In this article, you will learn why sexual assault survivors need safety plans to protect their legal interests, what to think about when a safety plan is made, and places to turn to for help.
What is a sexual assault safety plan?
A sexual assault safety plan is a written document created by a survivor that sets out ways the survivor can stay safe and reduces the risk of harm. A safety plan is tailored to meet the survivor's individual needs and safety concerns.
What are safety plans used for?
A safety plan is used to help keep the survivor and their family as safe as possible. A safety plan also helps empower a survivor by allowing them to reclaim a sense of security and safety.
When should I consider creating a safety plan?
You should consider creating a safety plan if you are a survivor of sexual assault or if there is a risk of any type of abuse or unsafe situation.
What things should I include in my safety plan?
A safety plan can include anything that will help you feel safer. It is tailored to your individual needs and circumstances, but the following are a few things you should always consider:
- Contact information for emergencies;
- How to stay safe at home (e.g. locks, emergency alarm, code word for opening doors);
- How to stay safe at work and/or school;
- How to stay safe in public (e.g. always have someone walk you to your car, keeping your keys and cell phone accessible);
- Limiting identifying information on social media and routinely changing passwords;
- What to do if there is contact with the perpetrator; and
- How to cope with mental and emotional triggers.
Where can I get a safety plan?
Who can I contact to discuss an issue related to a sexual assault?
For assistance with legal issues, you can contact Legal Aid for Survivor of Sexual Assault.
For assistance with other types of issues, you can contact:
- The National Sexual Violence Resource Center
- The Safe Alliance (for Travis county and surrounding areas); and
- Use 211 to find your local crisis center.
IMPORTANT things to remember before making contact:
- Make sure you are using a safe device;
- You should have the option of remaining anonymous when you make contact;
- Many hotlines have an option to text or chat if this is more comfortable for you; and
- When leaving a voicemail make sure to state if your callback number is safe.
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