How To Leave an Abusive Relationship
Getting Ready to Leave:
- Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures, etc.
- Know where you can go to get help; tell someone what is happening to you.
- If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
- Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them (for example, a room with a lock or a friend’s house where they can go for help). Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
- Contact your local battered women’s shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis.
- Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made if possible.
- Acquire job skills as you can, such as learning to type or taking courses at a community college.
- Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.
General Guidelines for Leaving an Abusive Relationship:
- Make a plan for how and where you will escape
- Hide an extra set of car keys
- If you need to sneak away, be prepared
- You may request a police stand-by or escort while you leave
- Pack an extra set of clothes for yourself and your children and store them at a trusted friend or neighbor’s house. Try to avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members and mutual friends
- Take with you important phone numbers of friends, relatives, doctors, schools, etc., as well as other important items, including:
- Driver’s license
- Regularly needed medication
- List of credit cards held by self or jointly or the credit cards themselves if you have access to them
- Pay stubs checkbooks, information about bank accounts and other assets
If time is available, also take:
- Citizenship documents (such as your passport, greencard, etc.)
- Titles, deeds, and other property information
- Medical records
- Children’s school and immunization records
- Insurance information
- Copy of marriage license, birth certificates, will, and other legal documents
- Verification of social security numbers
- Valued pictures, jewelry, or personal possessions
After Leaving the Abusive Relationship:
- Change locks and phone number
- Change work hours and route taken to work.
- Change route taken to transport children to school
- If you have a Temporary Protective Order, keep a copy with you at all times
- Inform friends, neighbors and employers if you have a Protective Order in effect
- Give copies of Protective Order to employers, neighbors, and schools along with a picture of the offender
- Call 911 if abuser violates the Protective Order
- Consider renting a post office box or using the address of a friend for your mail
- Replace wooden doors with steel or metal doors
- Install security systems if possible
- Install a lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to the house (motion sensitive lights)
- Call the telephone company to request caller ID, ask that your phone be blocked so that if you call, neither your partner nor anyone else will be able to get your new, unlisted phone number