Safety Planning – How to Leave

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Remember that leaving a violent relationship can be dangerous and take precautions to keep yourself safe.  It is better to leave something behind than risk your safety or that of your children.  If you are trying to leave and your partner becomes angry, call 9-1-1 for your safety.

If you are preparing to leave your partner as a result of domestic violence, below you will find some tips and a checklist on what you need to take with you. You know your own situation best – it may not be safe to gather every item.

Document the abuse.

  • Keep a journal (make sure it’s hidden)

  • Take photos of injuries to yourself and damage to property

  • Get medical attention & make copies of medical records

  • Show injuries to family & friends

  • Make copies of bills for doctors visits and damage to property

Prepare a safe room in your house.

  • Choose a room with a window

  • Install inside locks or plan barricades

  • Have a telephone in that room; borrow or buy a cell phone to keep with you

  • Arrange a signal for help with a neighbor

  • Remove weapons

Find a safe place to stay and know how you will get there.

  • Arrange to stay with friends or family

  • Call a local shelter, like WEAVE and complete the intake process in advance

  • Keep gas in your car

Gather identification and important papers for you and your children.

  • Driver’s license

  • Social security cards

  • Birth certificates

  • Immigration papers

  • Rent receipts or mortgage papers

  • Prescriptions

  • Receipts for property paid for

  • Car title and registration

  • Tax records

  • Bank statements

  • Address book

  • Social service papers

  • Utility receipts

Gather important keys and start saving money.

  • Open your own bank account

  • Save your pay stubs

  • Copies of all keys: car, house, post office box, safe deposit box, etc.

Pack a suitcase for you and your children. Hide it somewhere that you can get to it quickly.

  • Clothes: shoes, socks, underwear, toiletries, etc.

  • Treasured possessions (i.e. pictures, keepsakes, etc.)

When You Leave

Try to leave while your abuser is away from home, or ask the police to help you. If you take your children with you, it is important to contact an attorney about custody rights as soon as possible. If you fear your children are in danger, contact children protective services or the police as soon as possible.