Whether you are in a relationship that is verbally, emotionally or physically abusive, it is possible to find a safe way out of the situation even if you have few financial resources. Because many abused individuals are manipulated into cutting off ties from friends, prohibited from working and have their finances regulated by their abusive partners, there are legal and social support organizations with resources designed to help you.
Create a safety plan. One of the most important steps in leaving an abusive relationship is safety planning. A safety plan is an organized system for managing your needs as you leave the relationship, including where you will go, how you will meet your financial needs and how you will ensure that your abusive partner will not harm you or have access to you after you leave.
Locate a domestic abuse shelter. Shelters, which are generally located in unmarked, secure buildings, are a safe and free resource for leaving an abusive relationship. These shelters often allow you to bring your children and provide you with a private sleeping space, food, counseling services and assistance in finding employment and permanent housing. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help you locate a shelter in your area.
Enlist the help of friends, family and neighbors. Before you leave your abusive relationship, contact people you trust who will support your plan to leave, even if your abusive partner has previously forbidden you from contacting them. Let these trusted individuals know the details of your safety plan, including when you plan to leave and where you plan to go.
Pack up paperwork, photographs and evidence. When you are safely able to do so, gather only essential items, such as a driver’s license, birth certificates for your children and your Social Security card. If you have any evidence documenting your abuse, such as threatening letters, bring those along as well, as law enforcement may need them for evidence.
Work with law enforcement. Along with domestic violence shelters, your local police department can help ensure that you can leave a relationship safely. If you are able to contact the police undetected or are able to find a friend or relative who can call the police for you, they can provide you with support and protection as you relocate to a secure location. The police can also help you initiate legal proceedings to protect you from your ex and pursue criminal charges.
If you or your children are in immediate danger or have been injured, call 911 or your local emergency law enforcement number.