Leaving an abusive partner can be very difficult. Abuse is normally about power and control, so your partner may have tried everything that they could to take power away from you. This may mean that you may feel like you cannot control your life without them. However, leaving an abusive partner can be much easier if you spend time planning how to leave your relationship safely.
If you need additional support, the 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline may be able to give you advice and help to talk you through the available options. The team may also be able to find a space for you in a domestic violence refuge centre. They can be contacted on 0808 2000 247.
Things that you may want to consider if you are planning to leave an abusive partner
If your partner has also been abusing you financially, it can be hard to make sure that you have access to funds. Try to save up some physical money in case your partner is able to cancel your bank cards or deny you access to your account after you leave.
You should also speak to your local council to see if they are to offer any financial support for people fleeing domestic violence.
- ID and documents
Either bring originals or copies of important documents with you, such as; birth certificates, passports, bank account details, and any court orders relating to your children. These documents can prove useful when you are trying to access support or prove that you have legal custody of your children.
- Phone numbers
Keep a paper copy of important phone numbers if you are planning on leaving your partner. This will be important if your partner steals or breaks your phone. These numbers can be vital if you have to leave your partner in a hurry.
- Medicines and Toiletries
If you or your children have to take medication on a regular basis, you should make sure that you take it with you when you leave. This can help to keep you healthy and will mean that you do not need to go back to the house to get it in a medical emergency.
- Spare set of house and car keys
Keeping a spare set of car keys or house keys hidden somewhere safe in the house can help you to make your escape if your partner has locked you in. A spare set of keys may also allow other people to go back to the house on your behalf if you do need anything else.
- A few changes of clothes
You may not be able to go back to your home straight away if you decide to leave an abusive relationship. If you are staying with a friend or at a refuge, you will have limited access to clean clothes. Try to take a few changes of clothes if you can carry them.
- A few of your children’s favourite toys
If you are leaving with children, try to bring a few of their favourite toys with them. This can help to make the transition a little bit easier for them.
- Proof of the abuse
Keep hold of anything which proves that you have been subject to domestic abuse. This can include recordings, diary sheets, pictures, text messages or testimony from your neighbours.
You will not normally need to consult with a family lawyer before you make your move, unless there are already court orders in place which stipulate who has custody of your children. If these orders exist, you should try to consult with a lawyer before you leave or as soon as possible afterwards.