DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 1: Case Planning and Case Management Services
4-4.3  Safety Plans
Case Planning and Case Management Services
4-4.3  Safety Plans
Reference Points
Criteria and Strategiesof a Safety Plan

Reference Points
Effective Date: 11/1/07
Last Updated: 9/11/07


Social workers at DFCS do not develop written Safety Plans with clients who are victims of intimate partner violence.  This is a measure to protect confidentiality. There is the possibility that a Safety Plan could be subpoenaed as part of trial discovery materials, which would then give the perpetrator access to information that could be used against the victim or the child.  Therefore, the development of written Safety Plans are left to Domestic Violence Advocates who are trained in that area.  Nevertheless, social workers should be familiar with the elements of a Safety Plan.

Safety planning is an essential ongoing activity that engages and empowers the adult victim and the children to help protect themselves.  The adult victim, children and the abusive partner must be assessed and the adult victim is then guided through the process, with the acknowledgement that the adult victim knows the abusive partner best and how to best protect herself/himself. 

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Criteria and Stategies of a Safety Plan  

No two safety plan are alike and plans must be revised as circumstances change. There is no standard form or format for every safety plan. Unique language and culture are considered in assessing, reassessing and developing each plan.  A safety plan may need to be developed with the adult victim, the child and a number of service providers or people significant to the victim and child.

Criteria and Strategies of a Safety Plan

  • With the victim the following is to be considered:
    • Assessing immediate danger
    • Decision of the survivor to leave or stay
    • Educating about and referring to obtain a restraining order
    • Visitation with children
    • Court appearances
    • Identifying a list of needs (e.g., housing, employment, transportation, child-care, health care, legal assistance) or whatever service/resource is needed to keep the victim and child(ren) safe.
    • Safety at:
      • Home
      • Work
      • Public Places
      • School/Daycare
    • Ascertaining social supports that are inaccessible to the batterer
    • Keeping a set of car keys, extra money, clothes, and important documents (e.g., court orders, birth certificates, social security and identification cards, addresses/telephone numbers, etc.) with a relative or friend
    • Memorizing important telephone numbers that can be called in case of emergency and keep change for pay phones
    • Safety resources
    • Immigration resources
    • Formulation and rehearsal of an escape plan with the child

  • With the child the following is to be considered, after getting permission from the non-offending parent to engage the child in safety planning:
    • Code words
    • Where to go for help
    • Escape plans
    • Calling 911
    • Safety at:
      • School/day care
      • In the community

  • Other adults who may also be considered in the safety plan strategy include:
    • Service providers
    • School officials
    • Childcare professionals
    • Neighbors/friends
    • Family members
    • Law enforcement
    • Probation/parole
  • Social workers, Child Advocates and service providers must also consider their own safety which includes:
    • Knowing the home addresses of the survivor and the abusive partner.
    • Safety:
      • On the way to, from and at court
      • In the office
      • At supervised visits
      • In public areas
    • Having a cell phone for emergencies
    • Team visits
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