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a solution to domestic violence.

In all cases, a safety plan should be the victim's plan, not the provider's plan. The provider's role is to help identify options that the victim may or may not have previously considered, to help the victim weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of those options, and to marshal all possible resources to assist the victim in implementing the plan that she chooses.

All providers should be prepared to assist a victim in assessing the potential that her partner will physically harm her, particularly during times of separation or when the victim has taken an active step to leave or involve the legal system or other helpers. It is at these times that abusers often escalate their violence. Providers should assist victims in developing short-term safety plans or escape plans in these instances, plans that answer questions such as: What, if anything, can she do to minimize the  possibility that her partner will harm her? What can she do if her partner threatens to assault her or does assault her? Who can she call? Does she have a safe place to go? What important papers will she need? Where can she keep some extra money?

In addition to planning for crisis situations, many victims, whether they are considering leaving their partners or not, can attempt to escape or avoid their partner's attacks by developing a comprehensive and detailed safety plan. These plans often incorporate step-by-step goals that a victim accomplishes over an extended period of time to explore alternate options that can increase her range of free choice and action, strengthen her economic independence, build her support network, and improve her emotional and physical health. It is these more extensive, complex, and detailed plans that are best facilitated by a provider with advanced training and field experience, such as a domestic violence service provider or victim-witness advocate.

e.Domestic violence service providers should be used as the primary referral resource for addressing the safety-related concerns of victims of domestic violence.

Domestic violence service providers are likely to be the most knowledgeable and experienced service providers in

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