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How to Escape from an Abusive Relationship

It’s important to have a safe exit plan from an abusive relationship. The following tips might help you with this:

• Make a note of the phone numbers for your local women’s shelters.

• Confide in someone you genuinely trust (a good friend, a colleague at work, or a family member. Develop a code so they can help you if you are in an emergency (like a word you can text to them.)

• If your partner harms you, go to the emergency department and ask the staff to document your visit, and your reason for seeking medical attention.

• Journal each threat or abusive incident (with dates). If possible photograph any injuries.

• Prepare your escape in advance. Plan where you will go, and how you will get there.

• If you have a car, keep it backed in the driveway, with plenty of gas, and the keys close at hand, so that you can make a quick escape. Hide an extra set of car keys in case your partner steals and hides yours.

• Set money aside, either in a secret bank account or with a trusted friend or family members.

• Leave a packed bag with a friend or family member. This should contain an extra set of keys, essential ID (birth certificates, social security card, credit card, bank information, important phone numbers, passport, medical records etc), some clothes and any medications. If possible, avoid making use of neighbors or mutual friends.

• Know your partner’s schedule, and plan ahead for safe times to leave.

• Be especially alert to securing help through your computer or phone. Delete your internet browsing history, any websites you’ve checked out for resources, and all your old emails. If you called for help just before you left the house, dial another number afterwards in case your partner hits redial.

• Leave a false trail behind. For example, call hotels or rental agencies that are several hours away from the place you are planning on moving to.