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Plan for your safety

Information for older people who may be at risk of elder abuse

This Help Sheet will help you to think about planning for your safety in an emergency.

You can also use it to record details of your own safety plan. The information here is a guide to help you think about what may work for your circumstances.

Download the PDF

What is a safety plan?

A safety plan is a plan of action covering what you can do to protect yourself if you are faced with an abusive situation. It includes who to contact for help and what to take if you have to leave in a hurry.

Of course, safety planning is not a guarantee of safety, but being prepared will help you take the steps you need to protect yourself in an emergency.

Steps you can take to improve your personal safety:

  • Contact Seniors Rights Victoria for advice and support
  • Consider getting a personal safety alarm
  • Ask neighbours to be alert for any signs of a problem
  • Make a code-word to signal neighbours or friends that they need to call 000
  • Keep a list of up-to-date telephone numbers
  • Get a mobile phone (consider a user-friendly, easy-read model)
  • Make a safe place where you can go if the person starts to be abusive
  • Consider talking to the Police about your safety
  • Think about the safest way to communicate with the abuser, perhaps by phone, mail or in the company of someone else.

Steps you can take to improve your home safety:

  • Improve outside lighting
  • Change locks
  • Consider adding a second phone: perhaps in the bedroom; perhaps one with automatic dialing or large numbers.

Steps you can take to improve your financial safety:

  • Review who has access to your bank accounts
  • Review or set up Powers of Attorney
  • Avoid keeping cash in the house, or lock it up along with other valuables
  • Open your own bank account
  • Set up direct debits or Centrepay so that bills are automatically deducted in affordable, regular amounts
  • Save a bit of money if possible.

Other safety steps you can take:

  • Consider joining a social group
  • Think about supportive people in your circle of friends and family whom you can call on if you feel you need to talk
  • Join a community visitor / telephone check scheme or Police Community Register (contact local Police station or local council for details)
Download the PDF

Planning for an emergency

 

Plan where you can go in an emergency

Think about safe places in your local area and how you may get there. Perhaps you can walk to a neighbour’s home or to a local shop or community centre where you can call for help. Think about where you can stay and how to get there. Try to have a few options for places to go where there are people who can help.

Prepare an ‘emergency bag’

It may include essential medications, copies of important paperwork, keys, clothing and other items from your list of things to take in an emergency.

Agree on a code to signal others that you need help

Share your code with trusted neighbours or family members and ask them to call 000 (or another appropriate response) when you use the code.

Plan for the safety of pets

Think about how pets can be removed to safety and be cared for.

Leave items you may need with someone you trust

These may include money, spare keys, clothes and copies of important documents. This will help you to leave quickly.

Plan an escape route out of the house

Think about the safest way to get out. Consider danger areas such as where weapons are kept, rooms with only one way out and areas with no telephone.

Consider your own physical abilities

Do you need to avoid stairs? It can help to visualise and practice the way out.

Call
If you, or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, help is available through our confidential helpline on 1300 368 821. If it is an emergency, call 000.
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