It is important to think about how you can protect yourself, especially if the accused person is an ex-partner. Making a safety plan can help you do this.
It can help you decide:
- steps you can take to stay safe as you go about your normal day-to-day life
- what to do if there is an emergency and you are in danger
- what to do to help children and other family members stay safe
- what you can do to keep pets and property safe
- who to tell about your situation and what they can do to help.
It can also help you find out:
- what the police can do to protect you and your family
- what services are available to help make you and your home safer.
A safety plan is a list of things you can do to improve your safety and what you can do if you feel in danger.
If anyone is in immediate danger or a crime is occurring, call the police on Triple Zero (000). You can also go to your local police station to report a crime.
There is a lot to think about when making a safety plan. Get confidential help from Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817.
Get help to make a safety plan
Thinking about all the things you may need to consider when making a safety plan can be difficult, particularly if you are worried, frightened or upset.
It is a good idea to talk to someone who can help you do this. Keep in mind that your safety plan is something that you may need to update, particularly if your situation changes.
You can call the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817.
Contacting the Victims of Crime Helpline can be the first step to get help and access free services that can assist you to manage the effects of crime and to make a safety plan.
Things to think about when making your safety plan
A first step with your safety plan is to know where and how you can get help if you need it.
Keep your phone with you and if you feel like you are in immediate danger, call the police on Triple Zero (000).
Another very useful thing to do is to make sure you know where your local police station is and how to get there. If you travel to another area for work or other activities, it can be a good idea to find out about the local police station there as well.
The Victoria Police website has contact and location details for police stations around the state.
Steps you can take to improve your safety at home include:
- make sure the locks on your windows and sliding doors work well
- install lockable security screens for doors
- have dead locks installed, but do not dead lock yourself i at night - you may need to leave quickly in an emergency
- change your locks if keys go missing
- install sensor lights near entrances to your house
- trim trees or shrubs away from entrances to your house.
- keep electric fuse boxes locked. Your electricity company can supply a lock
- do not leave any gardening tools like rakes or shovels in your yard. Make sure your garage or shed is locked.
Police can also give you advice on how to make your home safer. You can contact:
If you can:
- use a few different ways to get to work - this makes it harder for someone to keep track of your routine
- make sure someone in your workplace knows about your situation
- inform your manager or someone you trust. They may be able to help you with safety planning arrangements at work
- get a co-worker to screen your phone calls
- keep copies of any important paperwork at work or in your bag
- park your car in a secure space or ask a co-worker to walk you to your car.
Using your phone or going online
If you are concerned for your safety, using the internet or a smartphone may not be a safe way to communicate. There are many ways that your computer, phone and internet use can be monitored.
- using a friend's phone or a public computer in a library or internet cafe
- creating another email account – do not provide detailed information about yourself or use your name in the address
- regularly changing passwords and PIN numbers for your online accounts
- updating the privacy settings on your social media accounts to restrict access.
How to plan for an emergency or danger
If you feel like you are in immediate danger, call the police on Triple Zero (000).
Planning for an emergency is an important part of your safety plan.
- plan where you could go, and how to get there. Make sure you and any other family members, including children, practice this plan
- choose a code word you can use with family, friends and neighbours if you need help
- have emergency phone numbers saved in your mobile phone
- be aware of any rooms in your house that have bad phone reception
- think of an excuse beforehand so you can leave quickly if you feel threatened
- have a bag ready with clothes, money, medication and important paperwork in case you need to leave quickly.
Telling people you trust
It may not be easy, but it is important to let people know about what is happening, because it can help keep you and your family safe. If you have someone who can act as a support person, they may be able to be with you and help with these conversations.
People who can help include:
- family and friends
- your workplace
- your school or your children’s school.
With family and friends, you may want to:
- keep them up to date about what is going on
- agree on a code word you can use on the phone if you need help in an emergency
- give them a list of important people or services in case of emergency.
With neighbours, you can:
- ask your neighbours to let you know if they see anything suspicious
- let them know if you are going away for more than a day or two
- tell them to call the police if they hear something and are concerned for your safety
- tell them about any changes to your situation
- agree on a code word or signal you can use if you need help in an emergency.
You may also want to apply for an intervention order. This is a court order made by a magistrate to protect you from:
- a member of your family or household
- someone you have had a close relationship with
- a person who is stalking you.
Find out more about intervention orders and how to apply for one.