If you have decided to leave your abuser, it is important to do this safely.
We have put together a list of top tips for putting your plan in place.
IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, PHONE 999 AND ASK FOR THE POLICE
Think about your plan when you have time and space to do so. Don’t rush it. Also, think about the things you will need to have in place in case you have to leave in a hurry.
Think about where you could go if you have to get out quickly. Perhaps a friend or relative could put you up for a night or two, or you could look at accommodation in your area that is usually available. Perhaps a hotel or bed & breakfast.
Phone safety. Your partner may be tracking your phone. If you suspect this is the case, then switch your phone off as you leave. Find a safe public place to then switch it on to make calls and retrieve important contact numbers. Then switch the phone off again. As soon as you can, take it to a phone shop where they can check it over and remove tracking applications. It is always a good idea to have a written list of important numbers in your emergency bag. Things like the Women’s aid helpline, your work number, your children’s school, your lawyer, numbers of friends or family. This will help if you have to leave without your phone.
While you are planning your move, contact your bank and let them know the situation. They will have things in place to help you. We run an online course which will tell you everything you need to know about this and will work with you until you are settled and happy with your financial situation. If you have been left with debt that your perpetrator ran up in your name, we can help you to manage that too.
Tell someone that you trust that you are planning to leave. This should be someone that your trust. If you don’t have friends or family that you can trust then ask at your local domestic abuse centre, women’s aid, or call the police on 101 for advice.
Find out if you can have your perpetrator removed from your home. The laws are changing as awareness of this problem is rising.
Don’t delete messages etc that your abuser sent you. You may need them as evidence. Think about what your lawyer would need.
Pack an emergency bag for yourself and your children in case you have to leave in a hurry. Where possible, leave this bag with a trusted friend or relative. Or you could keep it in a locker at work or some other safe place where you will be able to keep it. You should pack:
Important documents like birth certificates, passports, visas, work permits.
A form of identification. A copy of your tenancy agreement.
Your car documents and your licence. Any jewellery or sentimental items that you don’t want to lose.
Money or a bank card. Your bank will be able to help you with a second card which you can keep in your emergency bag.
Spare keys for home, work, car, locker etc. You should be able to get copies cut in your local high street.
A stock of your prescription medication.
Take photos of document you think you will not be able to take and store them to the cloud. When you do leave, you should change your password.
Keep a list of emergency contact numbers in the bag in case you have to leave without your phone.
Pack a change of clothing, some toiletries etc.