Leaving an abusive situation can be one of the most dangerous times for victims of domestic abuse. Whether you are getting ready to leave or you are preparing to do so in the future, it is therefore vital to try to make sure that you can leave as safely as possible.
When to Leave
Ideally, try to leave when the perpetrator is not at home so that there is no opportunity for confrontation and/or violence. This will not always be possible though, especially if a situation evolves into violence and you need to flee as a matter of urgency.
Find a Safe Place to Go
Refuge run various refuges across the country and these provide a haven for women who are fleeing abusive situations. These are strictly women-only and will provide an environment in which victims can guarantee their safety and access practical and emotional support. Call the freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 to find a place in a refuge. This is available 24 hours per day and is confidential.
NB: While Derby Women’s Centre is not a refuge, we support women to leave domestic abuse situations. This includes liasing with other organisations to secure places in a refuge, for example.
What to Take
It won’t always be possible to plan your exit in advance but if you can, there are certain items that should be brought with you. These include:
– Birth certificates for yourself and your children
– Debit cards, credit cards, cheque books etc
– Home and car keys (ideally, get a spare cut and leave them with someone trustworthy)
– Driving licence and car registration documents
– Prescription medication
– Some clothing and toiletries
– Sentimental items such as photographs
Unfortunately, the danger does not always pass once you have left an abusive relationship. Keep yourself as safe as possible by following practical advice such as:
– Planning your route to ensure that you can avoid dark and isolated areas. Don’t be tempted to take short cuts through these type of areas to save time. Wherever possible, try to use areas in which there is also CCTV and plenty of people around. Likewise, always look to park is well lit and busy areas.
– Try to avoid going to places in which the perpetrator will know to find you as they may lie in wait for you. This includes rearranging regular appointments. If it isn’t practical to do this, take someone with you.
– Make sure that a friend or family member knows where you are going and what time you expect to be home. If you do not arrive home at this time, they will know that something is not right.
– Always be contactable via your mobile phone and be sure that it has credit.
– Lock your car doors as soon as you get into the vehicle.
– Don’t answer the door unless you have a very good idea of who is on the other side.
– Informing school that your child(ren) should only be picked up by yourself or particular people that you trust.