FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS)– A safety plan is a resource for domestic violence victims to escape their abuser. How can victims start their plan?

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and an advocate is giving resources and tips to stay safe. Belinda Hopkins, Domestic Violence Victim Advocate for the Women’s Resource Center (newly known as AWAY), said that domestic violence victims are women and men.

“Domestic violence can occur anywhere. It can happen with friends, dating violence. It’s not just married couples,” Hopkins said.

According to Hopkins, no safety plan is the same, and each safety plan can be tailored to that specific victim. Victims can include personal documents, identification, a safe place to escape to, and a trusted individual to assist.

Hopkins also addressed the “Why didn’t you just leave?” question.

“That person knows how deep and what danger they’re in. We want them to be safe, we want to get them to safety, but we also need to help them take safety measures to get to safety,” Hopkins said.

Some signs that people can spot with victims are ones that are constantly checking the time, bruising on their body, and walking close to their abuser with their head down.

For any help with developing a safety plan, victims can contact an advocate at the Women’s Resource Center or AWAY by calling their 24-Hour Hotline at 304-255-2559.