Leaving Safely – Part 2

safety plan

Leaving Safely – Part 2

In addition to packing and planning, there are a few other measures you can take to safeguard against potential problems that may arise when you’re leaving. As we see on today’s Dr. Phil episode, “Saving Julie: The Final Decision,” getting out of an abusive relationship is a dangerous, difficult time, and it is important to plan and have a support system in place.

Digital Safety

Don’t disclose any personal information online about your plans. If you’re making plans for leaving and communicating about it via a computer or cell phone, access a computer from the library or a friend’s house, or remember to clear your browser history. Make sure to tell friends to not post anything about your whereabouts online.

Don’t answer threatening or excessive texts or calls while you leave and after you’ve left. Let them go to voicemail. This also could be used to document the abuse — for example, 50 missed calls? Take a screen shot of that.

Cell phones can be tracked via GPS. Try a “throw away phone” or perhaps plan to get a new one and leave your old phone behind.

What about protective orders? 

A protective order is legal documentation to keep your abuser away from you, and can often contain provisions related to custody, finance, and more. However, these will require you to see your abuser in court, and are not always highly enforced. In this episode we see Danny describing how he broke a protective order and attacked his ex-girlfriend and a man she was with.

While protective orders may be able to put a stop to physical abuse, psychological abuse is still possible — so a protective order should never replace a safety plan.

Our advocates can speak to you about how a protective order works, as well as direct you to legal advocates that can provide you with specific information about this based on where you’re living. Different states have different processes for a protective order. Check out Women’s Law for more info.

If you already have a protective order, it should be kept on you at all times — as well as given to your children and anyone they might be with — especially when you’re leaving your abuser.

After You Leave

Consider making a “false trail.” For example, call motels far away from where you plan on being. Do this after you leave, otherwise it could tip off the abuser that you’re planning on leaving, which could be dangerous.

Remember that leaving will likely be difficult, and it’s important to have support and a plan in place. If you feel like leaving might be an option, give us a call at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) to discuss options.

Our advocates at The Hotline are here for you to help create a safety plan for leaving as well as after you’ve left, and to make sure you have ongoing emotional support afterwards.

This is the second part of a two-part article. You can read Part 1 here.

Comment section

9 replies
  1. My situation falls under an umbrella. There is no category for it. The closest thing police can come up with is domestic violence. I was molested for seven years by a family member, and my family all took up for him. Last year, I filed a restraining order, because he always told me he would kill me if I ever told. Three days after that order was filed, our house burned down. I was the only one home. Did I mention that I have a child from this abuse? Makes thing more interesting…

    …DNA results will be released any day now. I don’t want to be here when they are. He’ll kill us. I know he will. There’s no “if.” He’s already tried. He’s going down, and has nothing to lose by killing us. How does someone get money to run away? My credit is horrible (because of him opening accounts in my name). My whole family is on his side, and they don’t want their sweet baby to go to prison. So, I’m on my own. And the sooner we get out of here, the better. Get away from the danger, from the people who say it wasn’t rape, that it’s no big deal, that I should drop the DVO.

    How would someone get a loan? Is there a loan or grant program for violence situations? How did you other ladies escape?

  2. Jess,

    Your situation sounds very dangerous. I am sorry that your family is not supportive of you and is taking sides with someone who has threatened to take your life. I am glad you are thinking about you and your child’s safety. There are domestic violence shelters that are safe houses in which you could stay. Please call The National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 for help locating resources in your area. It takes a lot of courage to show an abusive individual that there are consequences to their actions (getting a protective order, getting a DNA test, and involving the police). There are ways to get away and be safe. I am glad you reached out for help through our blog community.


  3. Hi,
    I need to talk to someone and take a advise regarding my sister who is in an abusive and violent relationship she has been beaten by her husband very offen.she live in America and I live in Australia .plz give me a number to reach u asap

  4. You can reach us 24/7 at 1.800.799.7233, we are completely confidential and anonymous.

  5. My situations doesn’t fit any of these. To be fair we both are abusive, he just wins the fight. We tried therapy and for a while things got better. Shoot, I even commented yesterday that things were good and we were moving forward with our plans together. All hades broke lose last night. Obviuosly I cannot stay. Unfortunately I do not have the funds to go. I’m a teacher and I lose my position in 4 weeks. I need to work those 4 weeks to be able to move me and my two children (teenager & infant) to another state where my sister is. I’m not at all worried about leaving a trail. Once we aren’t around each other there will be no more violence.

    The staying with him for the next four weeks without either one of us erupting is going to be a test of miracles. We don’t own a vehicle so I take the metro to work. It’s a 90 minute commute which my oldest makes as well to attend school.

    I live in a major area and thought I’d be able to locate a shelter for us to stay in but the closest would add another hour to our commute, and realistically I don’t know how to do that to teen-ager. It would actually be longer as it would take time to drop infant off at sitter’s.

    I realise my situation isn’t as bad as other’s posted here, I’m just stressed and frustrated.

  6. Dear Rhenish,
    Thank you for reaching out to the Blog. It sounds like your relationship is always “up or down”, perhaps you never know “where you stand” from one day to the next. Such a life is stressful, confusing and scary. You have mentioned moving to another state. Having a plan improves the odds of success. An advocate here can help you identify and evaluate possible options. Did you know that domestic violence shelters often have “Outreach” services, as well as, safe shelter for DV victims and their children?

    There is so much going on in your life, it might be easier to discuss it all in a phone conversation that could help you determine some of the best resources. We are, The Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Let us be part of your Support System.

  7. So, there really is no help if you have no transportation, no money, and your abuser has completely isolated you from family and friends with lies and drama. He is going to kill me. He tells me and my daughter everyday that he will kill me and no one will ever find me. Somedays I wish he would just do it so this’ll would be over.

  8. Jill,

    You are right that transportation can be a challenge when trying to leave or even get to a shelter, but there are possibilities for help. It sounds like you are scared, rightly so, in that he is threatening to kill you…that is terrifying to hear. Please call an advocate at The Hotline, so they can help you safety plan, go over options, and help you find shelter and transportation. You don’t deserve to have to live with his threats. You can call 24/7 to 1-800-799-7233 for help.


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