|The following items are suggestions only - they do
not guarantee safety. It is highly recommended
that you develop a safety plan with a trained
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
1. Keep a journal of any and all incidents in a safe place, with a friend if
necessary. Note the date, time, location, witnesses, and police agency/report
number for all incidents.
2. Report each and every incident to law enforcement. If they will not
take a report, ask to speak with a supervisor. Be factual when making
reports. Understand law enforcement officers have many calls to which to
respond, and need to collect facts as quickly as possible. Try to make their
job easier by providing the facts to them as clearly and concisely as possible.
If you have multiple police reports, advise the officers of such and provide
the other report numbers to them.
3. Discuss whether a restraining or protective order is necessary in your
case with a victim advocate. Some feel restraining orders cause more
violence, others feel they are a necessary tool. Make the decision about a
restraining order with a trained professional. If you do not obtain a restraining
order, understand that if you call law enforcement about the offender’s
presence in your area, your call may not be as high a priority as if there is a
court order in place, or no officer will be dispatched. Also, restraining order
violations can be charged separately, allowing more jail time of the offender
4. If you have a restraining order, carry a copy with you at all times.
5. If you have a restraining order and your offender is in jail or prison,
provide a copy of the order to the jail or prison.
6. File a copy of your restraining order with your local police and sheriff
departments. However, before doing so, make sure you know whether a copy
of the report will be published on the internet – some jurisdictions publish
these. If there is a chance that the order will be published on the internet, be
aware that the offender could find a copy of the court order via the internet
and learn your current address. If you do not have the restraining order on
file with your local law enforcement, be sure you keep a copy of the proof of
service with you.
7. After you have a restraining order, do not respond to any contact
attempts. Immediately report all attempts to contact you. Save all letters, to
include envelops, and tape any voice messages.
8. Distribute copies of your restraining order to neighbors, your
employer, and children’s school along with a recent photo of the offender. If
your offender has recently been in jail, you can ask law enforcement for a
copy of the latest booking photo.
9. Request escorts to and from any and all court hearings. Some
jurisdictions will provide police escorts, some will provide escorts by the court
10. Meet with a victim advocate to prepare a personalized safety plan.
Victim advocates can be found in women’s shelters, police departments, and
11. Confide what you’re experiencing to a trusted friend. Develop a
system by which you check in with that friend regularly. If she does not hear
from you, she should contact authorities immediately.
12. Be wary of using wireless phones – they can easily be tapped. Use a
land-line whenever able.
13. Be aware of who may have access to your computer. Spy-ware can
be installed easily, even through an email you have opened. Consider using
a computer at a library.
14. Make sure you have a code or manner through which to identify
friends you are emailing – make sure your offender is not receiving or
intercepting your emails. Offenders can also imitate victims through email.
Ensure those receiving your emails know it is you by agreeing upon a code.
15. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
16. Know in what jurisdiction you are located – are you in the City or
County? This makes a difference who you call for help.
17. Carry a cell phone at all times. Answer your door with your cell
phone in hand, ready to use.
18. If you are receiving harassing or threatening phone calls, consider
keeping that line in service with an answering machine connected. Keep
taped copies of all calls to that line. Install a second line for your trusted
friends and family, and do not release the second number.
19. Report any and all hang-ups or harassing calls to the police. After
filing your report, report the matter to your phone company. They will attempt
to trace the calls.
20. Obtain caller ID and call blocking for unidentified numbers.
21. If your offender calls you collect from jail or prison, accept the call
and quickly hang up. This will provide documentation that the offender called
22. Remember you can request a log of calls made to your beeper from
your beeper provider for future evidence.
23. Consider asking law enforcement to perform a safety check of your
home, and provide their safety recommendations.
24. If able, install a home alarm. Some jurisdictions offer body alarms to
their high-risk victims.
25. Consider adopting a dog.
26. Clear all shrubbery and concealing bushes away from your windows
27. Cover windows with reflective window tint.
28. Install solid core doors and dead bolt locks. Change your locks if
there is a possibility that your offender has a key.
29. Ensure all of your windows have working locks. Place a solid pole
between the inner frame of your sliding patio door and the sliding door itself.
30. If affordable, install surveillance cameras outside your home. If you
have an open stalking case with law enforcement, they may be able to
provide this for you.
31. Consider obtaining a concealed mailing address. Some jurisdictions
provide a main mailing address that cannot be traced to the victim for victims
who are being stalked or have restraining orders. You can check whether
your jurisdiction offers this service through your local Victim/Witness program.
32. If a concealed address program is not available, consider having
your mail sent to a friend’s address.
33. Register any property, vehicles, or titles to a trust.
34. Do not provide a forwarding address when you move.
35. Place passwords on all of your credit and utility accounts.
36. Take a self-defense course.
37. Carry a noise making alarm with you, such as a “Screamer”.
38. Vary your routes to and from work and school.
39. Park in well-lit areas.
40. Keep a key or sharp object between your thumb and forefinger when
walking alone, however, be aware that an offender can also use self-defense
weapons against you.
41. When approaching your vehicle, look under the frame of the car,
between the tires for any shadows or feet. When approaching your driver
door, look into the vehicle, down at the seat and foot board areas in both the
front and back before getting close or opening the door.
42. Beware when approaching your locked car if you see condensation
on the widows when condensation should not be present. This could be a
sign that someone is hiding in your vehicle or trunk.
43. If you have a garage, when leaving home, enter and lock your
vehicle before opening the garage door. Upon return, make sure the garage
door is fully closed before exiting your vehicle. Keep your vehicle off while the
garage door is closed.
44. If your offender is following you while driving, pick up your cell phone
and let him see you calling for help. Drive to the nearest police station. *Note,
a cellular call to 911 is normally routed to the Highway Patrol. Be aware of
this when calling.
45. Consider asking a friend to drive you to and from work in a different
vehicle. Wearing a hat or wig may be helpful as well.
46. If able, change your license plate number.
47. Advise your employer of the potential for violence or stalking. Victims
are protected from wrongful termination in most states if an employer
terminates you for being stalked.
48. If able, have all of your visitors, mail, and calls screened through a
central reception area at work.
49. Have a co-worker walk to and from your car with you. Some larger
employers have security departments who will provide officers to escort you
to and from your vehicle.
50. If you have a security department where you work, provide them a
copy of your restraining order. They can stop the offender from entering your
51. Give your medical provider a copy of your restraining order and
photo of the offender. Some medical providers have Security who will escort
you to and from your appointments and provide a secure parking place while
you are in their facility.
52. If you are having a baby, advise the hospital in advance of the birth
of your situation. Ask them to register you as “Jane Doe” when in labor. Ask
the hospital to withhold notification of the child’s birth and her name. Ask that
the baby be registered as “Baby Doe”.