Steps to Take if You Are Planning to Leave
- Tell a trusted friend or family member. Abuse thrives in silence and isolation. Telling someone about your situation may be difficult, but taking positive action to end the abuse is easier with support.
- Develop a Safety Plan. Preparation includes planning where to go, what to do and being aware of your surroundings in case of a violent incident.
- File for a Protective Order. Although the protection offered by a protective order has limits, breaking any part of this order can mean jail time for the abuser. Serious consequences for the abuser can result in greater safety for you.
- Seek Counseling. Counseling can help you raise your sense of self-worth, empower you to make healthy choices about your life, and realize that you are not to blame for what happened.
- Seek Shelter. If you are in fear for your physical safety, go to the home of a friend, relative, neighbor, or to a shelter for victims of intimate partner abuse.
- Open a bank account in your own name.
- Give an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra clothes and some money to a trusted friend or neighbor in case you have to leave quickly.
- Think about who your best resources are if you need to find shelter or money.
- Have change on hand to make emergency calls.
Remember that your safety and that of your children should always come first!
If you leave the relationship or are thinking of leaving, you should take important papers and documents with you to enable you to apply for benefits or take legal action.