Planning on Leaving

It can be extremely difficult, and dangerous, to leave an abusive relationship.  However it can be made easier and the risk reduced if there has been some pre-planning.  If you have to leave in an emergency and are not able to do any of the things listed below, do not worry, there are services that can help.

When planning to leave a relationship, think about –

  • How you will leave, when would be the safest time and where will you go?
  • Collect a list of key contact numbers
  • What to take if possible:
    • Money for taxis, bus fares etc…
    • Clothes for you and your children
    • Any medication that you or your children need
    • Bank cards and cheque books
    • Any police or court papers relating to the abuse
    • Benefit books, bank books and other forms of identification
    • National Insurance Number
    • NHS medical number
    • Wage slips, P45 etc…
    • Birth certificates, marriage certificate
    • Passports / Visas and related documents
    • Driving licence
    • Address book / useful telephone numbers
    • House keys
    • Cherished items that would be easily destroyed, such as photographs
    • Your child’s favourite toy
  • Can you leave any of these things with a friend or family member ahead of time in case you need to leave in an emergency?
  • Take photocopies of important documents if you cannot take an original
  • If you do need to leave in an emergency and do not have these items, do not worry, the police can escort you back to the property to collect the things you need
  • Speak to your local domestic abuse services about when to end a relationship which has been abusive, see what help they can offer you (find your local services by contacting the National Helpline or looking on the WAFE website), especially if you have pets that will need temporary care

If you think going into a refuge is your best option, think about where you might go.  If you can’t stay locally, is there somewhere in the country that you already have friends and family? It can be easier to resettle in a new area if you already know some people, HOWEVER, if your perpetrator knows that you have links in another area they may search for you there.  For some people a fresh start in a completely new area is the safest option.

The demand for refuge is extremely high, there may not be space in the area you want to be and your choice may be limited to where there is space available.  It is more important that you are safe and you may be able to transfer at a later date, so do not wait unnecessarily.

The National Helpline can help you find refuge space.