Making an Escape Plan from Domestic Violence
You may be asking yourself, is this abuse? Whether or not you have decided to leave the person who has hurt you, it is important to explore your safety options in case of an emergency.
Here are some helpful tips for preparing a planned exit; REMEMBER you cannot control your abuser and you are not responsible for ending the violence but you can be aware of safety options that may assist you in the future:
- Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you do not think you will need to). This should be a safe place from which you can call for further assistance.
- Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
- Have a packed bag ready and keep it in a secret place that is easy to reach. Leave money, an extra set of keys, extra clothes and, if you can, copies of important documents with someone you trust.
- Open a savings account in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence.
- Keep the crisis line phone number close at hand or, better yet, memorize it. Keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
- Look for a safe computer at work, the library or a friend’s house where your Internet history can’t be viewed.
- Use a code word or signal with family or friends when you need the police.
- Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your abuser.
Every bit of information helps. Try to bring as many of these documents with you as you possibly can:
- All bank account numbers, credit union and 401(k) information
- Extra key for the safe deposit box and info
- Copies of car titles and past 3 years’ income tax returns
- Deeds to joint or individual property
- Copies of outstanding loans, amount of monthly payments
- Joint and individual credit cards with balances. Get your name removed from joint cards if possible
- Pay stubs for at least 2 months
- Copies of your and the abuser’s signature cards at the bank, CDs and bonds
- Copy of any Personal Protection Order (PPO)
- Copies of all insurance policies, wills, trust fund or pension fund information
- Abuser’s Social Security number, driver’s license number, work address and number; addresses and numbers of friends; criminal history; license plate number and recent pictures
- Unless an attorney advises you not to, if you leave, take all personal assets and half of all joint assets (for example, bonds, checking account, credit card)
Once you have planned your safe escape and gathered your documents, you may need to come to the shelter at HAVEN as part of your safety plan. Learn more about the shelter.