Planning to leave
If you decide that you are ready to leave your home to escape the violence or abuse you are suffering, try to make a plan to ensure you take all you need with you.
In some situations this isn't an option, you may leave your house to escape a violent incident and not have the opportunity to take anything with you.
The important thing is that you are out of danger, but if you can plan to leave it may make things a little easier for you.
- Take all your important documents - passport, driving license, National Insurance details, bank statements, birth certificate etc. If you have children, make sure you have copies of their documentation. If you are unable to take the original documents with you, take photocopies, or write down the important information on each form.
- Re-route you mail and phone calls. Direct them to your intended address - Women's Refuges will have a post office box number, or ask a family member if they will receive mail at their address for you.
- If you have no financial independence open your own bank account. You do not need your partners permission, or attendance to open an account in your name, but you will probably need some money - sometimes as little as £1 to open the account. Tell your financial advisors you wish to keep your details confidential and that you do not wish to receive mail from subsidiary companies. Remember that you will be sent financial statements through the post.
- Pack a bag - including important personal documents, any medication you or your children take, clothes, jewellery and any other valuable items. Leave this bag somewhere your partner will not be able to find it, but where you can retrieve it quickly when you leave. Alternatively, ask a neighbour, friend or family member if you can leave it at their house. Make contact with a Women's Refuge or other professional agency (see links) who will be able to help, advise and support you.
Once you have left:
- If you go to a refuge you cannot tell anyone of your whereabouts. This is for your safety and the safety of the other women there. Tell your family you are safe but explain that you are not able to tell them of your whereabouts.
- If you think your ex-partner will follow you from work or school, devise a plan so if you suspect you are being followed you can go straight to a friend or family member's home or another safe place.
- It might be necessary to change other places you go regularly - shops, doctors, dentist etc.
- Involve your children in the safety plan. You could devise a code word that tells them to call the police, get out of the house, or fetch a relative or neighbour. Sometimes it may be necessary not to tell your children everything as your abuser might use them to find out information about you and your movements.
Leaving an abusive relationship is never easy, but you and your children deserve a life away from violence or abuse and the fear of violence of abuse in your home. There are many professional agencies there to help you, make use of them if you can.