Together, We Build Safe Spaces.  
A guide for Operation Safe Escape Partners and allies 

A successful contested escape (that is, an escape where there is an adversary- most often the abuser- that will try to stop it) depends on multiple organizations and resources that are more effective when their efforts are synchronized, or at the very least known to the survivor. This guide describes the different components necessary to help a survivor escape and abusive situation, and describes the ways different entities fit together in a holistic and mutually supportive way.  

Survivors of domestic violence and related crimes face a variety of challenges when planning and effecting their escape. These include safety and security challenges, housing concerns, social services, legal services, and many more. Together, we must prepare for these challenges in order to effectively and ethically guide a survivor through the process. This guide describes the interconnections and joint efforts between Operation Safe Escape and its allies, and to inform the strategies and tactics shared by disparate organizations.  

Additionally, this page discusses the “full scope” of a survivor’s experience from planning to recovery. Not all survivors will need every service outlined in this doctrinal approach. Similarly, there are edge cases that may not align to the most common scenarios an organization is likely to encounter.  

By identifying and cataloging common survivor needs, we can better ensure they are met in a unified and holistic way. While not every client will have the same set of needs based on their circumstances, it is critical to consider each independently to ensure those needs are met. These components are:   

  • Safety and security 
  • Secure communications 
  • Operations Security and OSINT 
  • Escape safety planning 
  • Logistics, to include moving and delivery 
  • Social services, to include food assistance and housing 
  • Mental health services 
  • Addiction recovery 
  • Lethality assessment 
  • Medical care  
  • Emergency temporary housing 
  • Public safety, such as law enforcement 
  • Legal support and guidance 
  • Financial assistance and guidance 
  • Custody / family court support 
  • Victim compensation programs 
  • Screening for human trafficking 
  • Pet care and assistance 

Operation Safe Escape provides the following services to clients and partners necessary to support a client’s escape and recovery:  

  • Safety and security 
  • Secure communications 
  • Operations Security and OSINT 
  • Escape safety planning 

Wherever possible, all other services are coordinated with or referred to vetted partners and allies. All other services are referred to the appropriate local, state, or national resource as appropriate.  

Operation Safe Escape provides these services to survivors, their personal support systems, and our allies and partners. 

Operation Safe Escape generally, although not exclusively, partners with the following categories of service providers or adjacent partners.  



Examples (not exhaustive) 

Provides (not exhaustive) 

Victim Service Providers / Survivor Service Providers 

Organizations, often nonprofits or government-affiliated programs, provide or administers services to survivors. May also provide awareness or advocacy.  Services may be national, international, or local 

  • Operation Safe Escape 
  • Non-government shelters and safe houses 
  • Social Change activists  
  • Educators and trainers 
  • Support and assistance organizations 

Various specialized or general services 

System-based Programs 

State, Federal, and Tribal services  

  • Office for Victims of Crime 
  • Bureau of Justice Assistance 
  • Office on Violence Against Woman 
  • Justice and Law Enforcement Services 
  • Departments of Social Services 
  • Tribal agencies 

Access to government-provided services, such as housing, social services, nutrition support, and access to the legal system 

Faith-based Programs 

Programs that provide services primarily to a particular place of worship or religious group, or those providing (religious or secular) services with a religious base 

  • Salvation Army 
  • Catholic Charities 
  • Islamic Centers 
  • Local religious centers and food banks 


  • Food 
  • Clothing 
  • Emergency funds 
  • Supplies 
  • Religious counseling and therapy 

Military Programs 

Programs, generally within the military system, exclusively providing services to military servicemembers and civilian employees. In many cases, these programs also provide services to military spouses and families 

  • Military OneSource 
  • DoD Family Advocacy Programs  
  • Local installation programs 
  • Access to the military justice system 
  • Victim Advocates 
  • Legal assistance 
  • Emergency housing 

Campus Resources 

Services and programs intended to provide assistance to students of a particular institution 

  • Campus advocacy groups 
  • Title IX coordinator 
  • Campus medical and mental health services 
  • Legal services 
  • Medical and mental health services 
  • Temporary housing 

Non-advocacy partners 

Companies, subject matter experts, and other nonprofit organizations, other than those above, that provide complimentary services, products, or tools.  

  • Tech-based organizations 
  • Job placement 
  • Moving and logistics organizations 
  • Design and creative services 
  • Training and awareness 

And more. There are countless opportunities for non-advocacy organizations to support survivors 

  • Tools 
  • resources  
  • Information 
  • Logistics support 



While Operation Safe Escape provides a critical service for our clients, survivors often require additional support outside our core services and capabilities. The existence of social services, other advocacy organizations, and other potential allies mean that survivors are able to receive the help they need if resources are properly aligned.  

Collaboration with other entities, organizations, or agencies prevents clients from falling through the cracks as no single organization can possibly provide all services that a survivor may need in order to recover in all necessary ways. Collaboration helps us accomplish more than we can do on our own, prevent duplication of effort, elevate all organizations in terms of visibility, and critically create a more systematic approach to providing services.  

Effective collaboration requires:  

  • Appropriate information-sharing and collaboration among different, generally independent, entities 
  • Knowledge of cooperating services and resources 
  • Effective and secure referral mechanisms 
  • Continuous planning and capacity-building 
  • Appropriate technology implementation to support secure handoff outside of intra-organizational communication channels 

Effective collaboration requires invested stakeholders with a mutual interest in collaboration and a shared overall vision. Further, collaborations require an effective mechanism for enabling communication and collaboration, with a particular focus on both client and member safety. To facilitate this, the agreement must be documented and agreed upon by all parties.  

When considering a collaboration or partnership, the following questions must be considered:  

  • What does the organization do? What are their strengths and limitations?  
  • What are the goals in the collaboration?  
  • What do we need? What can we offer that they may need?  
  • How will we securely share information?  
  • What method of secure handoff will we use?  
  • Do they practice trauma-informed and survivor-centric care? 
  • Do they discriminate based on any protected class? 

Many organizations employ a form of cross-functional and integrated teams in order to provide services outside their initial focus area. Creating these teams, which may vary in name and function depending on the location, are intended to improve interdisciplinary relationships and enable combined decision-making actions, while improving client outcomes and reducing risk to life and safety. 

Multidisciplinary teams (MDT): MDT is a general term used to refer to circumstances where professionals from different agencies and disciplines coordinate efforts to provide services to a single client. While the structure of an MDT may change depending on the area, these teams often include medical teams, victim advocates, counselors, legal advocates, and more.  

Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART): SARTs are a form of multidisciplinary team that focuses primarily on sexual assault. In some areas, several roles are required by law such as a forensic nurse examiner, a medical care provider, a rape crisis advocate, a law enforcement officer, a representative from the local States Attorney’s Office, and a representative of the state sexual assault prevention coalition. Other members may be added as needed, which may include Title IX coordinators, military representatives, social service staffs and more. SARTs are sometimes also referred to as sexual assault response and resource teams (SARRT).  

Domestic Violence High Risk Teams (DVHRT): The DVHRT is a homicide prevention model designed to identify high-risk scenarios and quickly intercede. DVHRTs are designed to address gaps in other existing service and protection systems by identifying likely lethal and near-lethal scenarios, engage appropriate MDTs, monitor and manage referred cases, and provide individualized services to survivors.  

To put it more plainly, the question is how we can work together to help survivors escape, recover, and thrive.