Resource Library

Getting Ready to Leave

  • Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures, etc.
  • Know where you can go to get help; tell someone what is happening to you.
  • If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
  • Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them (for example, a room with a lock or a friend’s house where they can go for help). Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
  • Contact your local battered women’s shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis.
  • If possible, keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made.
  • Acquire job skills as you can, such as learning to type or taking courses at a community college.
  • Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.

General Guidelines for Leaving an Abusive Relationship

  • You may request a police stand-by or escort while you leave;
  • If you need to sneak away, be prepared;
  • Make a plan for how and where you will escape;
  • Plan for a quick escape;
  • Put aside emergency money as you can;
  • Hide an extra set of car keys;
  • Pack an extra set of clothes for yourself and your children and store them at a trusted friend or neighbor’s house. Try to avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members and mutual friends;
  • Take with you important phone numbers of friends, relatives, doctors, schools, etc., as well as other important items for yourself and the children, including:
    • Driver’s license;
    • Regularly needed medication;
    • List of credit cards held by self or jointly, or the credit cards themselves if you have access to them;
    • Pay stubs; and checkbooks, and information about bank accounts and other assets.
  • If time is available, also take:
    • Citizenship documents (such as your passport, green card, etc.);
    • Titles, deeds, and other property information;
    • Medical records;
    • Children’s school and immunization records;
    • Insurance information;
    • Copy of marriage license, birth certificates, will, and other legal documents;
    • Verification of social security numbers;
    • Welfare identification; and
    • Valued pictures, jewelry, or personal possessions.
  • Create a false trail. Call motels, real estate agencies, and schools in a town at least six hours away from where you plan to relocate. Ask questions that require a call back to your house in order to leave phone numbers on record.
    Created by K.Siu, 2005.


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