What to Consider When Leaving Your Abuser

Escaping an abusive relationship or marriage is a very challenging decision. For those who have made the decision to escape for their safety and the safety of their children, please find below some tips you may find helpful.

Some Tips

1. Get help from a domestic abuse expert. Talk with a professional who can help you develop a safety plan, and make sure they're a domestic violence advocate or mental health professional trained to work with clients affected by domestic violence. 

2. Make the right safety plan for you. Discuss your safety plan for leaving an abusive relationship with your domestic abuse expert! A safety plan is very unique to each person's situation because there are so many dynamics of the abuse. See below for your Safety Plan Worksheet.

3. Talk about all possible safety risks. Sometimes leaving can escalate into violence, so it's important to think through all the possible safety risks. Where are you most vulnerable? At home, work, a shelter, a friend's house? What can you do to best deal with those vulnerabilities?

4. Get professional help in applying for a Restraining Order/Personal Protection Order. 

Have a professional walk you through the process of getting a protection order. The above article gives you step-by-step instructions on applying for a restraining order.

5. Do as much advance planning as possible. Take proactive precautions ahead of time! If you know you're in danger, even if you're not sure you want to leave, be careful! This could include setting up a code word with your friends/neighbor or asking them to call the police if they hear screaming coming from your home. 

6. Put together an emergency suitcase or bag so you'll have the necessary supplies if you need to make a quick escape. This bag could have clothing, cash, copies of important documents, and prescriptions. Store the suitcase/bag somewhere safe, such as at a friend's house or in the trunk of your car, if you think it's safe from your abuser.

7. "What's the safest way you can get out?" You should know the answer to the following questions, "What is the best thing I can do for my safety and for my kids' safety?  There's nothing more important than your and your kids' safety.

Source: The Hotline, https://www.thehotline.org/create-a-safety-plan/

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Safety When Preparing to Leave

  • Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.

  • Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, and extra clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.

  • Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.

  • Keep the shelter phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.

Source: The Hotline, https://www.thehotline.org/create-a-safety-plan/