Emergency Checklist When Leaving Violence
by Raquel Hunter
If you are planning to leave your abuser there are preparations you can take which will help to ensure that you and your children are not on the street with just the clothes on your back.
- As soon as safely possible, go to the bank and open an account that is just in your name. Any extra money you get should be placed in this account. If you cannot get to a bank, find a hiding place where you can store your money until you leave.
- Make copies of all-important documents and give them to someone for safe keeping. This documents should show proof of who you and your children are, as well as other papers of importance. These documents can include birth certificates, marriage certificates, insurance policies and cards, legal documents such as divorce papers, restraining orders or custody papers, social security cards, medical records, school records, drivers license, car titles, registrations and tag numbers, all loan papers, credit card numbers, green cards, and welfare cards/papers.
- Leave an extra set of house and automobile keys with someone you trust.
- Pack at least four weeks worth of medications for you and your children.
- Pack changes of clothing for you and your children.
- Pack an address book which lists all important names, addresses and telephone numbers.
- Pack money, credit cards, check books, debit cards, as well as small valuable items you can sell if your accounts get closed by the abuser.
- Pack comfort items for both you and your children.
- Take any letters or correspondence from your abuser, especially if his abuse is admitted in them.
- Try to have a cell phone. If you do not have a cell phone, have change (coins) or a calling card for emergency telephone calls.
- Think about a safe place where you and your children can go, even if it is a womens shelter.
- Take pets with you or make other arrangements for them when you leave.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, help is available. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. They will direct you to safe places in your area where you can seek help.