Safety Plan: Preparing to Leave a Violent Relationship
If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number.
Be careful online too. Your online activity may be seen by others. Do not use your personal computer or device to read about this topic. Use a safe computer such as one at work, a friend's house, or a library.
A violent relationship puts you and your children at risk for injury and even death. Making a plan will help provide for your safety and your children's safety. Know that leaving an abusive relationship can be the most dangerous time for you.
Contact a local advocacy group for support, information, and advice on how to stay safe. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233), or see the website at www.ndvh.org for the nearest advocacy program. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English, Spanish, and other languages.
Also, see the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's website at www.ncadv.org/resources/state.htm to find the program nearest to you that offers shelter and legal support.
Steps to take when preparing to leave
Be aware that cell phones can contain GPS tracking devices. If possible, plan to get a new phone and new service plan when you leave. Don't take your original phone with you when you leave.
Try to set aside money, even in small amounts. Start your own savings or checking account. Use the address of a trusted friend or family member when setting up the account.
Make a list of people you can call in an emergency and places you can go. Memorize important numbers. Teach your children how to call for help in an emergency.
Have a packed bag ready with items to take when you leave. Keep it hidden in your home, or leave the bag with friends or family or at work if possible.
If you don't have a cell phone, keep change with you at all times for phone calls. Remember that any long-distance calls or calls you have made on a telephone card before you leave can show up on statements and point your abuser in your direction.
At work, tell your supervisor and the human resources manager about your situation. Discuss scheduling options and other safety precautions to provide for your well-being. Give a recent photo of the abuser to your human resources manager, and if possible, ask to prohibit the abuser's access to your workplace. Tell human resources if there is a current restraining order in place.
You can ask a police officer to be present at your home when you leave or when you need to collect clothing or property from your home.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineChristine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral HealthSpecialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine