Safety Planning is a process of thinking through the risks associated with a current or former partner, or other person, and planning what to do if the risk becomes a threat.
Why do Safety Planning?
Safety Planning is a way to maintain some level of control if you live in a situation where your safety is potentially at risk.
It is exactly the same process as Fire Safety Planning which people do if they live in a place where there is a risk of bushfire during the summer.
- Sometimes people live with a family member who has shown a willingness to use violence in the past and want to think about ways to improve their safety if it looks like they are going to repeat their dangerous behaviour.
- Sometimes people have separated from a partner or no longer live with the family member who was violent in the past but there is still some level of risk that they could do something harmful.
- Sometimes the person who is unsafe isn’t a relative or former partner. They may be a neighbour or other person who has behaved in a violent way or made threats against you.
Whatever your situation if you have a known risk to your safety from someone a safety planning session may be able to help you to react and respond in a way that keeps you safe if the situation escalates.
What happens in a safety planning session?
In the session a professional who has training in family violence will work with you to:
- identify the risks in your individual situation,
- talk with you about your living arrangements and any vulnerabilities
- ask you about any legal protections you have in place and let you know about family violence and personal protection orders if you don’t know
- then work with you to look at ways to reduce your risk of harm if the threat situation escalates so you can improve your safety.
The process is confidential and you can have a support person with you. You can also ask us to email the information we collect to you or to another person such as your lawyer or case manager.
Safety Plan Reviews
If you already have a safety plan but you feel that there are risks that were not discussed or something has changed we can help you with a Safety Plan review.
Duty of Care
Please be aware that all of our practitioners have a duty of care to you and any children impacted by your situation. They may be a mandatory reporter which means that they have to report serious concerns they have about child abuse or neglect. Child abuse includes exposure to family violence. If they believe that there is a real risk to a child they have an obligation to contact child protection services.
Worried that you will harm someone you love?
Safety Planning can also be for people who have used violence in the past to help you to identify and avoid triggers for harmful behaviour.
Deciding that you will not use violence in the future is a great first step to having healthy and rewarding relationships but if you are someone who grew up with family violence you may have a number of triggers that you need to work on disarming to avoid repeating abusive behaviour you learned as a child.
In addition to safety planing you may find the following courses helpful.
- Our anger management program helps you to understand and manage your emotions and get your needs met without trying to coerce others.
- the New Ways for Families course is a must for anyone who is co-parenting after separation or for parents in general.
How can I get help with Safety Planning?
This is not a crisis service.
If you are in danger now call the Police on 000 and get out of the danger situation if you can.
You can use the form below to request a copy of our safety planning template document. One of our team will get in touch to see if you want to arrange a time for a safety planning session.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The only person at fault for violence is the person who uses violence.
There would have been other choices apart from using violence.
Safety planning is a process used to help manage known risks. This usually relates to threats of violence or past incidents where violence was used. look at ways of getting your needs met without being abusive or coercive.
Violence isn’t really unpredictable. There are often situations or scenarios that you know are likely to trigger an incident of violence.
When working with a professional doing a safety plan they may be identify common scenarios that you haven’t previously experienced but others have. Together you can think about whether that is a risk for you and whether there is anything you can do to reduce the risk.