Clever Tips That May Keep You Safe

domestic violence advocate

Clever Tips That May Keep You Safe

Situations that are difficult or frightening force us to think on our feet or think outside of the box to stay safe. It is during those tough, defining moments that the brain works in different and clever ways.

Often our calls at The Hotline include safety planning. Safety planning is what it sounds like: developing strategies and ideas to keep you safe, no matter where you are in your relationship.

These plans differ for everyone. What works for one person might not be the best option for someone else.

Thankfully, our advocates are smart and intuitive and so are you. They’ll brainstorm with you to consider tactics that could work best, exploring options for both your immediate and long-term safety.

Sometimes our advocates have to get extra creative to keep someone safe. Here are some ingenious safety planning strategies that advocates have suggested to callers in the past:

  • Do you need a place to stay overnight and other options aren’t lining up? Some emergency rooms may let you stay the night.
  • If you have a car and are out of options for places to stay, most Walmart parking lots let you park your car overnight.
  • If your partner is very controlling about money/checks/receipts, think about ways you can save very small amounts of money. Purchase small items like bottles of shampoo and then return them. Some purchases made with a debit card allow you to get cash back from your returns.
  • Trying to hide away some money? Consider sneaking money into a tampon box or some place your partner wouldn’t think to look.
  • If your partner is calling multiple times, let it go to voicemail. Threatening voicemails can become evidence if you decide to file for a protective order.
  • If you’re relocating somewhere and you need money for a bus ticket, ask different family members for a specific amount (ex. Can I borrow $10 for a bus ticket?) Sometimes it’s easier for people to grapple with an amount as opposed to just hearing “I need money.”
  • Occasionally Megabus and other bus services offer inexpensive ticket deals. Megabus offers some long-distance travel deals for as low as $1
  • If you lack money, internet and other resources and need to buy a ticket to leave, see if someone can go online, buy you a ticket and give you the confirmation number.
  • If you get a raise at work, ask your boss to have the amount of the raise directly deposited into a separate account at the bank that the abusive partner doesn’t know about.

These safety planning techniques may not work for everyone — and you are the expert on your situation. If you want to develop creative solutions to help stay safe in an abusive relationship, call us at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) to speak with an advocate.

Do you have any unique safety planning tips?

Comment section

12 replies
  1. If you need help reaching out to a hotline or making arrangements to leave and you have kids, their school principal may be helpful. If you feel comfortable make an appointment with them and explain you are having trouble at home and need a place to make some calls or use a computer. You don’t have to go into detail. Most will be helpful and if your abuser wants to know where you were, it was a meeting at school. Some schools also have funds for families in need.

    If you are worried about packing stuff in case you need to make a quick getaway, keep the necessary items (new w/ tags) in shopping bags in the trunk of the car. If your husband/boyfriend finds it you can say its stuff to return to the store.

    If you want to hide things wrap them like baby shower or kids gifts. You can even put important papers in a book then wrap it so its easy to grab.

    If your abuser monitors your purchases w the credit card but doesn’t check your receipt buy groceries without using a coupon then take the receipt and coupon to customer service. Pretend you forgot to use the coupon and most give you cash back (but often write on the receipt).

  2. Deb,

    Thank you so much for sharing these excellent safety tips with our blog community! We know that every situation is different and it is important to come up with an individualized safety plan when trying to leave an abusive relationship. That is something an advocate at the National Domestic Violence Hotline can help with at 1-800-799-7233. The call is completely anonymous and confidential and we are available 24/7.

    Thanks again for sharing!


  3. I’ve been working on trying to leave my husband for about a month now but as luck would have it he injured himself and is home all the time-has been for the past three weeks-I’ve found it impossible thus far to hide anything much at all from him bc he keeps such a close eye on me-he doesn’t miss a thing and even gets up in the middle of the night to go through my things-thus far the only way I’ve found to hide any money or papers from him has been to cut into the lining of one of my purses put the money/papers in there and sew it back up or I have once or twice mailed a package containing small things like this to my sister’s house. I like the idea about wrapping things as gifts but he keeps such a close eye on what I buy that I’d have alot of explaining to do if there were a gift in the house or car and he wld def check a box of tampons-he’s a little too clever. But yeah so far the purse lining and the mail for small things. When we were moving across country (driving) and he was terrorizing me everyday to give him the money I had to pay for gas food and motels I was forced to keep the cash and my medication (bc he takes that too) in the lining of my bra the entire trip bc he wld just go wild taking apart all the luggage and my purse and everything else and that was the only way I cld make sure we had enough money to make it home and that I had enough medication for myself. Hopefully those little ideas are helpful to somebody.

  4. Some helpful tips I have is my husband is a bit emotionally distant from our children so I am able to hide money in their cribs and in their diaper bags he has never looked in there. I also have gone as far as to ask him for money for things such as laundry or cigarettes and my mom does those things so I can hide the money he gave me and yet I have receipts like I bought them. My mom has been a lifesaver

  5. Rachel,

    Thank you for sharing tips on how to save money with our blog readers. Those are some very creative ideas. It takes a lot of courage to find ways to hide money and if you need further tips or some support from a hotline advocate, you can call 24/7 to 1-800-799-7233 for assistance. All the best to you.

    Hotline advocate_MB

  6. Phoenix79,

    Hiding money and papers in the lining of a purse is a great idea! As is sending packages to your sister. It sounds like you are very brave to be making these steps to get away. If you need any support from an advocate with The Hotline, please give us a call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. Thank you for sharing with our blog community. All the best to you.


  7. Another great hiding place: unscrew the faceplate of a light switch in the bathroom – in the wall around the switch is a small hole that can easily hold money, prescription pills, birth control etc. You can usually unscrew this with just your fingernail. This is how I hid my prescription pills when my (now ex) fiancé was stealing them from me.

  8. Thank you for sharing this excellent tip with our blog community! That is an excellent example of finding creative ways to stay safe. If you would like to talk about what you have experienced, know that the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7. You are always welcome to give us a call at 1800-799-7233 to talk through what has happened.


  9. I had a pre-packed suitcase that I borrowed from a friend and I kept it at her place in case I needed to run. It contained copies and originals of important documents, a paper calender, PHYSICAL (ie written down) addresses and phone numbers (although, it’s a good idea to memorize important ones anyways), a pay phone with some minutes on it. I had copies of the trial recording and some files that I had from my computer (multiple copies in different places). My friend was in on what was going on and was more than happy to hold my suitcase. Alternatively, if your abuser is always at home, you could have a friend help put together the suitcase for you so that you do have a place to stay and supplies.

    Also, this isn’t fool proof, but for you all dating less than tech-savvy men, if you use Google Chrome as your web browser, there’s the option to go “incognito” meaning that your cookies and browsing history will not be saved. If he snoops on your internet use, he won’t be able to see that you’ve been here or to other websites that may provide you with useful information.

    You can also set up a Google voice account (which offers a new phone number free of charge with calling and text capabilities from your browser. Useful if your partner looks at the calling records). At some point, I had separate contact info he didn’t know about to talk with other people.

    When I stayed in a shelter, they asked me to wrap my phone in tin foil because it would prevent signals from transmitting to and from my phone. It would make it difficult for the tech-savvy person to track me through my phone, making me harder to find. Might be a good tip for someone who is on the run.

  10. Dear Hiding,

    Thank you for sharing your strategic plans. Yes having important documents hidden and ready-to-go is crucial. Great idea to have a friend to those things together for you. You technical suggestions could also be helpful to a victim who is being “watched” by her abuser. I hope you are doing well and are in a much safer place. Please call the National Domestic Violence hotline if you ever need us, (800) 799-7233.

    Hotline Advocate MT

  11. I usually keep a separate bank account that my partner doesn’t know about. It’s not cheating as far as I know. She’s no spendthrift, so I’m just playing it safe.

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