Advocacy Services

Safety Planning

Counseling / Advocacy Services / Safety Planning
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Safety planning is critical when you are in an abusive relationship or have recently left the relationship. It is important to plan ahead of time to help you be safe. We can assist you in developing a safety plan. 

If you are still in the relationship:

  • Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs - avoid rooms with no exits 
    (bathroom), or rooms with weapons (kitchen).
  • Think about and make a list of safe people to contact. Keep a list that is separate
    from your cell phone contacts or memorize numbers in case your partner takes,
    disconnects, or damages your phone.
  • Keep money (cash, if possible) with you at all times.
  • Keep a fully-charged cell phone and phone charger with you at all times.
  • Establish a "code word" or "sign" so that family, friends, teachers
    or co-workers know when to call for help.
  • Think about what you will say to your partner if they become violent.
  • Keep a bag of important items in case you choose to leave (a list of phone numbers, IDs, cash, an emergency phone and charger, a change of clothes, medication and/or medical devices, children’s clothes and/or medication, etc.) in a place that your partner will not find it, such as a car, a closet, or a neighbor’s house.

If you are no longer in the relationship:

  • Consider changing your phone number. You may want to keep the “old” number so your former partner does not know you have a new number, or to store messages for evidence collection purposes.
  • Screen calls.
  • Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the former partner.
  • Change locks if you think the abusive partner has a key.
  • Stay with friends, family or other people you trust or call a shelter: 804-612-6126 (24/7)
  • Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
  • If you have to meet your former/current partner, do it in a public place.
  • Vary your routine.
  • Notify school and work contacts, for example the Title IX Coordinator, Resident
    Assistants, security desk personnel.
  • If you have a protective order, keep a copy of it with you. Consider sharing this with trusted friends, family members, and/or neighbors.

If you leave the relationship or are thinking of leaving, take important papers and documents including:

  • Student I.D.;
  • Passport and VISAs;
  • Social security cards;
  • Birth certificates;
  • Marriage license;
  • Leases or deeds in your name or both yours and your partner's names;
  • Debit/charge cards & bank statements & charge account statements;
  • Insurance policies;
  • Proof of income for you and your spouse (pay stubs or W-2's); and
  • Any documentation of past incidents of abuse (photos, police reports, medical records, etc.)

Virginia Commonwealth University
Division of Student Affairs
907 Floyd Ave, Suite 238
Richmond, VA 23284
Phone: (804) 828-6200

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