If you have been in an abusive relationship that appears to be getting worse, then it is better to make a plan for how to get out safely while you can think straight.
Research shows that one of the times that victims of domestic abuse are most at risk is when they are leaving or have just left, so, it is important to create a safety plan in advance..

You may never need to implement your plan, but if you do, the knowledge that you have one in place will allow you to focus on getting away safely.

Make copies of all your important documents and leave them with a trusted person, perhaps a local vicar, neighbour or Women’s Aid, preferably someone not known to your partner. It is best not to involve a friend who could be persuaded or coerced into breaking your confidence. (You know how charming and persuasive he can be when he wants something)
Copy the following documents

  • Birth certificates for you and children
  • National Insurance number
  • Passports
  • Bank details
  • Cheque book
  • Driving license
  • Mortgage or rental agreements

Include also a list of all your important telephone numbers, such as;

  • Local Domestic Abuse Unit
  • Women’s Aid
  • Victim Support Service
  • Solicitor
  • Bank
  • Children’s schools
  • Important family members and friends

It is helpful if you can have a spare “pay as you go” mobile phone along with a spare set of keys and some money, stored in a waterproof bag somewhere outside your house that you can easily grab if needed. Having these can buy you time, because if you have to leave in an emergency, you can leave your keys and phone somewhere visible to your partner (he may already have confiscated them), so he will think you cannot go anywhere, particularly at night. Then, at some point when he goes to get some food or drink, or demands that you go, you may be able to execute your plan.

Keep a small bag packed with some spare clothing, toiletries, prescribed medication and all your important documents, and some of the children’s favorite toys. Keep the bag hidden somewhere that you can easily get hold of it.

Set up a code with two or three trusted friends, that if you text them, they will call the police. You may also teach your children how to call the police, depending on their age, but obviously it is better if you do not need to involve them in any of the adult stuff.

It is a good idea to plan your escape route and have done a mental rehearsal of how you will get out of the house. This could involve going out through a low window. If you can do an actual rehearsal, then that is even better. It means that any unforeseen obstacles will have been addressed, leaving your mind clear to focus on making good your escape.

If possible, speak to your local refuge in advance and be advised by them about where and how you can access help. Sadly the demand on refuges often exceed demand, but if you sense that your situation is becoming more unsafe, you may well be able to plan an admission.

Don’t forget to cover your tracks by making sure you don’t leave any scribbled phone numbers about, or scraps of paper with addresses in the waste bin. Do make sure you clear the history on your computer.

If you remain in the same town as your partner, it is imperative that you alter your routines, and routes, to school and/or work. Your partner may well make contact with these places so it may be best to confide in them that you do not feel safe, and the need for them to allow you some flexibility in terms of arrival and leaving times. Employers in the UK now have to have a Domestic Abuse Policy that encourages employers to provide such support.

Be careful if you are using joint bankcards or accounts because your whereabouts may appear on the bank statements. If you need to contact your partner at anytime by phone, make sure you prefix the telephone number by 141 (in the UK) so that your number cannot be traced. If you are using your usual mobile, make sure that your tracking system is not ON.

Leaving a partner in any circumstances is difficult, and particularly, where your safety is an issue, it is even more important to think matters through in advance. This will free up your capacity to focus on what you need to, and not only optimizes your safety, but it also reduces the chances of you being traced.

Author's Bio: 

Grace Chatting is a senior accredited member of the British Association of Counseling and Psychotherapy, a qualified Social Worker, Family Mediator, and a Life and Relationship Coach.

She lives and works in the UK, Spain and Ireland, teaching and empowering people to become all that they can be.

For the past 30 years Grace has immersed herself in studying all aspects of what makes people, couples and families tick. During this time she has worked with literally tens of thousands of people and has built up considerable expertise in successful couple relationships and prevention of family breakdown. She also has a high level of expertise in working with women in recovery from Domestic Violence and Abusive Relationships.

So many of her clients would say "Why don't they teach this stuff in school?" and Grace agreed. The idea gradually took root and resulted in the Relationship Academy http://relationshipacademy.co.uk