Safety When Preparing to Leave

People who have been abused frequently decide to leave the home they share with their abusive partner. Leaving must be done with a careful plan in order to increase one’s safety. Abusers often strike back when they believe their partner is leaving the relationship and sometimes the violence can intensify.

When preparing to leave an abuser, you can use some of the following safety strategies:

  • Leave money and an extra set of keys with a trusted friend, neighbor, or relative, so you can leave quickly.

  • Keep copies of important documents, such as birth certificates, social security cards, and bank statements or keys with that same or another trusted person.

  • Open a savings account in your name to increase your independence.

  • Keep change for phone calls at all times. Know that if you use your cell phone, the following month the telephone bill will tell your abuser those numbers that were called after you left. To keep your telephone communications confidential, use coins, purchase calling cards, use a friend’s telephone, if their number is unrecognizable to the abuser.

  • Check with friends and family to see who would be able to let you stay with them and/or lend you money.

  • Develop a plan and leave clothing with a friend, family member, or acquaintance in the event that you need to leave without your belongings.

  • Sit down and revise your safety plan every week or day in order to plan the way to leave your residence safely. Doorways can assist you in reviewing your plan anytime.

  • Rehearse your escape plan, as appropriate, and practice it with your children.


For an individualized safety plan, contact your local domestic violence program:

Arlington: Doorways Domestic Violence Program
24- Hour Hotline: 703-237-0881

For local, state, and national resources contact:

National Domestic Violence 24-Hour Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

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