Domestic Violence Series (Part 2)
Explanation of Domestic Violence and Abuse Continued:
VIII. How to Leave an Abusive Relationship – (Part 2A)
Getting Ready to Leave:
- Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures, etc.
- Know where you can go to get help; tell someone what is happening to you.
- If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
- Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them (for example, a room with a lock or a friend's house where they can go for help). Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
- Contact your local battered women's shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis.
- Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made if possible.
- Acquire job skills as you can, such as learning to type or taking courses at a community college.
- Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.
General Guidelines for Leaving an Abusive Relationship:
- Make a plan for how and where you will escape.
- Hide an extra set of car keys.
- If you need to sneak away, be prepared.
- You may request a police stand-by or escort while you leave
- Pack an extra set of clothes for yourself and your children and store them at a trusted friend or neighbor's house. Try to avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members and mutual friends.
- Take with you important phone numbers of friends, relatives, doctors, schools, etc., as well as other important items, including:
- Driver's license.
- Regularly needed medication.
- List of credit cards held by self or jointly or the credit cards themselves if you have access to them.
- Pay stubs checkbooks, information about bank accounts and other assets.
If time is available, also take:
- Citizenship documents (such as your passport, green card, etc.).
- Titles, deeds, and other property information.
- Medical records.
- Children's school and immunization records.
- Insurance information.
- Copy of marriage license, birth certificates, will, and other legal documents.
- Verification of social security numbers.
- Welfare identification.
- Valued pictures, jewelry, or personal possessions.
- Create a false trail. Call motels, real estate agencies, and schools in a town at least six hours away from where you plan to relocate. Ask questions that require a call back to your house in order to leave phone numbers on record.
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Next section posted will be “Domestic Violence Series (Part 2) – “Explanation of Domestic Violence and Abuse” – “How to Leave an Abusive Relationship – After Leaving the Abusive Relationship “(Part 2B) on Tuesday, July 24th.
Dr. Dorothy E. Hooks