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What is a Safety Plan?

  • Safety planning is thinking about practical actions a victim survivor (and/or services) can take to be safer when living with family violence.
  • The process looks at the current situation and assesses what steps and strategies can be put in place to mitigate risk.
  • A safety plan must be current, relevant, adaptable and kept up-to-date in response to change in circumstances.
  • It is important that safety planning is discussed in a way that does not make the victim survivor feel that family violence risk or its impacts are their fault.
  • A safety plan may be developed by professionals who have undertaken an intermediate risk assessment, or in collaboration with, or by, a specialist family violence service. If a specialist family violence service is not involved, you must develop a safety plan with the victim survivor.
  • Where family violence risk has been identified, all victim survivors, including children and young people, benefit from having a safety plan. This supports them to know what to do if risk changes or escalates.

Introduction to Safety Planning
Source 1800Respect

Who should do a safety plan with a client?

The MARAM Framework identifies Safety Planning is part of Risk Management responsibilities for Tier 1, 2 & 3 Workforces (see Who is required to use the MARAM Framework?) Practitioner Portal – Risk Assessment & Management page

When to do Safety Planning?

Safety planning should be undertaken:

  • Where any level of risk is present, noting that the safety plan will differ depending on the level of risk identified.
  • In collaboration with the adult victim survivor, including in the development, implementation and monitoring of the plan. It may be appropriate to work with a young person to develop their own personal safety plan.
  • With the adult victim survivor to develop separate safety plans for each child or young person (if not being done separately), and to reflect these plans in the adult victim survivor’s plan, if appropriate.

All risk management must involve safety planning, and it’s key that the victim survivor participates in and understands this process.

Safety planning must occur whenever family violence risk is identified and assessed and should be updated whenever there are changes or escalation in family violence.

Ensure safety plans reflect risks and management responses of each family member so that each family member’s plan supports safety requirements for each individual as well as the family unit.

You also need to ask what constraints/circumstances may impact the victim survivor’s capacity to implement a safety plan.

The safety plan must be documented and should be regularly updated to reflect changes in circumstances and risk levels. Any referrals made, or secondary consultations undertaken as part of risk management should be incorporated and documented as part of safety planning. For more information, see Responsibility 5 of the MARAM Framework: Practice Guides

Developing a Safety Plan

Each safety plan

  • is unique to the needs of the victim survivor
  • should be informed by their views on what will and won’t work
  • recognising that the victim survivor is the expert in their own experience, that they hold specific information about the perpetrators patterns of behaviour and what they have done to stay safe
  • involves talking with the victim survivor about their living and travel arrangements, community connections, financial resources and other circumstances and arrangements that support safety for themselves and their children.
  • can be empowering for the victim survivor if you recognise and affirm the successful actions and strategies a victim survivor has already used to keep themselves safe
  • can identify actions that are helpful in some situations might inadvertently increase their risk in other situations.

Is there a guide to do a safety plan?

GFVA have developed a comprehensive guide into Safety Planning which expands on the MARAM Safety Planning templates

Download Here

As part of the Victorian Government MARAM Practice Guides they have also developed a suit of MARAM tools including for safety planning. Click on the links below and scroll to find Safety Planning templates and additional useful information about how to conduct safety plans


Additional Resources

Latrobe Community Health has developed a short guide Family Violence Safety Planning where there is Substance Use Coercion

Download here 


I would like some more training.

See below for additional information and videos on Safety Planning.

Please also see our Safety Planning eLearning Modules

Other Useful Safety Planning Information

The Victorian Government have released a range of videos to help guide you on how to complete a safety plan.

Victim Survivor – Intermediate Risk Management & Safety Planning

Victim Survivor – Comprehensive Risk Management & Safety Planning

Person Using Violence – Intermediate Risk Management & Safety Planning

Domestic and family violence: children’s safety

Source 1800Respect