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Are you planning to Leave?

Because abuse is about power and control, the most dangerous time for a victim is when they leave and the abuser tries to regain control. If you think you might leave, here are some ideas to keep in mind when safety planning:

  • Prepare a packed bag/emergency kit.
    • It should include items that won’t be missed but that can help you if you decide to leave suddenly:
      • money, ATM cards, credit cards, and checkbook;
      • spare sets of car and house keys;
      • protection orders and/or custody orders;
      • prescriptions and/or medicines for you and your children;
      • your driver’s license or photo ID;
      • you and your children’s social security cards and other identification;
      • birth certificates, health insurance cards, and school and immunization records
      • current unpaid bills
      • insurance papers
      • marriage license or divorce papers
      • titles to vehicles, property, mortgage papers, deeds, and bank statements
      • spare and comfortable items for you and your children;
      • items of sentimental value including special photos that are important to you

Put the kit where you can get to it quickly, yet where it won’t be easily found by your partner.

You don’t have to make your safety plan alone. Hope Center Advocates are available to help you.

  • Make an extra set of keys to the car and house and keep them hidden.
  • Plan the safest time to get away.
  • Leave when your partner is at work or away from home.
  • Tell someone you can trust.
  • Having someone else that you can trust know what is going on can serve as a resource or as an alert for you.
  • Plan the safest way to get out.
  • Identify dangerous locations in the house, and plan for a quick exit so that you don’t get trapped in those locations where you have no way out to safety.
  • Plan with your children.
  • Identify a safe place (room with a lock, a neighbor’s house) or the safest way to get out of the house and out of harm’s way. Let them know that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you. Practice with your children for an emergency.
  • Plan access to a phone.
  • Be sure to plan how you can easily and safely get to a phone to call for help. Is a phone located in a room with a door that locks, so you can stay away from your partner while you call for help? If not, consider making up a code word or signal that you can share with your family, close friend, or trusted neighbor so that they know they should call the police or get help for you. Have a cell phone that your partner does not know about so that he cannot access your records of calls and texts or use it to locate you. Hope Center has used cell phones that have been donated and re-programmed so that you can call 911 in an emergency.
  • Don’t tell your partner your plans!
  • Sometimes making a plan can make you feel empowered, but your safety may depend on NOT letting your partner know that you are intending to leave.