Safety Precautions to Take When Leaving an Abusive Relationship
If you find yourself involved in an abusive relationship, it is critical that you establish a safe location and leave as soon as possible. Leaving an abusive relationship can be a very dangerous time and safety precautions should be followed to make sure you and your children are safe.
Plan in Advance if Possible
It is important to plan your exit in advance if possible. Establish a safe location where you can take yourself and your children. This could be a domestic violence shelter, a family member or friend’s home, or a new apartment. Start putting money aside and gather any evidence of abuse. Pack a bag with important documents, clothes, and keepsakes. Plan to leave when your abuser least expects it so you can steer clear of a potentially volatile situation and avoid the risk of them showing up.
What Steps Should Be Taken if Prior Planning is Not An Option?
In some situations, planning in advance may not be a feasible course of action. If you feel that there is a chance something unavoidable will occur in the near future, it is important to devise a plan of exiting the home safely. Inform neighbors of the abuse and ask them to call the police if they hear anything unusual happen. Come up with a code word to share with friends or family to let them know if the police need to be called in case of an emergency. This is important because abusers can become enraged and increasingly more violent in the intermittent time period before the police arrive.
Apply for a Restraining Order
Once you have left, it is important to continue practicing proper safety techniques. Apply for a restraining order to protect yourself and your children. This will inform the abuser to not come near your place of work, your household, or any other locations you frequent. At the very least, become a part of the address confidentiality program to make sure your address is protected and cannot be found by the abuser.
It is also critical to remove yourself from any cell phone plans or other ties you may have with an abusive ex. The abuser could use a shared cell phone plan to determine your location. Inform the people around you about the abuse and make sure your workplace is aware of the restraining order. Providing a photo can help others identify an abuser who is hanging around places you frequent.
Seek emotional help through a therapist or domestic violence specialty support group. This will help ensure that you do not find yourself in a similar position in the future.