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Safety Plans

The following tips or strategies are personalized to prioritize individual safety as well as access to possible supportive resources. Every situation is case-specific and each person has the most information about their own experience to apply the options below in ways best designed for their own physical and emotional well-being.

On-Campus Safety Plan (non-residential)

Residential Safety Plan

Technology Safety Plan

Equal Opportunity Services staff can provide interactive safety planning based on your personal situation.

Each safety plan below is intended to help support your own efforts to stay safe. The plans are not designed as one-size-fits-all checklists, but as a list of ideas and suggestions for you to choose from.

For additional on- and off-campus resource numbers including contacts for other agencies that provide safety-related resources, please visit the EOS Resources page.

On-Campus Safety Plan (non-residential)

Topics applicable to Safety for Everyone including:

Questions about Safety Options including:

Topics for Campus safety (UH)

Topics for Campus safety (non-UH)

Residential Safety Plan

Topics for On-Campus Residences

Topics for Off-Campus Residences

Technology Safety Plan

On-Campus Safety Plan

Safety for Everyone

My safety is important. I will trust my judgment and my gut. I have a right to ask for help from law enforcement if I feel I am in danger or if someone has harmed me.

I should treat all threats, direct and indirect, as legitimate and seek help immediately.

I can change my emergency contact information from my abuser to someone I trust.

  • The following entities may have requested an emergency contact: my childcare provider(s), landlord, insurance companies, employer, school, doctor, dentist, counselor, pharmacy, university housing, the registrar, travel agent, veterinarian and others.  
  • Childcare locations and providers (including babysitters) should be updated with information about who is allowed to visit and pickup your children.
I can make additional plans for child safety if I have children such as:
  • Teaching children not to get in the middle of arguments.
  • Teaching children a code word so they know when to call for help, leave the to go to a safe place or follow another plan.
  • Explain that violence is never right, that they are not at fault for any anger or harm and that the most important thing is to stay safe.
  • I can seek legal help for custody based on safety concerns such as through the Texas State Bar, Texas Advocacy Project, Lone Star Legal Aid, Domestic Violence Hotline or other local domestic violence shelters with legal advocates.
  • I can seek housing for myself and my children at a local domestic violence shelter which can include an undisclosed location.

Campus police or building managers may be able to help me learn restricted access hours. That way if I need to get into a building during an emergency, I will know which buildings are open.

I can consider general options for safe commuting.

  • Consider your route as well including how public it is and if there are people or buildings you could go to for help in an emergency.
  • Also consider best times of day for travel and security options (officer escorts, camera placement, more public locations, etc.). Consider changing your normal routines so that your schedule is not predictable.
  • Consider making a separate list of off-campus commuting options and picking the safest options before your commute.
  • Giving someone your expected arrival time, or sharing your digital location with someone you trust, could be another option to have someone looking out for you.
  • For each place you need to travel, answer the following as you consider all of the options below:
    • Where do I need to go?
    • How can I get there?
    • What is the safety route? Consider things like possible isolation, limited exits or blind corners.
    • Who can walk and/or ride with me?
    • Are there safe places to go along the way?
    • What is the best time of day/night to make the trip?
    • Where is the nearest emergency phone(s)?

Walking: Options for safe transportation.

  • In addition to the previous options, consider planning your routes at times when friends can join you.
  • Consider sharing a safe word with friends so that you can say it in an emergency if you need to leave an area but you are afraid your abuser might overhear.
  • Contact UHPD (phone 713-743-3333 or through the UH-Go app) to request a safety escort on campus 24/7.

Campus Shuttle: Options for safe transportation.

  • So you do not get left without a ride, check the campus shuttle schedule for each academic term. Find UH's shuttle website.
  • Also consider best times of day and sharing a safe word with friends in case you have an incident while waiting for or riding the shuttle. Always dial 911 in an emergency.
  • Also consider changing your normal routines so that your schedule is not predictable.

Riding with Friends: Options for safe transportation

  • Consider persons you feel safe traveling with.
  • Consider a safe word to use with friends as previously described.
  • Consider safety in numbers.
  • Consider changing your normal routines so that your schedule is not predictable.

Personal vehicle: Options for safe transportation

  • Consider your route, the safety of the parking areas and changing your schedule so it is not predictable.
  • UHPD or EOS can assist if you need to request a change in parking locations for safety reasons.
  • Consider parking in well-lit or monitored areas. Always lock your vehicle.
  • When approaching your vehicle, check your back windows and backseats to make sure no one has broken into the vehicle while you were gone.
  • If someone else has a key to your car and you no longer trust them, consider contacting the manufacturer for new keys.
  • If your vehicle has been damaged or broken into, report to campus or local police so that evidence can be preserved. Do not approach the vehicle if someone could still be present or hiding inside.
  • If you have a stalking concern, consider checking your vehicle for devices that could transmit its GPS location.

Hired vehicles (Taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc.): Options for safe transportation

  • Travel with friends for safety in numbers.
  • When the vehicle arrives, consider sending someone you trust a description of the vehicle and driver (such as a screenshot of the ride confirmation). If it is a taxi, send the taxi number.
  • Always consider sending someone you trust your expected arrival time and destination. Consider arranging to text or call them when you arrive, and confirming that they will contact police for a welfare check if you do not respond. Consider giving them a secret all-clear code word so that if the driver takes your phone, they cannot fake a reply from you.
  • Avoid drivers that appear to be operating without a license or means of electronic tracking.

Public transportation: Options for safe transportation

  • Always check the maps and schedules ahead of time so you do not end up in the wrong area by accident or left without return transportation.
  • Based on your comfort level, sit in areas near the driver, other passengers, and/or the exit. Avoid seats where you could be easily cornered or blocked.
  • Travel with friends for safety in numbers.

For safety in numbers, I can take my friends with me to places on campus or I can request a security escort by calling campus security. Strongly consider having a friend with you if you have to go to a location where your abuser may be present, and stay in public and highly visible areas with multiple exit directions.

I can request a trespass warning from the campus police that can cover all or parts of campus. Campus police will evaluate my request along with whether the other person has legitimate business on campus or part of campus.

  • For example, Student A lives in campus dorms and the alleged abuser, Student B, does not live in campus housing. Student A can request a trespass warning specifically for their dormitory building. 

If I have a No Contact Order issued by the University, I can give a copy of it to campus police/security.

  • Contact the Title IX Coordinator if you have questions about seeking a University No Contact Order against a member of the campus community.

If I do not feel safe in my classes or on campus, or the abuse is affecting me in the classroom, I can request academic support measures through the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will discuss options with me so that my academic activities are not negatively affected. The Title IX Coordinator or SMSS can also help with options if the abuser is enrolled in the same class.

If I think I am being stalked, I can keep a stalking log which is a list or record of all the incidents of stalking. I can also preserve evidence (names of witnesses, screenshots of messages, police report numbers, etc.) so that if I need help from police or a Court, I can present a full history of the danger.

I can consider changing passwords or my phone, especially if the person ever had access to my unlocked phone. I can also complete the UH Technology Safety Plan to learn more about ideas for safe use of technology.

  • Save important resource numbers to your favorites, or save them under a different name, if necessary.
  • Consider changing phone numbers if the person is contacting you, or options that you can use to block their calls and messages.
  • Also consider options that will allow you to preserve evidence of unwanted calls or messages.
  • Consider keeping a phone and backup charger with you at all times and within reach.
  • Be mindful that if you share a cell phone plan with someone, they may be able to view your cell phone activity. Consider keeping a prepaid phone not connected to your current phone plan, sometimes referred to as a “burner phone.”

I can research options for a self-defense class to learn techniques to defend myself in a violent situation. Local law enforcement agencies often offer classes. Several agencies in Houston provide a RAD Self Defense Program.

  • Consider what objects or settings could be used against you in a self-defense situation. For instance, could scarves or long jewelry be used to restrict your airway?

I can research options for a court-issued Protective Order.

  • EOS can provide resources to help you request a Protective Order.
  • Once you have a Protective Order, you can provide a copy of it to someone you trust.
  • You can also inform the following offices of your Protective Order and make requests related to your safety. UHPD, EOS, SMSS, as well as your employer, professor(s), RA, coworkers, children’s caregiver(s), friends, or family.
  • When applying for a Protective Order, it can be helpful to have a list of incidents of abusive or stalking behavior, including attempts at contact through third parties. You can keep a detailed log of all incidents, including but not limited to phone calls, emails, texts, voicemails, letters, gifts, in-person encounters, and attempts to communicate with or about you through friends, family, and acquaintances. Consider what would be a safe place to can keep this log.
  • Learn more about seeking a protective order from the state attorney general's page on protective orders and other resources. Sometimes law enforcement agencies can assist you to get a protective orders, but you also may seek one from a court directly.

I can learn about the nearest hospitals in case I am injured. I should tell the doctor about all of the injuries and be honest about the causes so they can provide accurate medical help.

A safety plan looks different for everyone, and personal safety also includes emotional well-being. It is okay to make choices based on my emotional safety.

  • Consider which friends, family members, colleagues or coworkers may be supportive people to help you consider your options and resources.
  • If you do not have someone you can share safely with now, consider national hotlines with trained staff and volunteers on these topics.
  • Try to find a professional who can help you process your emotions such as a licensed counselor through school, work or a community program.
  • Big changes may require many small steps. It is okay to set small, achievable goals. It is okay to not have all the answers today and to start with options that make you feel more safe. It is okay to try more than one solution until you find what works for you.
  • Find a peaceful place for you to decompress and relax, such as a quiet and safe place in your home, a campus room with low lighting, a coffee shop the other person has never visited or a library where you can be alone to think but not isolated if being around people helps you feel more safe.
  • Remind yourself that you are important and you matter. You are valuable. Tell yourself that it is not your fault if someone else chooses to be abusive.
  • Choose to be kind to yourself. Allow yourself emotional breaks and time to process. Put someone else in your place (a friend, a child, a sibling) and ask yourself what you would want for that person if they had a similar experience. Sometimes taking a step outside of yourself and your situation can help you make the best decisions for yourself.
  • Make a list of the things that you value about yourself.
  • Give yourself time to absorb when other people thank you and say kind things to you.
  • Find things that bring you joy, even if they seem like little moments. If you cannot find joyful activities, start with things that feel peaceful or neutral.

Questions about safety options

What can I do if an abuser violates a Protective Order, a No Contact Order or a Criminal Trespass Warning?

  • If a person violates a Protective Order, a No Contact Order or Trespass Warning, you can call campus security. Always call 911 for an immediate response in an emergency situation. You can also call 911 if you are not on campus or if you feel unsafe. You can also report a violation to the Title IX Coordinator.

What can I do if an abuser is following me all around campus?

  • If your abuser is showing up at your classes, dorm, work or internship on campus, or just always seems to be where you are, that could be stalking. If you think s/he is stalking you, you can call campus police or talk to the Title IX Coordinator. You can also call 911 in an emergency.

What if all of the abuse is happening online only?

  • Online abuse is also covered by UH policies. You can contact the Title IX Coordinator or campus police for more information. You can also complete the Technology Safety Plan for more safety tips.

What if my car or parking place does not seem safe?

  • You can park your car in a different place than you normally would if you feel the abuser knows where your car is or might damage your car. You can change the locks on your car if the abuser has a key or look into installing an alarm system. You can also ask campus police about recommendations for safe parking areas.

What if I am going to an unfamiliar location?

  • To help you feel safe going to parties or social events, you can ask my friends to go with me. If you run into your abuser, you can have a code word with your friends that means you have to leave with one of them. You could also call a campus security escort on campus, or 911 for an emergency.

What steps are available for workplace safety?

  • If you work on campus, you can inform your supervisor about the situation in case a workplace emergency happens. The Title IX Coordinator can help you safety plan for the work environment. Campus security services including escorts are also available to employees by contacting 361-570-HELP (4357). Always call 911 in an emergency.
  • Whether on- or off-campus, you have the option to share possible security concerns with your coworkers or management. You can request help with screening your calls, un-listing your information or distributing a name/photo to restrict access to your workplace.
  • Some options may also be available to change your work location or scheduling for safety reasons. Contact the Title IX Coordinator for options on your campus.

What if someone at work is the person who is bothering me?

  • You can inform my supervisor about the situation. The Title IX Coordinator can also help offer options for workplace safety such as No Contact Orders, workplace changes or other case-specific measures.

UH safety options (for those who use UH properties and services):

I can request to meet with or speak to Equal Opportunity Services (EOS). If I choose, EOS can help connect me with campus law enforcement.

  • Some ways that EOS can help you with safety options include setting up a meeting with campus law enforcement/security, arranging for a classroom/work safety plan or helping you to change campus housing.
  • On your request, EOS can send a copy of your concerns to campus police/security and help arrange for security escorts in areas and times of concern.
  • You can also meet with campus police/security independently. For campus security in a non-emergency, call: 713-743-3333. 
    • UHPD Dispatch covers multiple campuses. For faster service, first identify your location ("I am at the UH main campus, inside the ____ building).
  • Communications to campus police can include a request for a criminal trespass warning against individual(s) who do not have legitimate business on campus, where there is a safety risk.
  • Security officers are not a substitute for emergency response (special events may include third-party security officers), and you should always call 911 in an emergency.

Equal Opportunity Services can also help connect me to counseling services.

Equal Opportunity Services can offer additional services to help me stay safe on campus.

  • On your request, EOS can consider workplace safety options, classroom changes or a change in living assignment.
  • On your request, EOS can also share your concerns with other impacted parties who can help you make safety changes. Examples are supervisors, roommates, faculty or others.

When I meet with Equal Opportunity Services, I have the right to have an advisor present.

When selecting study or recreation locations, I can consider the following location-based safety issues:

  • Is there more than one entrance? Do I know where all the exits are?
  • What about the options for restrooms? Are they isolated? Are there any single-use bathrooms with locks nearby?
  • Does the building require access cards or can anyone access the building?
  • Is there a reception desk where I could get help?
  • Is it safer at certain times of day or night? Are there more people or employees present? Are certain areas of the building locked after hours?
  • Are there security benefits to this location? Examples: high staff or officer presence, camera placement, more public, etc.
  • Do I have a safe way to access the building? Examples: nearby parking or shuttle.
  • Consider using areas you feel are more safe more often and changing your normal routines so that your schedule is not predictable.
  • Create a list of locations you visit on campus so that you can evaluate each location based on your particular needs and concerns. Compile a separate list of off-campus locations.
  • If you still need to access a building you feel is not safe, take extra precautions. Consider asking for a security escort or for accommodations through UHPD or Equal Opportunity Services. If you are not sure about a building, find out more information or contact campus police/security.

I can learn where the nearest public phones are located in case of an emergency.

  • UHPD provides emergency call boxes located at various points on campus to provide direct contact with UHPD. The call boxes are either towers or pole-mounted, and have "Emergency/Information" signs with a blue light on the top for increased visibility. 

I can consider where my abuser likes to go and take additional precautions.

  • This safety topic is for safety planning purposes only and is not intended to limit your academic, housing, or workplace activities. Consider all of the places on campus where you know your abuser visits: Also consider the general safety considerations listed in the previous topic.
  • Consider making a list of off-campus locations and evaluating the safety pros and cons.
  • Consider specific areas such as floors, halls, rooms or stairwells. Consider alternate routes and avoiding areas of concern where possible.
  • If you do not want to or cannot avoid these places, consider taking your friends with you or requesting additional security measures through the Equal Opportunity Services or campus police.

I can evaluate whether I need additional safety options on campus.

  • Based on general safety concerns and any personal circumstances, you can make a list of campus locations and mark those that may be unsafe or places where you may need to take extra precautions. Evaluate locations such as academic buildings, the library, the Student Center, residential buildings, restaurants, sports or recreational centers, work sites, parking lots and metro or shuttle services.
  • Safety consultations are available from the Equal Opportunity Services as well as campus police and security.
  • The list you may develop is for safety planning purposes only and is not intended to limit your academic, housing, or workplace activities. 

I can restrict access to my school directory information.

  • Students: If a student does not want “directory information” . . . to be released, the student must set FERPA/Directory restrictions in their myUH account or notify the Office of the University Registrar, 128 Welcome Center, Houston, TX 77204 in writing or by completing the Request to Withhold Public Information form, during the first week of class to ensure that information is not released by the university or published in the Student Directory. Students are responsible for requesting the release of their information once a request for withholding “directory information” has been placed on record.
  • Employees: Employees can request for campus directory information at UH to be confidential. Contact Human Resources or Equal Opportunity Services, so that those offices can confer with other departments on campus to remove contact details from the website.

General safety options (for non-UH students, employees or visitors)

I can make a list of all of the buildings or places that I go and evaluate safety concerns

  • Consider the safety issues below, and then circle the buildings or places that you feel are safe, cross out the ones that do not feel safe and find out more information if you are not sure. For the ones you cross out, if you still need to go to those areas, take extra precautions or ask for safety services such as a security escort.
  • When selecting study or recreation times and locations, consider the following location-based safety issues:
    • Is there more than one entrance? Do I know where all the exits are?
    • What about the options for restrooms? Are they isolated? Are there any single-use bathrooms with locks nearby?
    • Does the building require access cards or can anyone access the building?
    • Is there a reception desk where I could get help?
    • Is it safer at certain times of day or night? Are there more people or employees present? Are certain areas of the building locked after hours?
    • Are there security benefits to this location? Examples: high staff or officer presence, camera placement, more public, etc.
    • Do I have a safe way to access the building? Examples: nearby parking or shuttle. Or, do I have to walk alone through isolated areas to get to the building?
  • Consider using areas you feel are more safe more often and changing your normal routines so that your schedule is not predictable.

I can learn where the nearest public phones are located in case of an emergency.

  • Teach your children where phones or other devices are located that they can use to call for help. Let them know they can call police if they are afraid for their safety, or your safety. Practice sharing quick and clear information such as the location and your names.

I can consider places around campus that my abuser likes to go and take additional precautions.

  • This tip is for safety planning purposes only and is not intended to limit your academic, housing, or workplace activities. Consider all of the places on campus where you know your abuser visits as well as the general safety issues for locations listed above. Evaluate which locations seem safe and locations where you may need to take additional precautions.
    • Residence buildings
    • Academic buildings
    • Libraries
    • Student Centers
    • Athletic facilities
    • Dining halls
    • Shuttle services
  • Add a separate list of off-campus locations. Also consider specific areas such as floors, halls or rooms. Consider alternate routes and avoiding these places where possible.
  • If you do not want to or cannot avoid these places, consider taking your friends with you or requesting additional security measures or campus accommodations.

I can request to restrict access to my school directory information. I can also limit public information about my locations.

  • Contact your Title IX Coordinator, student records office or employee human relations office for more information.
  • Consider other places where your information may be publicized including social media, workplace directories and more. You have a right to limit public information about your day-to-day activities and locations to protect your personal safety.

Residential Safety Plan

For general safety, I can keep my door and windows locked and ask any roommates or family members to do the same.

  • If I live in shared housing, I can keep my bedroom door locked in case my roommates have unexpected visitors or leave the main door unlocked.

I can identify escape routes out of my residence. If I have children, I can teach them how to safely escape and seek help.

  • Consider a second (backup) exit plan in case the person you are concerned about discovers the first route. The backup route can serve as an emergency plan if your children unintentionally share your first plan with the person causing your safety concern.
  • Consider practicing with your children how to exit if there is a safety issue.

I can attempt to keep weapons, such as guns and knives, locked away and harder to reach for a possible abuser.

I can identify safe areas of my residence where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If an argument or an incident happens, I can move to those areas.

  • Look for rooms with soft surfaces and not hard edges. Try to avoid Bathrooms and Kitchens (those rooms tend to have tile or hard flooring, sharp objects and edges).
  • Consider what rooms have ways to exit, and whether to avoid areas with no exit path during a confrontation.
  • Don't run to where any children are, as the person may hurt them or use them to threaten you.
  • Include all members of the household in safety planning (including roommates and children). Warn roommates of the dangers. For example, if a stalker has focused on you, that does not mean they will not harm your roommate if they see an opportunity. Tell them to take extra precautions with children and pets.

I can share a code word, gesture and signal with my friends, neighbors, roommates or RA that means I need immediate help and to call police.

  • Consider a signal or normal-sounding word or phrase for a code word, because if someone breaks into your residence, you may not be able to speak freely.
  • Consider what signal you would use if you are unable to speak or call for help, for instance something that could be visible from a window.
  • Some friends or neighbors may not know your preference on calling the police for a welfare check. Let your friends and neighbors know if it is okay to call the police for assistance if they are worried about your safety.

If I need emergency shelter off campus, I could identify friends with room ahead of time, or I could contact an emergency hotline.

  • At UH, Equal Opportunity Services prints campus emergency cards with essential campus services and hotline information for any employees and students on campus.
  • Sometimes individuals do not feel comfortable seeking services through their school, or they are afraid the person will still be able to locate them in campus housing. Off-campus resources may be able to provide additional, confidential services.

I can rent a post office box or use the address of a friend for my mail (be aware that physical addresses may be reported on restraining orders and police reports).

  • Also consider state resources to have a confidential address set up for your public records. Learn more about Address Confidentiality Programs from the Stalking Resource Center.

I can pack a bag with important items so I am ready if I need to leave quickly. I can put the bag in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative I trust for safekeeping. If you need to store some items in a safe deposit box, consider using a bank where the other person is not a customer. Consider including items for yourself and your children such as:

  • Form of identification and social security card;
  • Financial information and way to access money. Recent bank statements, tax returns, stock reports, retirement plans, trust information and mutual fund records may help with arranging financial support.
  • Welfare identification records, work permits or green cards.
  • Copies of legal documents (like protective orders, rent agreements or property deeds, car lease or title, car registration and insurance, paystub or other work records, passport, immigration records, divorce and custody files, and licenses).
  • List of emergency contacts, shelter locations, doctor information, hotlines and local law enforcement. Include a copy of your contacts in writing in case you lose your phone, or back up a copy of your phone contacts to a second location.
  • Medications, health insurance cards, prescriptions, vaccination records, and other medical records.
  • Checkbook, debit card and credit cards (but these funds may not be reliable if they are held in a joint account).
  • Extra set of house, work and car keys.
  • Pay-as-you-go cell phone.
  • Changes of clothes.
  • Comforting items for your children (such as toys or blankets) and sentimental items such as personal jewelry or child photos.
  • If you are being stalked, consider keeping a copy of your stalking evidence (e.g. log of events, witness names, copies of screenshots, photos of injuries, etc.).
  • You may also want to take photos of any valuable assets.
  • You can consider getting a safe deposit box at a bank your perpetrator doesn't use to store copies of the paperwork listed above, as well as small valuable items.
  • Written copy of important phone numbers in case you lose your phone.

If I have a vehicle, I can practice backing my car into parking spots or driveways and keeping it fueled. This will allow me to leave faster if an incident occurs.

If I share a relationship or a home with an abuser, I have the right to remain in or leave a relationship at any time for any reason. This is my choice, and no one else can make it for me.

  • If you need to safely vent about the relationship, consider possible safe spaces and people you trust.
  • At UH, counselors in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are confidential and available for free to students, and their phone number is 713-743-5454. Benefits-eligible employees may visit the Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”) or call 888-993-7650 for counseling and referral programs.

If I financially depend on the abuser, I can set a personal goal for a deadline to open a private bank account (at a place my abuser does not bank) and start saving for independence.

  • Remember to set the account to only send notices to a secure address, such as a post office box, so that the abuser does not learn about the account through mailings.
  • If you have a joint checking account, you can consider opening your own checking account and storing money there. Any adult has the right to open their own bank account, even if they are married or dependent on another person.
  • In abusive or controlling relationships, it is common for the abusive partner to get control of all of the money. Often, an abusive partner will not allow their partner to work outside of the home or talk to family and friends.
  • Even if you do not have any money, you can find the closest shelter by calling the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline for free at 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233). You do not have to pay money to stay at a domestic violence shelter. Many domestic violence shelters can help you pay for a ride to the shelter.

If I decide to end the relationship, it may not be safe for me to end the relationship in person or at home where I am more isolated. I can tell the abuser by phone, message, or in a public location.

  • Consider reasons to leave the home (grocery shopping, exercise, school, childcare pickup, etc.) to allow you time to seek services or plan an exit safely. If the other person may be tracking your location using your phone or vehicle, you can still go to these locations while calling support networks (remember to use a burner phone if you are concerned about the person checking your phone log or monthly phone report).
  • Also consider arranging for the safety of any children or pets beforehand and have copies of any essential documents.
    • Consider if you want to rehearse an escape plan with your children, and instructing them not to tell the unsafe person about the plan.
  • Consider sharing how and when you plan to end the relationship with a trusted person who will know to check on you afterward.
  • Ask a trusted person whether you could stay with them for a certain amount of time.
  • Plan what other forms of transportation you will use if you currently use the other person’s transportation.
  • Make a list of the items you will need to take with you when you leave, or if possible, start to gather them in a safe place. See “pack a bag” above for some ideas. Remember, everything is replaceable except your life, so leave material possessions if you need to protect yourself.
  • Consider precautions in how you plan to leave the relationship. Avoid leaving information about your support or plans in a place that you abuser may find them.
  • Consider to talking to other resources about safety planning to leave the relationship, such as EOS, CAPS, SMSS, Houston-area shelter providers or the National Hotline.
  • If the other person reacts badly to the end of the relationship, consider if you want to request additional measures such as:
    • A no contact order from the University (administrative only),
    • The police to inform them to cease-and-desist contacting you,
    • A protective order through a law enforcement agency or a court for harassment/threats,
    • To replace your accounts and communication devices so they do not have your contact information,
    • To change your campus housing, work schedule or other routines, and/or
    • To seek domestic violence shelter housing in a confidential location.

For alcohol and drugs in the home, I can consider safety planning for how to respond if my abuser is using drugs or alcohol as well as consider risk factors.

  • Drug and alcohol use can heighten emotions and exacerbate already dangerous situations. Inebriation can intensify unhealthy relationship dynamics and trigger rapid mood changes. Drug and alcohol use can also make it more difficult to leave dangerous situations due to impairment, especially if you or the person you plan to ride with are unable to drive.
  • Abusive partners may also use drugs and/or alcohol to increase your vulnerability to sexual assault, having unsafe sex, physical assault, or addiction.
  • Being abused is never your fault; however, being aware of the risk factors associated with drug and alcohol use can be used as part of your safety planning.

UH On-Campus Housing Safety Options

I can keep my door and windows locked and ask my roommates to do the same. In residences with suites, I can keep my bedroom door locked in case my suite mates have unexpected visitors. If my bedroom does not have a lock, I can request one through campus housing. The Title IX Coordinator (EOS) can help me expedite a request for safety reasons.

  • Contact campus housing immediately if any of your residence locks are not working properly.

I can change my locks, especially if the person has had access to my keys.  I can also check and fix any broken windows or doors. I can ask campus police/security to do a security check of my room.

  • At UH, campus housing staff can respond to requests to update locks or to relocate students to alternate housing for safety reasons.
  • The campus police or Equal Opportunity Services can help to expedite requests to have locks changed for safety reasons.

If I am worried about a particular person who is a threat, I can tell my RA about the situation ask them to warn me and call police/security if the person shows up at my housing. I can also tell campus police/security that the person should not visit me on campus.

  • Consider warning roommates of possible danger.
  • Remove any identifiers of your location (such as a placard with your name hanging on a public hallway door).
  • If the person is in the room with you, you may not feel safe to ask for help. Consider telling an RA or friend ahead of time to call police or security if that person comes to your residence.
  • If possible, consider providing campus police with a photo of the person or description any vehicles they may drive.
  • If the person has no reason to be on your floor or building, consider asking campus police for a criminal trespass warning or for the Title IX Coordinator to issue a stay away order.

I can ask what other living changes or precautions might be available, and Equal Opportunity Services can also help identify housing changes.

  • If you have a safety concern that involves your roommate (such as them leaving doors unlocked), you can request your RA facilitate a conversation to agree on precautions.
  • At UH, the Title IX Coordinator can discuss more case-specific safety planning and housing security options. The Coordinator can also help you send notices to campus housing or campus police/security or request services through those offices.

If I no longer feel safe in my residence, I can call campus police/security or talk to the Title IX Coordinator about my housing options.

  • Title IX Coordinators can help arrange for alternate campus housing based on safety concerns.

Off-Campus Housing Safety Options

I can ask law enforcement to do a security check or walk-through of my residence. Contact your local law enforcement office for more information.

I can seek legal consultation to find out the options about breaking my lease if I do not feel safe in my rental home or apartment. The Texas Advocacy Project provides free hotline services with legal advice for domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking by calling 800-374-HOPE (800-374-4673).

  • Other service agencies may also be able to help you learn about local or state laws that help victims of crime. They may also have more information about safe housing standards or your tenant rights.
  • Per Section 92.016 of the Texas Property Code, you may have the right to break your residential lease without penalty, and sometimes without notice, if you are a victim of family violence. Contact an agency such as the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral and Information Service at 800-252-9690 or The Texas Advocacy Project at 800-374-HOPE for more information about your legal rights.

I can change my locks, especially if the person has had access to my room or home. I can remove any “hidden” keys and replace the keys in case they were copied without my knowledge. 

  • You can consider installing solid core interior doors with dead bolts. If all keys cannot be accounted for or if someone else had access to the keys and could have copied them, change the locks.
  • You can also check and fix any broken windows or doors.
  • See Section 92.153 of the Texas Property Code for lock requirements on rental properties in Texas that must be provided at the Landlord's expense.

I can consider replacing wooden doors with steel or metal doors. I can also look at installing security systems and a motion-activated light system if possible.

  • Consider using a video surveillance system if you have reason to think the person has been to your home. Video evidence can be crucial to proving that someone has violated a Court's order or committed another type of crime.

I can tell my neighbors or apartment managers about the situation.

  • If possible, consider providing them with a photo of the person or description of any vehicles they may drive.
  • Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the uninvited person at your home.
  • Consider if you want to have a friend stay with you, or temporarily stay somewhere else while safety changes are in progress.

Technology Safety Plan

I never should be forced or pressured to share a password or location with anyone.

  • Sharing passwords is not a sign of trust; it is a sign of lack of trust and a risk factor for possible abuse.
  • Consider if someone had access to your personal devices and if so, check your sharing settings in case they changed your permissions without your knowledge.
  • The choice to block someone is a personal decision. Blocking can stop unwanted messages and improve your personal well-being, but you can also weigh how it will affect possible evidence, the other person’s reaction or any other reason for your safety.
  • Consider using voicemail or a phone service that requires callers to speak their name before connecting a call to help screen unwanted calls from unknown numbers.
  • Save voicemails, texts or call logs from unwanted numbers as evidence. Back up evidence to a secure cloud location (so even if you lose your device you will have access to it).

I can memorize emergency numbers, and make sure that 911 and trusted family or friends are on speed dial.

  • Be prepared in case the person you are concerned about breaks your phone, steals your phone or otherwise interferes with your ability to call for help. Interference with an emergency call in Texas is a crime, and you can file a police report for interference if you experience this type of incident.
  • If you may be in an abusive relationship, consider having a phone only you know about for emergencies or "burner phone" available or include it as part of your emergency supplies.

I can evaluate all of my electronic accounts and devices. I can consider if the account or device could have been compromised (password shared or easy to guess, signs of suspicious activity, left unlocked, etc.). I can review devices like phones, computers, email accounts, as well as apps or accounts that connect to online banking, online shopping, utility accounts, and anywhere my passwords or credit card information could be stored.

  • If the person you are concerned about had unlocked access to the device, the device is unsafe. While you can check to ensure that your web browser is not storing passwords and delete search history or browse in private mode, these steps may not be enough if you are dealing with a skilled stalker.
  • Consider if the person could have had access or seen unlocked accounts, watched you type in a password or could easily guess your password.
  • Never log into critical accounts from an unsafe device.
  • Check to see if your browsing history is storing passwords. Delete your search history and use private mode for your browser.
  • Consider these types of important accounts for updated passwords:
    • School, work and email accounts
    • Financial (banking, tax and credit card) accounts
    • Social media accounts

If my phone or account may have been compromised, I can consider changing phones or devices.

  • Always use safe devices when researching things such as travel plans, housing options, legal issues and safety plans. Consider borrowing a safe device from a friend if needed.
  • Cell phones can be a beacon, tracking your exact location in real time, so consider the risk of possible GPS tracking as well.

I can also preserve evidence before discarding an unsafe device.

  • Also consider whether you want to keep a record of unwanted calls or texts and preserve evidence of the full history before discarding old phones.
  • Consider possible applications to preserve evidence. For instance, a screen recorder, cloud storage and other recording applications may be useful. Always use safe, strong passwords for these services and do not link them to unsafe email accounts.

I can change all of my passwords if my accounts may have been compromised, and I can update my account-recovery numbers and emails to safe devices and accounts.

  • Consider using a device the person has never had access to when changing passwords (in case they installed spyware on your previous device).
  • Pick passwords that cannot be easily guessed.
  • Consider opening an email account the person does not know about on a safe device and use that account for safety planning and sensitive communications.
  • If you are worried the person will become suspicious and you feel you need to maintain appearances, consider if you want to keep unsafe accounts active with non-critical emails. However, you may want to balance risks such as identity theft or impersonation.

I could also consider having a professional service such as Geek Squad, located at Best Buy stores, examine my phone, computer, or other technology to see if they can detect spyware or malware.

  • While this tip may be helpful, it also depends on the skills & knowledge of the person who may have accessed the device. If the skills & knowledge of the person examining the device is lower than that person, the examiner may not be able to detect all possible stalking techniques, software or applications.

I can contact my phone service provider to find out what other options are available such as call blocking, call waiting and other options.

  • If you are receiving unwanted calls or messages, consider requesting caller ID and other privacy measures. Ask that your phone number be blocked so that if you call anyone, no one will be able to share your new, unlisted phone number.

I can consider getting a new phone number if blocking the unwanted caller is not sufficient.

  • Consider changing phone numbers if the person is contacting you from multiple numbers, or other options that you can use to block their calls and messages. There are also services that provide a new number with call-forwarding. Some services require the person to record their voice before you answer their call. This can help you screen unknown numbers.
  • Consider leaving an old number active and connected to an answering machine or voicemail. Consider asking someone you trust or law enforcement to screen the calls, and save any messages from the abuser or stalker. These messages and call records, particularly those that are explicitly abusive or threatening, can be critical evidence.
  • Tell anyone who receives your new number not to share it with anyone for any reason.

I can ask my workplace if it is possible to screen my calls.

  • If you are receiving unwanted calls at work, consider asking your supervisor if you can put the calls on speakerphone so that others can witness the calls, or have access to recorded calls to make a police report. You can also ask your workplace for a log of the call or record of the caller's information to report to police.
  • If your workplace will not provide you with the information directly, share date & time information for the calls with law enforcement so that they can access the related records.

If the person may have continuing access to my phone or account, I can ask to borrow a friend's phone or keep a secret phone in a safe place to make essential calls.

  • Remember that a person with access to your phone account may also look at your call and text history.
  • Consider purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone that you keep in a safe place to allow you to make calls or use in an emergency.

I can check my privacy settings regularly.

  • Sometimes privacy settings change and you may not realize what information has become public. Log out of the social media platform and test what you can find using a friend's account or a public search.
  • You may also consider rideshare apps, such as Uber, to see if the person is listed as a trusted contact or if the function to share your itinerary with them is active. This may also apply to housing apps such as AirBnB.
  • Check any automated technology at home that may indicate your location or affect your security systems to make sure only people you trust have access. For instant, consider changing the password on smart lights and thermostats, doorbell cameras and other security devices, vehicle GPS, and other software (Nest, Alexa, Echo, etc.).

I can remove important personal data from social media.

  • Consider only posting things you want the public to see or know. Be protective of your personal information. Your phone numbers and addresses enable people to contact you directly, and things like your birth date, the schools you attended, your employer and photos with landmarks may make it easier for someone to find where you live, hang out or go to school.
  • Consider avoiding posting GPS information online or "checking in" at businesses online. This type of information could be used to track your routines (for example, what park you exercise in, what coffee shop you have lunch at, etc.).

I have the right to keep my life private.

  • You have the right to set boundaries and limits. Consider telling other people not to post personal information or your locations on social media. Ask people not to post or tag pictures if you are not comfortable with it, or set up your account so you have to approve all tags.
  • You may also be able to disable read receipts on social media and other messaging.
  • You may also consider deleting or temporarily deactivating social media accounts or using an alias, when possible.

Warn people about possible spam calls or emails.

  • If you are concerned that the person will seek out information about you such as work location, schedule or other private details, consider warning your friends or coworkers. Let them know that no one should release your private information to anyone, even if they claim to be a spouse or family member.