Assessing Your Current Safety Level
Before you move on to the next section of this website – Creating Your Plan for SAFETY FIRST! – We suggest that you take some time with the following two self-assessment scales: the Safety Checklist and the Suicide/Harmful Behaviour Checklist. These will help you determine your current level of safety. After each checklist and the scoring information, there are some recommendations which are designed to help you determine whether you are ready to progress with a recovery program.
Answer yes or no to the following questions:
1. Do you have impulses to harm yourself?
2. Do you find yourself in unsafe situations?
3. Do you easily feel overwhelmed by feelings, thoughts, memories or bodily sensations?
4. Do you currently feel threatened by someone close to you?
5. Have you ever attempted suicide?
6. Have you ever “lost time” or lost sense of being yourself?
7. Do you use alcohol or drugs to excess?
8. Is there a firearm or other potentially dangerous weapon at your residence?
9. Have you been victimized by someone within the last three years?
10. Is someone close to you involved in illegal activities?
SCORING: If you checked “YES” to more than three questions, your current risk level is HIGH.
Let this checklist tell you what you must do to lower your risk level and create more safety in your life. Some of the situations, such as that posed in question eight, concerning firearms or dangerous weapons, can be resolved easily: remove the firearm or weapon from your residence. With other situations, such as past victimization (question nine), there is little you can do except to make every effort to prevent a recurrence. In most of the other questions, the issues are somewhat complicated but not unsolvable. You can (and should) seek professional help if you lose sense of time or of yourself or have impulses to harm yourself. If you are being threatened or abused by someone close to you, you need to take steps to protect yourself and to make the threats or abuse stop – even if this means ending the relationship. If you are unsure as to how to address any of these questions, then you may need help to figure out how to create SAFETY FIRST!
Suicide/Harmful Behaviour Checklist
Answer Yes or No to the following questions:
1. Do you feel chronically depressed?
2. Do you have recurring thoughts of killing yourself?
3. Do you have a specific plan to kill yourself?
4. Have you acquired the means to kill yourself, such as a supply of pills or a gun?
5. Do you intend to carry out this plan to kill yourself within a specified time frame?
6. Do you have thoughts of actually killing or harming others?
7. If yes, have you made specific plans or arrangements for this to occur?
SCORING: If you answered “YES” to ANY of the above questions, your suicide/harmful behaviour risk level is HIGH.
Get professional help IMMEDIATELY. If you do not have access to names of private therapists, you should call your county mental health services. Visit our Suicide Section for contact numbers. You need to first lower your suicide/harmful behaviour risk before attempting to initiate or continue recovery from your child abuse. The two are probably connected, but it is very important that you concentrate first on stabilizing yourself before delving deeper into your abuse issues. Discuss your answers to these questions with your therapist, so that he or she can make your personal safety and the safety of others the primary focus in your therapy until you have stabilized yourself and feel you are ready to commence or continue recovery efforts.
You should know that your therapist has certain legal and ethical obligations to warn potential victims and, in some cases, to notify the police if s/he reasonably believes that you are suicidal or homicidal, or likely to harm another person. Although this may mean breaking the confidential relationship between the two of you, your therapist is mandated by law to do this and cannot be sanctioned for doing so.