Domestic Violence

You are the women we dread. Some do their best to screen you out because we know that we have little to offer you to ease your suffering.

because we already know that couples therapy is not going to help you.

I went to school with many of the kind of people who can; specialists in Domestic Violence (DV) and the brave MFT’s that conduct individual and group therapy with abusive husbands.

when to leave a marriage with childrenPatriarchy is kind of a fault line in Couples Therapy. All models of Couple Therapy struggle with it.

But few therapists believe that there is a reliable, evidence-based model to successfully work with both partners in DV cases.

DV is a complex topic, but the question is when to leave a marriage with children?  A better question is….when are you are so afraid that you need a safety plan?

Google “DV Safety plans” and see what I mean.

A Safety plan tries to cover all sources for risk. It forces you to think through questions like where will you be? What will you need? And Where shall you go? 

A safety plan empowers you because it compels you to assess the circumstances, threats, and deficits that you will negotiate in a DV assault.

Women who suffer under DV household patriarchy often have Complex Trauma and are at terrible risk when they take action to leave.

Here is what a Safety Plan looks like. I wrote this one just for you:

  • Name: ____________________________ Date: _______

These steps are my plan for safety and to get ready for how future violence may happen. Because I do not have control over my partner’s violence, I can choose how to get my kids and myself to safety.

STEP 1: Safety during a violent incident. Victims cannot always avoid violent incidents. In order to increase safety, battered partners may use a variety of strategies.

I can use some of the following strategies:

  1. If I decide to leave, I will ______________________________________________________. (Decide how, and practice how to get out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells, or fire escapes will I use?)
  2. I will keep my purse and car keys ready, and put them (location) ___________________ _________________ in order to leave quickly.
  3. I can tell _____________________________ about the fights and request that he/she call the police if she/he hears loud noises coming from my house.
  4. I can teach my kids how to use the telephone to call police and 911.
  5. I will use _____________________________________________ as my code with my kids or my friends so they can call for help.
  6. If I have to leave my home, I will go to _________________________________________. (Decide this even if you don’t think there will be a next time.)
  7. I can also teach some of these plans to some or all of my kids.
  8. When I expect we’re going to have a fight, I’ll try to move to a safer place like __________________________________. ) I will try to not be in fights in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, near guns or knives, or in rooms that don’t have a door to the outside.)
  9. I will use my gut feelings. If it feels right, I can give my partner what he/she wants to calm him/her down. I have to protect myself until I/we can leave.

STEP 2: Safety when preparing to leave. I may have to leave my home to be safe. I will leave with a good plan in order to be safe­. My partner may want to hit back at me if he/she thinks I want to leave her/him.

I can use some or all of these strategies:

  1. I will leave money and an extra set of keys with _________________________ so I can leave fast.
  2. I will keep copies of important papers or keys at _____________________________.
  3. I will open a savings account by ____________________, to save money for when I will need it. Other things I can do to take care of myself are: _______________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
  4. I can keep change for phone calls on me at all the time. I know that if I use my telephone credit card, the next phone bill will show the numbers I called after I left. To keep my phone calls private, I must either use coins, or I might ask to use a friend’s phone card for a while when I first leave.
  5. I will check with _________________________ and _________________________ to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.
  6. I can leave extra clothes or money with __________________________.
  7. I will sit down and check my safety plan every _______________ in order to plan the best and most safe way to leave my house. ________________________ (domestic violence advocate or friend’s name) will help me check this plan.
  8. I will practice my escape plan with my kids.


Telephone numbers I need to know:


Police Department Local: 911


Police Department where I work: 911 or______________________________________________________________________

Police department at my kid’s school: 911

or ___________________________________________________________________


Battered Women’s Program (local) _____________________________________________________________________ _

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7223) info on important laws I should know.


800-787-3224 (TTY) 787


County Registry of Protection Orders: _____________________________________________________________________

State registry of protection orders: _______________________________________________________________________




I will keep this PLAN in a SAFE place and out of the reach of my abuser.


Review date: _________________________



Signed: __________________________________________________________________

Date: ____________________________


Ready for a change in your relationship?

It starts with a no-obligation 15 minute phone call with our client services team.

Daniel Dashnaw

Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist and the blog editor. He currently works with couples online and in person. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and Developmental Models in his approaches. Daniel specializes in working with neurodiverse couples, couples that are recovering from an affair, and couples struggling with conflict avoidant and passive aggressive behavior patterns.

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