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Safety Planning Tool

Our safety planning tool will help you work out and securely save a plan you can use anytime you need it.

You will be able to save it as a .pdf and also load it again on this website. Your online plan will be completely anonymous, password protected and totally private. After you submit your plan, you will be given a unique number. You will need to remember this number (along with your password) to log into your plan again.

What is a Safety Planning Tool?

A safety plan is a tool primarily designed to provide practical support to people currently affected by sexual, family and intimate partner violence (SFIPV).

This safety planning tool is designed to help you and/or your client to start thinking about personal safety and the safety of dependants (such as pets, kids and other dependant or vulnerable loved ones).

It will help you to identify the things you/your client already do to be safe and build on these strategies, as well as prompting you to think about actions that could be taken to improve safety into the future. For those affected by SFIPV it is always useful to think about safety, whether the plan is to stay, leave or return to the relationship/s in question.

How to Use This Tool

Professionals are encouraged to use this plan with their LGBTQ+ client experiencing SFIPV by asking the client to answer the questions below in their own voice.

Examples of how you might ask your client(s) these questions are included below each question. Note that these are merely to assist and provide ideas, but each individual should answer in the way that seems most accurate for them.

If you are the person experiencing SFIPV, you can use this tool to develop a safety plan by yourself, with a support person or a service provider (e.g., counsellor, psychiatrist).

You do not need to answer all questions or complete it in one go for it to be useful. It is intended to be a tool you can develop and work on over time.

This safety planning tool asks you to enter information into an online form, by asking you a series of questions. You do not need to answer each question to continue.

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Things to Keep in Mind

  • You can revisit this tool as many times as you need – you/your client’s skills, needs, assets and circumstances will change, so think of this as an evolving document that you can build on as you need.
  • You can use this tool to upskill support people, such as friends, family, community members or colleagues.
  • The clearer and more accurate information you provide, the more useful the tool will be.
  • There are no right or wrong answers and you do not have to answer all of the questions for the tool to be useful.

It can be confronting to engage in safety planning. Note that you/your client may experience a stress response. Being aware of this can help you to anticipate and manage the impact it may have.

WARNING!

If you are completing this plan for yourself (not as a professional for a client), you need to be sure that the computer you are using is in a safe location and is not being monitored by anyone you wouldn’t want having access to this information.

We live in a digital age, and electronic surveillance is a common factor for people experiencing SFIPV. Click here  for more information on identifying and responding to electronic surveillance.

If you are using a computer at school or work, remember that the information you enter may be able to be monitored by your school or employer.

If it does not feel comfortable or safe for you to enter information into the computer, you can still read through the questions and think about your answers. Alternatively, you can download the questions to answer offline, or print the plan off and fill in the hard copy.

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This section deals with planning ahead for the circumstances in which you would no longer be prepared to stay with your partner or family member. When would you leave, where would you go?

Think about your own personal definition of safety – what you need, what you can build on, and/or what you want to be working towards. Safety can be found in certain settings (e.g., yours or someone else’s home, your work or school, or out in nature). Safety can be found in the qualities of an environment – maybe you feel safest when it’s quiet and calm, or perhaps you feel most comfortable when your surrounds are busy and bustling. You may feel more or less safe according to how visible you feel as an LGBTQ+ person, or how LGBTQ+ friendly a particular environment is known to be. If you have any dependants in your care, including pets, you can also list your observations about what makes them feel safe here.

All relationships are multidimensional, and many people in relationships experience feelings of safety and risk along a fluid spectrum. Feelings of safety can be impacted by internal factors (e.g., the health and wellbeing of each person) and external factors (e.g., financial pressures, housing instability, and immigration concerns). This question asks you to identify when you feel safest. Some people experience an increased feeling of safety directly after an incident of harm has escalated and resolved. Sometimes a sense of increased safety comes if you have supported each other through an external harm, such as homophobic harassment on the street or at a venue. For others, periods of increased safety might be tied to a particular routine or event (e.g., after attending a religious service together). Feelings of safety may also be linked to a particular window in a person’s pattern of alcohol and drug use and/or mental health presentation.

This question asks you to identify when you feel least safe in your relationship(s). People who experience SFIPV often become highly attuned to when harm and violence is likely to occur. This is an opportunity for you to think about and note any warning signs, triggers or behaviours that cause you to feel less safe.

This question asks you whose safety is also on your radar, particularly if you feel a sense of responsibility for them. This may be pets, children, young people or other loved ones for whom you provide care. You can also feel deeply concerned with preserving the safety and wellbeing of the person (or people) using harm. It is completely possible that you can love the person, but not the harmful behaviour.

This question asks you to think about coping strategies you already use to keep yourself safe. You may not realise that the conscious and unconscious ways you respond to harm are safety strategies. For example, nightmares allow you to experience strong emotions that you might not have other opportunities to process. Shock responses, such as becoming numb, are protective and usually arise in situations where you may be at higher risk. Interpersonal skills based on your deep understanding of your relationship(s), such as soothing and placating also keep you safe. You may use drugs or alcohol, comfort eating, or other self-soothing behaviours to calm yourself and help you manage your emotions. These are all valid and speak to your body’s innate desire to survive your experiences of harm.

How do you act protectively for others you care for? This can include the person who is using harm – for example, you may be hesitant to engage police if your partner is trans or gender non-conforming. Other examples including escalating an incident at a time when doing so would protect your children from direct harm, or deciding not to call for help if you know doing it might distress others. Noting these behaviours helps you connect to all the work you are already doing. It also gives support people/service providers more information and a better understanding of your current situation.

Asset mapping is a way of looking at what resources you already have at your disposal. This can identify areas you can use, build on, or gaps you want to address in order to give you the greatest choice and power when responding to SFIPV in your relationships.

If you have material assets not listed below, please add them using the button that says "add to this list".

  • Add new choice

If you have environmental assets not listed below, please add them using the button that says "add to this list".

  • Add new choice

If you have logistical assets not listed below, please add them using the button that says "add to this list". NOTE: We recommend keeping all documents (or copies) in one safe place.

  • Add new choice

If you have relational assets not listed below, please add them using the button that says "add to this list".

  • Add new choice

Please list any other assets not included above.

This section will take you through a series of questions to ensure that you've considered all angles and options relating to your home, work or school, and any dependants you may need to consider. Please tick the box for any 'yes' answers.

Staying safe/safer at home will look different for each individual. Variables such as who you live with, whether you have housing security, whether you live with dependants, and other factors will have a big impact. Some people may have more than one place they consider home – if this is the case, apply the questions to all of your home spaces.

  • Add new choice

Safety at work or school will look very different for each person according to their individual situation. You may already know if work/school is a safe place for you to be and/or if you will be made safer by disclosing to people at your place of work or school that you are experiencing SFIPV. If you are still figuring this out, but you think that increased safety is at least possible, here are some questions to consider (answer only the ones that feel relevant to your situation).

  • Add new choice

If you are a caregiver - whether it is for children, dependants, vulnerable loved ones or pets – you are likely to have many additional concerns around safety and support. LGBTQI+ families made up of caregiving adults and dependants can take many forms and have very specific needs. This section is for you to note any concerns or observations relevant to your situation. You can use any of the following prompts that feel relevant to you and are not obligated to answer them all if they do not relate to your situation.

  • Add new choice

Managing harm is something that people who experience SFIPV do all the time. The questions in this section are designed to help you reflect on and document how you manage an incident of harm before, during and after it has occurred. This is a resource to support you and any allies, support people or professionals. SFIPV is never the fault or responsibility of the victim, and it’s important to bear that in mind as you go through the questions below. This has been created in the hopes that the information captured may enable you to be better resourced and supported moving forward. Please note that episodic harm is not the only form of significant harm from SFIPV. Many forms of harm, such as psychological abuse, stalking, surveillance and sexual coercion are incremental, not episodic. SFIPV can occur exclusively as incremental harm and be just as serious and impactful. Be aware that changes in patterns of behaviour can indicate a significant change in your level of risk.

You might already be consciously or unconsciously aware of when SFIPV is escalating, and when an incident is more likely to occur (see when do I feel least safe) If this is the case, you are probably already doing things to manage this risk (see safety strategies). Are there other things you want to do now or in the future if you feel that an incident is approaching? Below are some prompts to help you plan. Remember that no one knows your situation better than you, so trust your gut about what will make you feel safer. Can you:

You will already be consciously or unconsciously engaging in strategies to keep yourself safe during incidents of harm. Are there additional things you want to do now, or in the future, during an incident of harm? Can you:

Taking care of yourself after you have experienced harm is important. You deserve good care and support that recognises the amount of work you are doing to survive abuse and protect yourself. You are probably already engaging in aftercare practices for yourself and any dependants. Is there anything additional you want to do now, or in the future, to build on your aftercare? Can you:

This is for you add any extra notes or lists you may need (for example what to pack in your "go-bag").

Regularly reviewing and updating this document will ensure it is most useful and relevant to you and any supports you choose to share it with. Ensure any major events or changes are represented here, and that contact details and other information are accurate and up to date. Below is a list of review questions you can use to reflect on your circumstances and capture any relevant changes. You can do this by yourself or with a support person/service provider.

This includes physical, emotional, sexual, relationship, money, job, housing, immigration status, children, custody, or other risks.

Make sure this information is updated on your asset map.

Create a password for accessing your Safety Plan. You'll need to enter this on the next step.

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