Safety Plan: Preparing to Leave a Violent Relationship
A Reference violent relationship Opens New Window 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 Reference 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.
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.