VHA Social Work
Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) - VETERANS & PARTNERS - What Can I Do?
If you are currently experiencing or at risk of experiencing IPV, safety planning is a vital step in promoting your safety and well-being. It can be done at any stage, whether you are currently still in a relationship, planning to leave, or have already left the relationship.
Below you will find materials to create your own personalized safety plan, information on what to include, and other resources to safeguard your well-being.
IN A RELATIONSHIP or PLANNING TO LEAVE:
- Pack a to-go bag with essential items for yourself and children in case you need to leave quickly (keys, clothing, pay-by-the-minute cell phone, cash, IDs, important documents like DD-214, marriage certificate, and insurance cards, medications, important contact numbers).
- Keep your keys, wallet, and phone with you.
- Know how you will leave your home.
- Teach your children how to call 911.
- Have a code word you and your children can use to let family and friends know you need them to call for help.
- If your partner becomes violent or you are concerned they may become violent, avoid places in your home that do not have outside doors or where there are weapons or a lot of windows or glass (kitchen, bathroom, garage).
- Research local domestic violence resources. Try starting with your local domestic violence shelter HERE.*
- Are you concerned your partner may be tracking your online activity, your cell phone use, or your location? Learn how you can protect your privacy at https://www.techsafety.org/* or the Tech Safety App - https://techsafetyapp.org/.*
- Consider sharing any safety concerns with your neighbors, family, employer, and school.
- If safe to do so, document your experience including dates and times of when abuse occurred, what happened, and any injuries or destruction of property. Consider making a police report and asking your medical providers to document your experience in your medical record.
- Protect the privacy of your new address – some states offer address confidentiality programs that allow you to use an address substitute, often a P.O. box. Learn more through a local domestic violence shelter or your local court system’s victim services office.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Change doors and locks, add deadbolt locks, add motion-detector lights and/or add a security system.
- Protect the privacy of your new address – some states offer address confidentiality programs that allow you to use a address substitute, often a P.O. box. Learn more through a local domestic violence shelter or victim advocate.
- Ask family and friends to avoid tagging your location or sharing other information about you on social media.
- A comprehensive guide of safety planning tips - Safety Planing Guide (pdf)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline*: 1-800-799-7233, 24/7 free and confidential counseling by phone.
- myPlan App or web-based app*. A tool to help with safety decisions related to intimate partner violence. Available as a smart-phone app or web-based app.