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Planning to leave is a big decision. Every relationship is different and only you can decide whether or not it’s the right time to leave. We will never pressure you or tell you what to do, but we can help you to explore your options and make plans that help keep you safe whatever your choices.

Victim Blaming

Sometimes survivors of abuse experience ‘victim-blaming’ attitudes.  We understand that decision making around close family or intimate partner relationships is a very lengthy, difficult and complex process. The decision whether or not to leave is yours and yours alone. We will respect your decisions working with you, in a respectful, non-judgemental and empathic way.

Safety planning

If you do decide to leave it’s very important to keep your plans from your abuser. You may feel that confronting your abuser or threatening to leave will stop the abuse. We understand the reasons for doing this, however, if abusers find out about plans to leave, it’s possible that the abuse will get worse. In many cases, it will put your safety at risk. This is because control is an essential element of abuse, if the abuser feels their control over you is slipping away they may react by escalating their abusive behaviour.

Having an advocate to talk things through with, thinking ahead, is a potential lifeline to ensuring your chances of escaping the abuser are maximised. Our experience of supporting domestic abuse survivors shows that – if you can and it’s safe to do so – these precautions may help:

  • Plan safe exit routes from home and think about somewhere you can go where your abuser won’t find you.
  • Make sure that your mobile phone, laptop and other social media are not being monitored or tracked.
  • Do not share your plans with anyone connected to the abuser.
  • If you do have a safe place, try to leave a bag of essential items there. It’s important that this is somewhere the bag can’t be found by your abuser. It could include passports, ID, clothes, bank cards, medication, essential documentation or anything else that’s important to you and (if you have any) your children.
  • Consider whether there is a neighbour you can trust to be aware of your situation and call 999 if you need help.
  • Try to keep a small amount of money with you.
  • Make sure you keep a charged mobile phone with you.
  • Plan to leave at a time when you know your abuser will be out.
  • Keep your advocate informed.

Online support

My Support Space is a free online tool, which is full of resources to help you cope and move forward after a crime. You can access the information you need, in your own time. It will also remember where you left off, so that you can go back to it whenever you like.

Register now to access our interactive guide on how to leave an abusive relationship.

If you don’t have anywhere safe to go, you may need to consider seeking refuge. Refuge is accommodation for women escaping domestic abuse. Refuge addresses are confidential to protect your safety. If you have children, your children will be welcomed.

You can also approach your local council for advice on your options for permanent housing.

If you would prefer to stay in your current home:

  • Call 999 and ask the police to remove the abuser and stay in a safer part of the house. Try to avoid the kitchen or anywhere else where household items could be used as weapons. Bathrooms and balconies can also be risky.
  • Contact us for advice on how to legally keep the abuser from your home.

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