Don’t Leave Until You’re Ready

  • Identify and practice how to get out of your home safely.

  • Prepare a suitcase and leave it with a friend. See our suggested checklist for items to pack.

  • Open a post office box so that you can receive mail/checks.

  • Determine ahead of time when you might be able to stay temporarily. Keep in mind that you don’t want your abuser to find you.

  • Keep important phone numbers on you, including numbers of domestic violence shelters.

  • Purchase a phone card and keep it in your wallet.

  • Try to save money in a separate savings account in your name, or give money to hold to a trusted friend.

  • Review your safety plan as often as possible.

Safety At Home (When the Abuser has Moved Out)

  • Change the locks on your doors.
  • Buy locks for your windows.
  • Talk to a neighbor about the violence, and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.

Safety Planning with your Children

  • Plan and rehearse an escape route out of your home.
  • Teach them a code word, and tell them to call 911 when you use that code word.

  • Teach them how to use a public telephone to dial 911.

  • Inform your children’s school, day care provider, etc. about who has permission to pick your children up.

  • If necessary, provide school/day care personnel with a photo of your abuser, with strict instructions not to release your child to that person. Make sure they have a copy of your restraining order, if you have one.

  • Ask school personnel not to give out your address or phone number.

Safety During an Incident With Your Abuser

  • Stay out of rooms that have no exit (closets, bathrooms).
  • Avoid rooms that have weapons (kitchens, bedrooms where there may be a gun).

  • Select and use a code word that alerts your friends, neighbors and family members to call 911.

  • Use your instincts. If the situation is dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he or she wants to calm him or her down.

Safety Planning Printable .pdf

Items To Take – Checklist

1. Identification & driver’s license
2. Car registration, title, & insurance
3. Birth certificates for self & children
4. Social Security cards
5. School & medical records
6. Cash, bankbooks, ATM, & credit cards
7. Extra keys – house/car/office
8. Changes of clothes
9. Medications
10. Eyeglasses & contacts
11. Food & supplies for pets
12. Pet registration & medical records
13. Cash & food assistance cards
14. Child support orders
15. Passport(s), Green Card, Visa Permits
16. Divorce & custody documents
17. Marriage license
18. Copies of protective orders
19. Agreements – lease/rental/deeds
20. Mortgage payment book
21. Current unpaid bills in my name
22. Health & life insurance documents
23. Jewelry, heirlooms, photos & items of sentimental value
24. Children’s toys & blankets
25. Address book/emergency numbers:

  • RI Statewide Helpline (800.494.8100)
  • Trusted friends and family; school; work

  • Local police; doctor’s office; hospital

  • Community agencies; veterinarian


DVRC provides a comprehensive range of services for victims of domestic violence and their children, including a confidential Safe Home, Transitional Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing units, a Helpline & Drop-In Center, Support Groups, One-on-One Counseling and Court Advocacy.

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How To Help

Volunteers are an integral part of our team, and help in a variety of ways through time, talent or treasure. Opportunities include work within our Drop-In Center, hosting an event, or making a gift, which directly impacts the clients we serve.

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All of our services – residential, counseling, court advocacy – are provided free of charge to all of our clients regardless of their financial situation. Your gift allows us to continue this life-saving work by directly assisting clients and their children who are experiencing domestic violence.

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