An escape plan
Some women decide they must leave the abusive relationship. It is important to be aware that women who try to leave a violent relationship are among those most at risk of being further abused or killed by a batterer.
Plan your departure carefully to ensure your safety. Take action to prevent harm to yourself and your children. Even if you cannot take the things you have gathered, you should leave if you can do so safely. Your safety comes first.
If you decide to leave, follow these guidelines:
- Pack suitcases for yourself and your children. Put them where you can get them easily and your abuser will not find them.
- Collect – and have ready to take with you – important papers, documents or personal items: Birth certificates, marriage license, checking and savings accounts, driver’s license, car title, social security numbers, credit cards, rent and utility receipts, school and health records, medications, insurance policies and phone numbers.
- Begin a secret emergency fund. Open a bank account or establish credit in your name only.
- Obtain extra keys for your house, car, safety deposit box, storage facility, etc.
- Decide whom you will ask for help. Choose those who believe you and believe in you, and tell them about your situation.
- Select a safe place you can go: A shelter, home of a family member or friend, police station, motel, etc.
- Plan how you will get to safety: By car, neighbor, police, shelter volunteer, cab.
- Call the police if violence erupts. Develop a plan in case you cannot call: Teach your children to call or go to a neighbor’s house, establish a code to use with family or friends, and notify neighbors to be on alert for sounds that might indicate violence taking place in your home and to call police if they hear anything suspicious.
- If you are injured by your batterer, get medical attention immediately. Be honest with your physician about what happened; medical proof may be important to have later.
Note: This is general information. Your situation may require that other actions be taken specific to your needs.
Source: National Center for Victims of Crime
Page last updated on Oct. 10, 2008