When you decide to leave an abusive partner, you must prioritize your safety. The end of the relationship creates conflict that can escalate the abuse.
Taking steps to shield yourself from harm when escaping domestic violence can protect your physical and emotional well-being.
Create a safety plan
Before leaving an abusive partner, develop a plan to stay safe. It should cover where you can go and who you can contact for support. Careful preparation minimizes your possible risks in this hazardous situation.
Reach out for help
Seek support from friends, family or local organizations that assist individuals leaving abusive relationships. Inform someone you trust about your plans and let them know where you will be. Your support network can provide emotional and practical assistance during this challenging time.
Secure important documents
Gather identification, passports, birth certificates and financial records. Keep these documents in a safe and accessible place, ensuring that you can take them with you when you leave. Having these documents on hand allows you to establish independence.
Pack an emergency bag
Prepare a bag with essential items like clothing, toiletries, medications and necessary documents. Keep it in a discreet but easily accessible location to ensure a quick departure if needed.
Change your routine
Alter your daily routine to minimize predictability. Changing the times you leave or return home can make it more challenging for an abusive partner to anticipate your movements. This can contribute to your safety as you plan and execute your departure.
Use technology safely
Be cautious when using electronic devices, as abusive partners may monitor online activities. Avoid using shared devices for planning or communication. Consider using private browsing modes, password protection and secure communication methods to maintain confidentiality.
Alert authorities if necessary
If you believe you are in immediate danger, contact local law enforcement. Share information about your situation and request assistance. Law enforcement agencies handle domestic violence situations and can provide guidance on protective measures.
Upon leaving, consider changing the locks on your new residence to enhance security. You may also want to consider installing security cameras or alarms for further protection.
If you can safely do so, document evidence of abuse, including photographs of injuries or damaged property. Keep a record of threatening messages or incidents. These records may be useful for legal purposes in the future.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 75% of women and 48% of men who experience domestic violence had a serious injury caused by their partner. By knowing what to do, you can increase your chances of a successful and secure departure from an abusive relationship.