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Getting out

Every situation is different. Leaving may heighten the threat of violence, but experts agree that careful planning can be helpful in protecting abuse victims from future harm.

Make A Personal Safety Plan
  1. I will have important phone numbers available to my children and myself.
  2. I will have a code word that will alert my friends/family that I am in danger. The code word is __________________.
  3. I can tell ___________ and _____________about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my home.
  4. If I leave my home, I will go to one of the following places: _____________________, ________________, ____________________, or ______________.
  5. I can leave extra money, car keys, clothes, and copies of documents with ________________.
  6. I will keep change or a phone card with me at all times.
  7. If I leave, I will bring the following important phone numbers:
    RAINN for referral to local hotline –toll-free 1-800-656-4673
    • Police _____________________
    • Hotline ___________________
    • Friends ___________________
    • Shelter ___________________
Items to Bring with You


  • Driver's license
  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Passport/green card/welfare ID


  • Auto registration
  • Medical records
  • Health insurance cards
  • Children’s school records
  • Bankbooks, investment information
  • Credit and ATM cards
  • Mortgage/Auto payment books
  • Insurance policies –life, disability, car, homeowners


  • Protection orders
  • Marriage license
  • Divorce papers
  • Documentation of jointly-owned assets / property
  • Child custody papers
  • Documentation of past abuse – photos, medical records, police reports


  • Cash
  • Car/house keys
  • Medications
  • Clothes, pictures, jewelry, items of sentimental value
  • Children’s favorite toys/books/blankets
Ways to increase your safety after leaving
At home
  1. Move to a new location if possible
  2. Change the door locks; install window locks and steel protectors on screen doors and windows.
  3. Install a security system, or change codes/passwords on an existing one.
  4. Install smoke detectors and an outside lighting system.
  5. Keep your car and garage locked.
  6. If you have an electronic door opening for car or garage – have the signal changed. If the attacker has an extra remote key, he will have access unless this is disabled.
  7. Inform _____________and ________________ that the attacker no longer lives at your address and ask them to call the police if s/he is observed near your home or your children.
  8. Be explicit with child caregivers that permission to pick up your children is limited to (list names) __________________, _________________and ______________.
At work
  1. Tell _____________at work about my situation and ask _____________to screen calls, and accept no unscheduled visitors.
  2. Ask to be escorted to your car in the evening or after hours.
  3. Don’t be predictable with your coming and going.
  4. Don’t park in the same space.
  5. Try car-pooling.
  6. Use different entrances and exits.
In the community
  1. Change your shopping patterns and places.
  2. Change banks, post-offices, grocery, clothing, book and department stores.
  3. Don’t shop where friends work – it’s any easy place to find you.
  4. Obtain a protective order. Keep it on or near you at all times. Leave a photocopy of the order with _______________.
  5. Plan for emotional support so that you’re not tempted to return to an abusive situation.
  6. Attend workshops and support groups to gain support and strengthen relationships with other people.
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