Making the decision to leave can be very difficult, especially if you have a child with your abusive partner. Whether or not you are ready or able to leave, you can take steps to help keep you and your child safe. Making a safety plan with your children is very important. Arrange for a safe place that your children can go and where they can get help. You can also use a code word so they know when they should leave. It is important that your children know it is not their responsibility to protect you but to keep themselves safe and that abuse is not their fault nor is it okay. If you need legal help consider talking to a legal advocate who can walk you through some options.
You know what is best for your child. If you can’t leave your partner because you fear for you or your child’s safety, consider contacting resources in your community to discuss your options or contact our Outreach team and crisis line to help you find the resources that you need. Outreach is available to complete the Safety Plan workshop.
Living with an abusive partner can be hard, especially if you’re trying to get help. Remember that the abuse your partner commits is never your fault — whether you’ve agreed to live together or not. Sharing a home may bring up different emotions, especially when thinking about whether to stay or leave. Breaking up and then deciding where to live is difficult, and it’s a decision only you can make. If you’re not ready to leave or cannot leave safely, here are some steps to help you stay safe.
- Record abusive incidents with as much detail as possible. Write down dates, times and the sequence of events that took place. If possible, take pictures to document any injuries. It’s best to keep this record outside your shared home.
- If you sense an abusive incident is about to occur, avoid confined rooms without exits or areas where potentially dangerous objects are stored, like the kitchen.
- Tell a person you trust like a neighbor, a friend or a co-worker about what is happening. They can help you build a support system outside of your home.
- Create a safety plan. Then, give a copy of it and your schedule to a friend, relative or person you trust so they know where you are, when you’re likely to be alone with your abusive partner and what they can do if you need help.
- Create a code word to tell whoever you’re with that you need help without your abusive partner knowing. Make sure the people in your support system know the code word and what to do if you’re in trouble.
- Memorize or keep a list of phone numbers in your wallet, backpack or purse in case you don’t have access to your cell phone.
- Keep a calling card and extra money in an “emergency wallet” that you always have with you and that your partner doesn’t know about.
- Know your rights.
- Learn about local resources and ask for help if you need it.
- Our crisis line is always available if you need someone to talk to about your situation and guide you to resources should you want them.