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When It's Time to Go: Part II

When you’re ready to leave, how to get out safely and hide well 

  • August 20, 2014
  • By domesticshelters.org
When It's Time to Go: Part II

A safety plan is important to think about when a survivor is ready to leave their abuser. Part I of this article talked about what to pack in the bag that a survivor should take with them, if there’s time. Next, it is important to think about how to get out of your home safely.

Practice different ways to get out if you have to leave in a hurry, or if you have to leave while your abusive partner is at home. Think about any weapons in the house and ways you could possibly get them out of the house before you leave. If you can leave when your abuser is not at home, this is the safest option. If you can’t, then think about alternative times to leave, such as when you’re taking out the trash, walking the family pet or going to the store. Again, practice these scenarios.

Safety Plan: Location, Location, Location

Think about four places you could go. These may include a domestic violence shelter that you can locate through domesticshelters.org, the house of a trusted friend or coworker that the abuser does not know or another safe location in a different city. The Domestic Violence Hotline suggests survivors may consider creating a false trail, if there’s time. To do this, you can call motels, real estate agencies and schools in a town that’s at least six hours away from where you’re planning to go. Ask questions that require them to call you back at your house so that your abuser may believe this is where you’re going.

Abusers are intent on controlling survivor’s lives, warns DomesticViolence.org. When abusers feel a loss of control, such as when a victim leaves, the abuse can increase. This is why it’s especially important to take extreme cautions before and after leaving. Make sure you acquire a new cell phone so you cannot be traced. Be careful to whom you give your new address and phone number to. 

If you haven’t already, secure a personal protection order. Consider changing your children’s schools and, if you can, change your work hours. If you’re staying in the same city, use different stores and frequent different social spots. Find emotional support by reaching out to a domestic violence advocate either in your area or through a national hotline. Finally, don’t hesitate to call 911 if you feel you are in danger at any point during or after you leave.

If you're headed to a shelter, get a preview of what you can expect in "Thinking About Going to a Shelter?"