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Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Devise A Safety Plan

To help ensure your safety, and the safety of your children, it is critical that you develop a comprehensive plan prior to leaving an abusive situation. It is similarly crucial to have a plan to increase your safety, and that of your children, for after you leave the abusive situation. The following are steps to consider on both occasions.

Create an Escape Kit

It may be impossible for you to return to your home when you leave, so take these items with you.
Daily necessities such as medication, cash, clothing, diapers etc.
Important documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, passports.
Valuables, jewelry or photos.

Before You Leave

Make arrangements that, in the event of an emergency, you and your children can stay with someone you trust. Preferably someone that your partner doesn’t know.
Ask neighbors to call 911 if they hear suspicious noises coming from your home.
Know important telephone numbers (police, friends, hotline, shelter). If you sense a violent episode is imminent, and it is safe to do so, disable or hide weapons.
Teach your children to dial 911 in the event of an emergency.
Practice getting yourself, and your children, out of your home safely. Advise your employer/coworkers to never speak with your abuser without first checking with you, and to never give information about you to anyone.
Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, neighbors, your children’s school officials, your employer, etc. when you need the police.
Open a savings account, in your name only, at a bank different from where your abuser’s account(s) is.

After You Leave

Get a restraining order against your abuser and inform family and friends that you have one.
Inform family, friends, neighbors that you have a restraining order in effect.
Keep a copy of your restraining order with you at all times and another copy somewhere in your home.
Give a copy to the local police, your employer and officials at your children’s school.
Avoid stores, banks, restaurants, theaters, etc. you used to frequent when you were with your partner.
If your abuser violates the restraining order, call the police.
Have a backup plan in the event the police does not respond quickly!
Change your locks and secure your residence.

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