Safety Planning While Living with an Abusive Partner
Living with an abusive partner can make it especially hard to identify or create opportunities to leave. Here are some important steps you can take to help prepare to leave an abusive living situation:
- Identify your partner’s use and level of force so you can assess the risk of physical danger to yourself and others before it occurs.
- Identify safe areas in your residence with pathways to exit, away from any weapons. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas before they escalate.
- If safe, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help, including friends or family, and Esperanza 24/7 Crisis Hotline: 505-473-5200.
- Let trusted friends and neighbors know about your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you might need their help. Give them clear instructions on who you do or do not want them to contact in moments of crisis, including law enforcement. Don’t let mutual friends of yours and your offender know specifics of your plans – unless you are sure they would not disclose the information.
- Talk to others living in the residence how to get help, including children or roommates. Instruct them not to get involved in violence between you and your partner and work with them to establish a mutual signal for when they should get help or leave the house.
- Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night. Ex. multiple trips to the grocery store, spending time with friends, staying at work longer, find unnecessary errands to complete.
- If possible, practice how to get out safely, including with others who may be living in the residence.
- Plan for what to do if your partner finds out about your plan.
- If possible, keep weapons like guns and knives locked away and stored as inaccessibly as possible. If you are concerned about your safety, please reach out to an Advocate on our 24/7 Crisis Hotline: 505-473-5200.
- Be mindful of how clothing or jewelry could be used to physically harm you. For example, if your partner has put their hands around your neck, avoid wearing scarves or jewelry that can be used to harm you.
- Back your car into your driveway when you park at home and keep it fueled. If possible, keep the driver’s door unlocked with the rest of the doors locked to allow for quick access to the vehicle. If possible, make a second set of keys and keep in a safe and hidden place.
- Create a plan of where you can head if you choose to leave. This can be a trusted friend or family member’s house, if your partner does not know of the location, or a well-lit, public location.
- If violence is unavoidable, make yourself as physically small as possible. Move to a corner and curl into a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.
These safety planning techniques may not work for everyone — and you are the expert on your situation. If you want to develop creative solutions to help stay safe in an abusive relationship, call us at 505-473-5200 or 800-473-5220 to speak with an advocate.