A safety plan is a plan that reduces the risks of further abuse for the woman and her children. It should address physical and emotional safety and other basic needs a woman may have like money, housing, food, child care and so on.
Every woman’s safety plan will be unique, because it should reflect her individual situation. A woman with no children, a supportive family nearby and who can afford to install a security system at her home will need a very different safety plan than a woman with young kids, no family close by and limited financial resources.
Safety plans change over time. Sometimes the woman’s circumstances change (children get older, she moves). Sometimes the abuser’s circumstances change (he goes to jail or leaves the country). Sometimes court outcomes change the situation.
Often, we tend to focus on physical safety, but it is important for a safety plan to also include strategies that make a woman feel as emotionally safe as possible.
This is another in the series of webinars on family law issues when there’s family violence presented by Luke’s Place in partnership with CLEO, with support from The Law Foundation of Ontario. You may also want to view our presentation on the changes to the Divorce Act.