Preparing to Leave an Abuser

Preparing to Leave an Abuser Helpful Planning Ideas

Abuse is not okay, it is a crime, and it is a sin.
No one deserves to be abused, ever!

If you are in an abusive relationship and you feel it's time to leave -- we are here to help. Preparing to leave an abuser takes some planning. By incorporating just a few of the ideas below, it will empower and encourage those who are trapped in abuse.

Although many women leave without doing any advanced preparation and do fine, using our advanced preparation tools and ideas gives you (or the victim) a better chance of standing strong in the first few months after leaving the abuser, and it increases the chances of her not returning to the abuser.

As a side note: I, Kelly, did not have any information about preparing to leave an abuser before I left my abuser, and I did do fine, but I know if I had this information prior to leaving, life would have been much easier!

Because each domestic violence situation is unique, not all of these ideas can work for each woman. Some may even put women and children in greater danger. Please use wisdom (and prayer) before incorporating any of these into your plans.

If you are not in a safe situation, please get you and your children out, we have an abundance of resources to help you and your children. Your safety is most important. Please see The Women's Shelters Directory, California Women's Shelters, or Domestic Violence Help Services.

Preparing for the Day You Will Leave:

  • Acquire job skills or take courses at a community college or trade school.

  • Set aside emergency money; ask a friend or family member to hold it for you.

  • Open a savings account. Do not use your home address, email address, or phone number. Find a trusted friend or family member who will receive your account statements. You could also have a paperless account, but again, never use your home address, phone number, or email address.
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  • Hide extra sets of car keys:
    • One set in the car
    • One set at a trusted friend’s house

  • Know where you can get help and have their numbers memorized.
    • Police/911
    • Domestic Violence Hotlines
    • Safe House/nearest Battered Women’s Shelter
    • Friends or Family
    • Hospital

  • Take pictures of physical abuse done to each part of the body. Keep in safe place.

  • Contact local battered women’s shelter for:
    • Laws about Domestic Violence
    • Resources available
    • Assessing options
    • Emotional support
    • Guidance on what to do and how to do it.

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  • Contact your District Attorney. They will provide you with:
    • Restraining Order Clinics
    • Emergency Cellular Telephones
    • Applications for the Safe at Home Program
    • Application for Victims of Crime Compensation Program
    • Educational Classes
    • Safety Planning
    • Emergency Aid
    • Bilingual Assistance

  • Please contact District Attorney in your area (or the area you will be escaping to) for help.

  • Think of things you can do to increase your independence. Put them into action.

  • Notify neighbors that if they hear disturbances going on in your house to call 911.

  • Keep journal of all physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and threats; include dates and give a detailed description of the event and the abuse. Do this within days of episode so the details are clear and accurate. Keep in safe place.

  • Create several plausible reasons for leaving the home, practice periodically.
    • School events
    • Walking dog
    • A run to the grocery store
    • Taking out the trash
    • A friend’s birthday party
    • Work related problem

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  • Have a packed bag ready at all times. It must be easily accessible, in case you have to leave in a hurry, and located where your abuser cannot find it. Possible places to keep this packed bag:
    • In the car
    • With a friend or family member
    • At work

  • Plan on having at least 6 locations that you could go to when you are ready to leave. Possibilities are:
    • Police
    • Hospital
    • Battered Women’s Shelter
    • Hotel/motel
    • Friend or Family

  • Go over safety plan periodically.

  • Make it a habit to back car into driveway or garage and always keep it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and the other doors locked for a quick escape.

  • Keep extra set of keys, money, credit cards in car – for a quick escape.


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In addition to preparing to leave an abuser please see our domestic violence safety plans and our domestic violence help services for additional help and safety.

We are here to help, you are not alone.

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