Safety Planning

What is a safety planning guide?

A safety planning guide for victims is a resource that provides practical strategies and advice to help individuals protect themselves and plan for their safety. It includes information on creating a personalized safety plan, accessing support services, and understanding legal options. We have developed a safety guide that you can download here.


Can I make my address confidential?

Unfortunately, South Carolina does not have an address confidentiality program. There was a bill introduced in 2017 to create such a program, but it did not pass. However, there are other ways you can protect your address, such as switching to a P.O. box, deleting your address from “people search” websites by contacting the website’s administrators, and submitting a google removal request. 

What can I do to safety plan BEFORE I separate from an abusive partner?

Steps for Domestic Violence Safety Plan Before Separation

Select two close friends or family members you can stay with in the event of an emergency and develop an emergency plan with them. Build up a cash reserve and store the money in a place where the Perpetrator is unlikely to look. Determine what property and debt you share with the Perpetrator. Open a personal bank account and transfer your money to it, including paychecks. If you don’t have a job, seek training and update your resume. For more information on how to do this, visit S.C. Works. Change passwords on all electronic accounts, including email and social media. Disable location services on devices and apps, including Snapchat and Find My. Remember that a Perpetrator who shares your cell phone account may access your billing records, including lists of calls and texts.

What can I do to safety plan AFTER I separate from an abusive partner?

Steps for Domestic Violence Safety Plan Before Separation

Immediately change all computer and online account passwords. Install security features in your home. If the perpetrator has ever had a key to your home, change the locks on all doors. Tell neighbors that the perpetrator does not live in your home and ask them to call the Police if they see the perpetrator nearby. Protect personal information including address, employer, and children’s schools. Notify the children’s schools or daycare about the situation. Change your routine: shop, bank, and conduct business at places you did not visit with the perpetrator. Keep diaries, journals, personal letters, and calendars in a safe place outside of the home. If you have a restraining order, keep copies in several places, including your vehicle, handbag, and house. Give copies to close family and friends. Keep money, a spare set of keys, and a “go bag” somewhere safe or at a trusted friend or family member’s house, in case you need to leave quickly. Select a close friend or family member you can stay with in the event of an emergency. Avoid contact from the perpetrator, screen telephone calls, and avoid opening mail without a return address.

What can I do to safety plan while sheltering in place?

These are recommended safety planning steps. These recommendations may not apply in all situations. Contact SCVAN’s Legal Department for information on restraining orders. 911:

If there is an emergency where you or a member of your household is in immediate danger, call 911. Use a landline if possible, as it will provide an address to dispatchers even if you are not able to speak. Emergency Contact: Select two close friends or family members to act as emergency contacts who you can stay with in the event of an emergency and develop an emergency plan with them. This plan should include a safe method of communication in case of emergency, as well as a safe meeting place. Code Words: Establish a “code word” you can text to your emergency contacts if you need assistance leaving your abuser. This could be an emoji you never use, or it could be a brief phrase like “You up?” or “Is it raining over there?” Save Money: Start saving money. If you go to the store to buy essential items, purchase gift cards that you can keep in a safe place in case of emergency. Safeguard Phone: Regularly clear your Internet browser history, and if possible, keep your phone locked and protected by fingerprint or facial recognition scanning.

What can I do to be safer on the internet and social media?

Limit emails, texts, and social media that you would not want the perpetrator to have access to – remember, all written communication can be preserved by the viewer. Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know well and remove followers that you do not know personally. If someone makes a dangerous or threatening post on any form of social media, including Snapchat, take a screenshot and go to law enforcement. Check privacy settings on apps and social media to make sure that your location is not public. Keep personal information private. Do not make public posts about occupation, school, or relationship status. When posting pictures or videos online, be mindful of landmarks, school logos, and other information that may be unintentionally shared in the picture’s background. Immediately change all passwords, including social media, bank accounts, online shopping websites, and your cell phone. Never share passwords with anyone (including family members, close friends, or significant others). Use private browsing mode when using the internet from your phone or computer. Routinely remove cookies and clear browsing history. Change passwords frequently.