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What to do when you decide to leave an abusive relationship?

Be ready to leave at the right time, when you feel safe. The decision is yours and you don’t have to allow anyone to influence you. To help you succeed, we’ve prepared a safety guide, including some of the most important aspects. We suggest that:

You are ready for emergencies.

  • Become familiar with abuse trigger signs.
  • Find the safe spaces in your house, where you can find refuge (avoid small, closed spaces, that you can’t leave, or rooms with potential weapons, such as the kitchen). Choose a room with a phone and a door or a window opening to the outside.
  • Establish a code (word or sign) to warn your children, friends or neighbours that you are in danger and that they should call the police.

Make an escape plan

  • Keep your car tank filled. Hide the car back-up key somewhere you can access quickly.
  • Hide emergency money, clothes, important phone numbers and your and your children’s identity documents in a safe place.
  • Rehearse quick safe exit several times. If you have children, rehearse the escape plan with them too, as a game.
  • Memorize a list of emergency contacts. Ask several trustworthy people whether you can ask for their help should you need accommodation or to contact the police.

Protect your privacy

  • When looking for help, it’s important that you cover your tracks, especially when using the phone or the computer.
  • Try to call from a phone outside the joint house.
  • Use a prepay card (if you use the landline at home, he can request that the monthly invoice includes the dialled numbers).
  • Check the setting of your mobile phone. The perpetrator may use mobile technologies to listen to your calls, to track your location or he can use your mobile phone to follow you, if it has a GPS function.
  • Get another phone, with a prepay card, or use another mobile phone, unknown to the perpetrator.

Computer and internet safety

  • Learn to selectively delete the history of the webpages you access. Deleting your entire history can signal to your partner that you are trying to hide something, so be very careful.
  • Use incognito mode, so that the webpages you access are not saved in your computer memory.
  • Be careful with the e-mails and messages you send; you partner may be able to access your account or know your password. Consider setting up a new e-mail account that he doesn’t know.
  • Change your passwords to online banking services or to any other accounts.
  • Choose passwords that the perpetrator cannot guess, using combinations of numbers and symbols.
  • Protect yourself from GPS and recording devices. GPS devices can be hidden in your car, bag, or in other objects you carry with you. Don’t forget to check these.
  • Be aware that the perpetrator may use hidden cameras to check on you.
  • In case you discover any tracking devices, leave them where they are until you are ready to leave. You may be tempted to remove them, but this will alert the perpetrator and make him more suspicious about your intentions.

Protect yourself after leaving.

  • Protecting yourself is as important after leaving as it was when you lived together.
  • Find a place where your former partner cannot find you. If you have children, you may have to transfer them to another school.
  • Don’t publish your phone number and ask phone service providers to hold it confidential.
  • Use a PO for invoices and as mail address.
  • Cancel old bank accounts and credit cards.
  • If you open new accounts, choose another bank.
  • If you stay in the same area as the perpetrator, change your daily routine
  • Take another route to work.
  • Avoid places where he could find you, such as the supermarket you used to go to together.

Always have a charged phone with you and call 112 every time you feel in danger.

Safety plan adapted by A.L.E.G. from the model of the Association Necuvinte.