The information on this
page is compiled from
various sources. While
some of it might seem
redundant, it is all valuable
and important information
worth reading and
remembering. Call our
hotline 24 hours a day to
work with one of our trained
staff to tailor a safety plan
to meet your specific needs
and situation.
Safety Planning in Rural Communities

In rural communities, there are fewer services that provide support for victims of sexual assault and dating and domestic
violence. It can also be a challenge to maintain privacy due to the small community size. Things to think about:

How to get away if there is an emergency:
Be conscious of exits or other escape routes
Think about options for transportation (car, bus, train, etc.)

Who can help:
Friends, family
Support centers, if there are any in your area
National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE(4673), the National Sexual Assault Hotline or, if you are in a dating or
domestic violence situation, the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE(7233)

Where to go:
Friend’s house
Relative’s house
A domestic violence or homeless shelter (if there are not any domestic violence shelters in your area, and you are
contemplating leaving the town, you may want to consider going to a homeless shelter)
The police (even if the police know both you and the perpetrator—they are still responsible for doing their job).
Important: If the dangerous situation involves a partner, go to the police or a shelter first.

What to bring:
Important papers and documents: birth certificate, social security card, license, passport, medical records, lease, bills,
House keys, car keys, cash, credit cards, medicine, important numbers, cell phone
If you are bringing children with you, remember to bring their important papers and legal documents
Keep all of these things in an emergency bag
Hide the bag—best if not in house or car
If the bag is discovered, can call it a “hurricane”, “tornado” or “fire” bag

How to anticipate and respond to a perpetrator’s actions:
Be conscious of places the perpetrator frequents (work schedule, favorite places to go, etc.)
Plan what you would say and do if you came into contact with him or her

Traveling Safety:
If you need to get away and there is no public transportation in your area, try to find someone who will allow you to use his or her car if you do not have one at your disposal.

Keep your doors locked
Have extra car necessities (oil, jumper cables, etc.)
Try not to wait until the last minute to fill your gas tank; always keep it half-way full if you can
Have your keys ready when you go to unlock your car
Plan your route and know what “safe” places are on it (police stations, hospitals, etc.)

Home Safety:
Change the locks on doors and windows
Keep your doors locked, even when you are at home
Install a security system
Install outside lighting system (with motion detectors)
Do not prop doors
Close blinds/curtains at night
Keep car doors locked, even in your own driveway

Tips to Remember:
Keep cash with you at all times
Keep some change accessible just in case you need to use a pay phone
Memorize all important numbers/have important numbers easily accessible on your cell phone (if you have one)
Establish a code word so that family, friends, etc. know when to call for help
Have a backup plan in case the first fails
Carry a small noisemaker (like a whistle) and/or flashlight on your keychain
Be aware of your routine and try to alter it sometimes, if possible
Have an extra copy of keys
Try to keep in contact with people/organizations who are helping you


If an abuser has access to your email account, he or she may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail.  If you believe your account is secure, make sure you choose a password he or she will not be able to guess.

If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse.  
Additionally, the messages may constitute a federal offense.  For more information on this issue, contact your local United
States Attorney's Office.

Internet Browser History
if an abuser knows how to read your computer's history or cache file (automatically saved web pages and graphics), he or she
may be able to see information you have viewed recently on the Internet. You can clear your history or empty your cache file
in your browser's settings.*

Pulldown Edit menu, select Preferences. Click on Navigator on choose 'Clear History'. Click on Advanced then select Cache.
Click on "Clear Disk Cache".

On older versions of Netscape:
Pulldown Options menu.  Select Network Options, Select Cache.  Click on "Clear Disk Cache".

Internet Explorer:
Pulldown View menu, select Internet Options.  On General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on "Delete Files".  
Under History click on "Clear History".

Pulldown Members menu, select Preferences. Click on WWW icon. Then select Advanced. Purge Cache.

* This information may not completely hide your tracks. Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites.
The safest way to find information on the Internet is a local library, a friend's house or workplace.

American Bar Association

What can I do to be safe?
Call the police

If you feel you are in danger at any time, you can call 911 or your local police.
Consider the following:
  • The police can protect you, and help you and your children leave your home safely.
  • They can arrest your abuser when they have enough proof that you have been abused.
  • They can arrest your abuser if a restraining order has been violated.
When the police come, tell them everything the abuser did that made you call. If you have been hit, tell the police where.
Tell them how many times it happened. Show them any marks left on your body. Marks may take time to show up. If you see a
mark after the police leave, call the police to take pictures of the marks. They may be used in court.
If your abuser has broken any property, show the police.
The police can give you information on domestic violence programs and shelters.
The police must make a report saying what happened to you. Police reports can be used in court if your abuser is charged
with a crime.
  • Get the officers' names, badge numbers, and the report number in case you need a copy of the report.
  • A police report can be used to help you get a restraining order.

Get support from friends and family
  • Tell your supportive family, friends and co-workers what has happened.
  • Find a safe place
It is not fair. You should not have to leave your home because of what your abuser has done. But sometimes it is the only way
you will be safe. SAFE in Hunterdon’s safe house provides a confidential, secure place for you and your children stay.

Get medical help
If you have been hurt, go to the hospital or your doctor. Domestic violence advocates may be called to the hospital. They are
there to give you support and provide you with information to help you make the best decisions for you. You may ask medical
staff to call one for you.
Medical records can be important in court cases. They can also help you get a restraining. Give all the information about your
injuries and who hurt you that you feel safe to give.

Make a safety plan
Your safety is the most important thing. Listed below are tips to help keep you safe. The resources below can help you to
make a safety plan that works best for you. It is important to get help with your safety plan. Call SAFE in Hunterdon’s 24-hour
hotline at 1-888-988-4033 for help in safety planning.  

If you are in an abusive relationship, think about...
  • Having important phone numbers nearby for you and your children, including the police, hotlines, friends and SAFE in
    Hunterdon. If you have children, teach them how to dial 911. Make up a code word that you can use when you need
  • Friends or neighbors you could tell about the abuse. Ask them to call the police if they hear angry or violent noises.
  • How to get out of your home safely. Practice ways to get out.
  • Safer places in your home where there are exits and no weapons. If you feel abuse is going to happen, try to get your
    abuser to one of these safer places.
  • Any weapons in the house. Think about ways that you could get them out of the house.
  • Think about where you could go to be safe, even if you don’t currently plan on leaving. Think about how you might
    leave and when, perhaps when taking out the trash, walking the pet or going to the store. Put together a bag of things
    you use everyday (see the checklist below). Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
  • Going over your safety plan often.

If you consider leaving your abuser, think about...
  • Four places you could go if you leave your home.
  • People who might help you if you left. Think about people who will keep a bag of clothing and supplies for you. Think
    about people who might lend you money. Make plans for your pets.
  • Keeping change for phone calls or getting a cell phone.
  • Opening a bank account or getting a credit card in your name.
  • Think about how you might leave and when, perhaps when taking out the trash, walking the pet or going to the store.
    Practice how you would leave.
  • How you could take your children with you safely. There are times when taking your children with you may put all of
    your lives in danger. You need to protect yourself to be able to protect your children.
  • Putting together a bag of things you use everyday. Hide it where it's easily accessible.
  • Reviewing your safety plan often.

What to take
  • Your children (if it is safe)
  • Money, checkbooks, credit cards
  • Keys to car, house, work
  • Extra clothes
  • Medicine
  • Important papers for you and your children
  • birth certificates
  • social security cards
  • school and medical records
  • driver's license and car registration
  • welfare identification
  • passports, green cards, work permits
  • lease/rental agreements,  mortgage payment book
  • unpaid bills, insurance papers
  • restraining orders, divorce papers, custody orders
  • Address book
  • Pictures, jewelry, and other things that mean a lot to you
  • Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc.)

If you have left your abuser, think about...
  • Your safety - you still need to.
  • Getting a restraining order from the court. Keep a copy with you all the time. Give a copy to the police, people who
    take care of your children, their schools and your boss.
  • Changing the locks. Consider putting in stronger doors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a security system and
    outside lights.
  • Telling friends and neighbors that your abuser no longer lives with you. Ask them to call the police if they see your
    abuser near your home or children.
  • Telling people who take care of your children the names of people who are allowed to pick them up. If you have a PPO
    protecting your children, give their teachers and babysitters a copy of it.
  • Telling someone at work about what has happened. Ask that person to screen your calls. If you have a restraining that
    includes where you work, consider giving your boss a copy of it and a picture of the abuser. Think about and practice
    a safety plan for your workplace. This should include going to and from work.
  • Not using the same businesses that you did when you were with your abuser.
  • Who you can call if you need support or help.
  • A safe way to speak with your abuser if you must.
  • Going over your safety plan often.

WARNING: Abusers try to control their victims' lives. When abusers feel a loss of control, such as when victims try to leave
them, the abuse often gets worse. Take special care when you leave. Keep being careful even after you have left.

Adapted from
24 Hour Hotline 1--888--988--4033
In case of emergency, please dial 911
Serving victims and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse for over 30 years
SAFE in Hunterdon
47 E. Main Street  •  Flemington, NJ 08822
Outreach office: 908-788-7666
24-hour hotline: 888-988-4033
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SAFE in Hunterdon's Mission is to empower adult and child survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, while collaborating with our community to prevent violence and create positive social change.