are following Department of Health guidelines and providing services through a public health remote model we continue to offer the same services as before.

Please don’t hesitate to call our 24/7 Hotline 607-277-5000 whenever you need us. We are always here for you. Visit our COVID 19 Updates page or call our hotline for details.

 

Resources:

Tips for When Staying Home Isn’t the Safest 

Developed by the NYC Anti-Violence Project (AVP), an organization that specializes in providing advocacy, support, and education around domestic and sexual violence within the LGBTQ+ community. These tips are useful for all survivors.   

Interactive Guide to Safety Planning 

Developed by Love Is Respect, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of teen dating violence. This tool is interactive and assists survivors in thinking through many aspects of safety planning, regardless of their age.

Safety Planning During Covid-19: By Survivors For Survivors

Designed by and for victims of domestic violence with Sanctuary for Families, this is useful information for anyone in an unsafe living situation. 

How to Help Someone who is in an Abusive Relationship 

If you are concerned about someone’s safety in their relationship or home, this guide from the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence can provide strategies for supporting them and reaching out with resources.