No-one should be subjected to any form of domestic abuse. If you are in immediate danger call the police on 999. We are here to help. Everyone’s situation is different and only you will be able to judge when it is safe to leave. It may be best to plan your escape and wait for the appropriate moment but never put yourself or your family in danger.
Planning to Stay
The decision to leave or stay is always up to you. You are the only one who is qualified to judge the safety of you and your family.
If you decide to stay and the abuser moves out, you still need to make sure you are safe. Here are some things you can do:
- Get expert legal advice on child contacts and options for civil injunctions.
- Change your phone number to ex-directory.
- Pre-programme emergency numbers into the phone.
- Change the locks and install a security system, smoke alarms and an outside lighting system.
- Inform neighbours, employers and schools about any injunctions, and instruct them to call the police immediately if they see the abuser nearby.
- Make sure schools know who is allowed to collect your children.
- Be careful during your children’s contact visits with the abuser.
- Vary the route and times to your employment and children’s schools.
- Use a code word with family, colleagues, teachers or friends so they know when to call the police for help.
- Keep copies of all relevant paperwork (including civil injunctions) and take a note of any further incidents.
Planning to Leave
When you are ready to leave, follow our advice below to make sure you do not put yourself in unnecessary danger. Take anything that will identify your abuser, such as a recent photo or car details, to help others protect you. Be extra careful about who you discuss your plans with because secrecy will increase your success. Try to keep these points in mind:
- Get extra copies of your home or car keys.
- Prepare a bag with essential items, such as clothes, keys and money. Keep it safe or give it to someone you trust.
- Keep important documents, such as birth certificates, mortgage papers or passports, in a safe location.
- Take contact details for family, friends, doctors, etc.
- Talk to your children about the possibility of leaving and try to take them with you, whatever the long-term arrangements might be.
- Plan an escape route out of your home and teach this to your children.
- Keep a note of the family's essential medicines and have an immediate supply available.
- If possible, take any items of personal importance with you, such as photographs or jewellery.
- Seek legal advice. You might be able to get an injunction to keep the abuser away.
- Get immediate medical help for any injuries you sustain. Record and photograph them.
- Know where the nearest telephone is and, if you can, buy a mobile.
- Take a note of emergency numbers and people you can contact. Programme them into your mobile, if you have one.
- Save some money for emergencies, if you can.