If the Abuser has left:
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 contact 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. Inform your local Education Welfare Officer.
- 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.
- You can also get expert advice from your local Domestic Abuse Officer or a support agency such as Women’s Aid or Men's Advisory Project.
If you want to leave an abusive relationship:
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 with whom 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.
Advice for a friend or relation being abused:
- Find out information about your friend / loved one’s rights and the services available so they can make informed choices – for example, contact specialist support agencies such as Women’s Aid or Men's Advisory Project who can provide practical and emotional support.
- Agree a code word or action that if he/she says to you or you see, you know they’re in danger and cannot access help alone.
- Find out information for your friend / loved one so they can make informed choices.
- Get some support yourself. You have to be strong if you’re going to be able to help them. Most domestic abuse services are happy to help with any worries you may have or provide suggestions as to other actions you might take.
- Most importantly, don’t give up on them. You might be their only lifeline.