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Safety Planning

If you require emergency assistance, please dial 911 immediately!

A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave; or while a victim of stalking. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse/stalker, take legal action and more.

A good safety plan will have all of the vital information you need and be tailored to your unique situation, and will help walk you through different scenarios.

Although some of the things that you outline in your safety plan may seem obvious, it’s important to remember that in moments of crisis your brain doesn’t function the same way as when you are calm. When adrenaline is pumping through your veins it can be hard to think clearly or make logical decisions about your safety. Having a safety plan laid out in advance can help you to protect yourself in those stressful moments.

The Campus Victim Advocate can help you develop an extensive, personalized safety plan. In the meantime, here are some safety tips to consider in a few different situations:

  • Identify your partner’s use and level of force so that you can assess the risk of physical danger to you and your children before it occurs.
  • Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.
  • Don’t run to where the children are, as your partner may hurt them as well.
  • If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target. Dive into a corner and curl up into a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.
  • If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help. Know where the nearest public phone is located. Know the phone number to your local shelter (920-235-5998). If your life is in danger, call the police.
  • Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.
  • Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.
  • Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.
  • Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.
  • Plan for what you will do if your children tells your partner of your plan or if your partner otherwise finds out about your plan.
  • Keep weapons like guns and knives locked away and as inaccessible as possible.
  • Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and others locked — for a quick escape.
  • Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you.
  • Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night.
*Adapted from thehotline.org
Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous. No two stalking situations are alike. There are no guarantees that what works for one person will work for another, yet you can take steps to increase your safety.
  1. Trust your instincts. Victims of stalking often feel pressured by friends or family to downplay the stalker’s behavior, but stalking poses a real threat of harm. Your safety is paramount.
  2. Call the police if you feel you are in any immediate danger. 
  3. If possible, have a phone nearby at all times, preferably one to which the stalker has never had access.
  4. When out of the house or work environment, try not to travel alone and stay in public areas.
  5. Don't communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you.
  6. Keep a record or log of each contact with the stalker. Be sure to also document any police reports.
  7. Stalkers often use technology to contact their victims. Save all e-mails, text messages, photos, and postings on social networking sites as evidence of the stalking behavior.
  8. Vary your routines, including changing routes to work, school and other places you regularly visit.
  9. Inform the people you are close to, including your professors, coworkers, supervisors, etc., of the situation and tell them to call the police if they see your stalker.
  10. Consider filing for a restraining order.
  11. Utilize the Campus Safewalk Program (Call (920) 424-1212 to request a Safewalk).
  12. Get connected with the Campus Victim Advocate to talk through your options and discuss safety planning.
*Adapted from victimsofcrime.org Stalking Resource Center

Often, emphasis is placed on planning around physical safety, but it’s important to consider your emotional safety as well. Emotional safety can look different for different people, but ultimately it’s about developing a personalized plan that helps you feel accepting of your emotions and decisions when dealing with abuse. Below are some ideas for how to create and maintain an emotional safety plan that works for you.

Seek Out Supportive People: A caring presence such as a trusted friend or family member can help create a calm atmosphere to think through difficult situations and allow for you to discuss potential options.

Identify and Work Towards Achievable Goals: An achievable goal might be calling the Campus Victim Advocate and seeing what services are available through her, or in your community. Remember that you don’t have to do anything you aren’t comfortable with right now, but taking small steps can help options feel more possible when you are ready.

Create a Peaceful Space for Yourself: Designating a physical place where your mind can relax and feel safe can be good option when working through difficult emotions that can arise when dealing with abuse. This can be a room in your house, a spot under your favorite tree, a comfy chair by a window or in a room with low lights.

Remind Yourself of Your Great Value: You are important and special, and recognizing and reminding yourself of this reality is so beneficial for your emotional health. It is never your fault when someone chooses to be abusive to you, and it has no reflection on the great value you have as person.

Remember That You Deserve to Be Kind to Yourself: Taking time to practice self-care every day, even if it is only for a few minutes, really creates space for peace and emotional safety. It’s healthy to give yourself emotional breaks and step back from your situation sometimes. In the end, this can help you make the decisions that are best for you.

*Adapted from thehotline.org

Stalking Incident and Behavior Log
Intimate Partner Violence Initial Safety Plan (to create a more extensive one contact the Campus Victim Advocate)
Restraining Order Information (the Campus Victim Advocate can assist you in filling out and filing a restraining order)

Local Hotlines

24-Hr Sexual Assault Hotline
(920) 722-8150
24-Hr Domestic Abuse Hotline
(920) 235-5998

Contact Information
Name: Stephanie Kitzerow
Phone: (920) 424-2061
Email: kitzeros@uwosh.edu
Hours: M-F: 8:30am-4:30pm
Office: Student Success Center, Suite 240
(Inside the Counseling Center)
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Sexual Assault Reporting Forms

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