Once You Have Left

Once You Have Left: More Steps to Safety

Keeping yourself safe from your abuser is just as important after you’ve left as before. To protect yourself, you may need to relocate so your former partner can’t find you. If you have children, they may need to switch schools.

To keep your new location a secret:

  • Get an unlisted phone number.
  • Use a post office box rather than your home address.
  • Apply to your state’s address confidentiality program, a service that confidentially forwards your mail to your home.
  • Cancel your old bank accounts and credit cards, especially if you shared them with your abuser. When you open new accounts, be sure to use a different bank.

If you’re remaining in the same area, change up your routine. Take a new route to work, avoid places where your abuser might think to locate you, change any appointments your former partner knows about, and find new places to shop and run errands. You should also keep a cell phone on you at all times and be ready to call 911 if you spot your former abuser.

Other Suggestions

  • Keep your Order of Protection with you at all times.
  • Give photocopies of your Order of Protection to your children's school, your employer, your neighbors, and your local police department.
  • Change locks, if the batterer has a key.
  • Avoid staying alone.
  • Discuss safety plans with your children.
  • Inform children's school about who has permission to pick up your children.
  • Ask neighbors to call the police if they see your abuser nearby. Show your neighbors a photo of the abuser and tell them about your Order of Protection.
  • Screen your telephone calls at home and at work.
  • Have someone escort you to your car or walk with other people if possible.
  • If you have to meet or communicate with your partner, do it in a public place or have a third party make contact and relay messages. Keep in mind that with an Order of Protection in place, no communication or interaction should occur.
  • Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.
  • Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
  • Talk with people who can provide you with support on domestic violence issues.

(Source:  A Safe Place for Help)