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Safety Plan: Preparing to Leave a Violent Relationship

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Topic Overview

A violent relationship puts you and your children at risk for injury and even death. Making a plan will help provide for your safety and your children's safety. Know that leaving an abusive relationship can be the most dangerous time for you.

Contact a local advocacy group for support, information, and advice on how to stay safe. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233), or see the website at www.ndvh.org for the nearest advocacy program. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English, Spanish, and other languages.

Also, see the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's website at www.ncadv.org/resources/state.htm to find the program nearest to you that offers shelter and legal support.

Steps to take when preparing to leave

  • Be aware that cell phones can contain GPS tracking devices. If possible, plan to get a new phone and new service plan when you leave. Don't take your original phone with you when you leave.
  • Try to set aside money, even in small amounts. Start your own savings or checking account. Use the address of a trusted friend or family member when setting up the account.
  • Make a list of people you can call in an emergency and places you can go. Memorize important numbers. Teach your children how to call for help in an emergency.
  • Have a packed bag ready with items to take when you leave. Keep it hidden in your home, or leave the bag with friends or family or at work if possible.
  • If you don't have a cell phone, keep change with you at all times for phone calls. Remember that any long-distance calls or calls you have made on a telephone card before you leave can show up on statements and point your abuser in your direction.
  • At work, tell your supervisor and the human resources manager about your situation. Discuss scheduling options and other safety precautions to provide for your well-being. Give a recent photo of the abuser to your human resources manager, and if possible, ask to prohibit the abuser's access to your workplace.

You can ask a police officer to be present at your home when you leave or when you need to collect clothing or property from your home.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 13, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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