Safety Planning when someone is hurting you.



For many people who have been affected by sexual assault, current and long-term safety can be an ongoing concern. Safety planning is about brainstorming ways to stay safe that may also help reduce the risk of future harm. It can include planning for a future crisis, considering your options, and making decisions about your next steps. Finding ways to stay and feel safer can be an important step towards healing, and these plans and actions should not increase the risk of being hurt.

Safety planning when someone is hurting you:

  • Lean on a support network. Having someone you can reach out to for support can be an important part of staying safe and recovering. Find someone you trust who could respond to a crisis if you needed their help.
  • Become familiar with safe places. Learn more about safe places near you such as a local domestic violence shelter or a family member’s house. Learn the routes and commit them to memory. Find out more about sexual assault service providers in your area that can offer support.
  • Stay safe at home. If the person hurting you is in your home, you can take steps to feel safer. Try hanging bells or a noise maker on your door to scare the person hurting you away, or sleep in public spaces like the living room. If possible, keep the doors inside your house locked or put something heavy in front of them. If you’re protecting yourself from someone who does not live with you, keep all the doors locked when you’re not using them, and install an outside lighting system with motion detectors. Change the locks if possible.
  • Keep computer safety in mind. If you think someone might be monitoring your computer use, consider regularly clearing your cache, history, and cookies. You could also use a different computer at a friend’s house or a public library.
  • Create a code word. It might be a code between you and your children that means “get out,” or with your support network that means “I need help.”
  • Prepare an excuse. Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times or for existing situation that might become dangerous. Have these on hand in case you need to get away quickly.

Safety planning when someone is stalking you:

  • Tell someone you trust. Stalking shouldn’t be kept a secret. Tell your parents, loved ones, a trusted adult, or the local police to determine if a report can be made.
  • Be prepared to reach out. If possible, keep your cell phone charged and have emergency contact numbers programmed ahead of time. You may want to save these contacts under a different name. Memorize a few numbers in case you don’t have cell phone access in the future.
  • Change your routine. Be aware of your daily routine and begin to alter it overtime. Switch up the way you commute more often, taking different routes or different modes of transportation.
    Visit the Stalking Resource Center for more ways to stay safe.

Safety planning when leaving the person hurting you:

  • Make an escape bag. Pack a bag that includes all important papers and documents, such as your birth certificate, license, passport, social security card, bills, prescription drugs, and medical records. Include cash, keys, and credit cards. Hide the bag well. If it’s discovered, call it a “hurricane bag” or “fire bag.” If you are escaping with children, include their identifying information as well.
  • Prepare your support network. Keep your support network in the loop. Let them know how to respond if the perpetrator contacts them.
  • Plan a destination. If you’re not going to stay with someone you know, locate the nearest domestic violence shelter or homeless shelter.
  • Plan a route. Then plan a backup route. If you are driving, have a tank of gas filled at all times. If you rely on public transportation, know the routes departure times. Many public transportation systems have mobile apps that update their schedules and arrival times.
  • Important Safety Note: If the dangerous situation involves a partner, go to the police or a shelter first.

If you are in a domestic violence situation and need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE(7233). You can also visit their website to learn more about safety planning.


Computer Safety


Computer Safety

Below are some valuable ways to manage your personal information online, as well as tips for following safe browsing procedures.

Find a Safe Computer

Please take a moment to think about whether your computer is safe. This is particularly important if the person abusing you may have access to your computer.

If other people can access your computer, please take a moment to think about whether your computer is safe. This is particularly important if the person abusing you may have access to your computer.

If you have any reason to think that your computer may not be safe due to Spyware, Keystroke Logging, Viruses, or someone monitoring your computer use in some other way, please consider finding a safer computer in your area and accessing the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline from there.

If you need help finding a safer computer try these places:

Find your local library:

  • Library Locator can help you to find a local public library that may have computers with free internet access.
  • Public can help you to find a local public library that may have computers with free internet access.

Find a community computer center:


Edit Privacy Settings on Facebook

Review steps you can take to manage your personal information on Facebook.


Log in to your Facebook account. Browse to the right and click the Account tab.


Once you click Account, the following selections will appear:


Click on Account Settings


From here you can modify any of your account settings. For example, you can go to Password and click Change. You can then create a more secure password for your account. You can also select a Security Question that makes it more difficult for someone to change your account log in. Scroll to Privacy and click Manage.


It is recommended that your settings do not allow account access to everyone. Try to maintain it to friends only, as indicated above. Once you have modified your privacy settings to your liking, click Apply These Settings. If you want to choose specific information that is viewable or blocked, you can click Customize Settings. The screenshot is indicated below.


Ideally, you should set these to be visible to Friends Only for privacy purposes. Once you have set your preferences, you can return to any page.

Return to My Account page and click Account Security.

Your Facebook page and account are now secured to the preferences that you have selected, and will offer you a greater level of privacy, if you have chosen to do so. Remember, it is always recommended that you limit the people that can access your information on ANY type of social networking site. Allowing access to only trusted friends and creating strong account security is a good first step.

Click Change and you can be notified of any account activity.


 How to Edit Privacy Settings on Twitter

Review steps you can take to manage your personal information on Twitter.


Sign into your account by going to, browsing to the right and clicking theSign In tab.


Input your login info.

Once you login, click on your Twitter screen name to reveal a drop down menu and the following will appear:


Click on Settings.


From here you can edit and modify a number of account settings. Scroll down and you will find areas you can edit privacy settings such as Tweet Location, Tweet Privacy, andHTTPS ONLY.



  • Adding a location to your Tweets can leave you exposed to predators. If you choose to check this box, please make sure you are aware of who is following you and feel comfortable with them knowing where you are.
  • When you protect your Tweets you are prohibiting them from being seen by the public. This is a good option if you only want to tweet to a specified group of people.
    NOTE: Tweets posted prior to protecting your Tweets may still be publicly visible in some places.
  •  Selecting HTTPS ONLY will help protect your account information by using a secure connection where possible to keep things encrypted.

Blocking a user on Twitter
Blocking a user on Twitter will prevent them from following you and mentioning/replying to you in Tweets. Twitter does not notify a user when you block them. Please be aware that if you don’t protect your Tweets, they will still be visible to the users you block.

To block a user:

  • Go to the profile page of the person you wish to block.
  • Click the person icon (see below).
  • Select Block from the options listed in the drop-down menu.



Remember, it is always recommended that you not only limit the people that can access your information on ANY type of social networking site, but that you limit the information you provide.

Choosing options like protecting your tweets or hiding your location are good practices, but even better is to share no unnecessary personal information on social networking sites that you would be uncomfortable being seen publicly. Limiting the personal information you share is the best way to maintain your privacy online and stay out of potentially dangerous situations.

Clear History/Cache on Mobile Devices

Quick steps to clear your browsing history on iPhone and Blackberry mobile devices.




SelectSettings, then Safari.
Choose Clear History, then confirm Clear History.


Press Browser then select History.
Choose what time frame you wish to delete and click the red X.
Your browsing history is now deleted.

Clear History/Cache on Firefox for PC

Quick steps to clear your browsing history on Firefox (for PC).

From an open Firefox browser, click Tools.


Click Options and the following box pops up.


Within the drop down box Firefox will select which option you would like.
From there, click the Clear Recent History link.


Once you have selected which Time Range to Clear, click the link for Remove Individual Cookies.
Click Remove All Cookies to clear all of the cookies within your browser.


Clear History/Cache on Firefox for Mac

Quick steps to clear your browsing history on Firefox (for Mac).


Click on Firefox on the top and select Preferences.


Select the Privacy tab, and the following appears:


Choose the setting to manage your browsing history.
From here, you can also clear your recent history or remove individual cookies for further security.
The following screen-shots will walk you through this process.


Click Clear Recent History and select the time range to clear.


Click Remove individual cookies and select Remove All Cookies.


Select either Remove Cookie to remove individual cookies or Remove All Cookiesto clear all of your cookies.


To turn off Remember Passwords for Sites, simply click the check box next to it. If you want to keep it on, but set up exceptions for sites that you want to retain saved passwords for, then you can set that up through the Exceptions button on the right.




Clear History/Cache on Internet Explorer

Quick steps to clear your browsing history on Internet Explorer.


On an Internet Explorer 7 browser page, click on Tools.


Scroll down and click Internet Options and the following box will appear:


Click Delete and the Delete Browsing History menu will appear.


You can also set a specific time frame that you would like Internet Explorer 7 to save or delete browsing history.



Clear History/Cache on Safari

Quick steps to clear your browsing history on Safari.


lick Safari and scroll to Preferences.


On the General tab.


Click the Security tab and choose whether to block or allow cookies.


Once all settings have been set, go to History and scroll to Clear History.


To clear the cache, go to Safari and scroll to Empty Cache.


Click the Empty button and you are now ready to go.