Leaving an abusive partner is a particularly risky time and can be dangerous. Take a look at the ideas below to help keep you safe.
In an emergency always dial 999.
Have an emergency pack made up. You could leave this with a friend if it is safer to do so.
This could include: • Documents (birth certificate, passport etc) • Money • Keys • Proof of abuse (photos, reports, diary, text messages) • Photo of the perpetrator of the abuse
Have a list of people of where you can stay in an emergency. For example with: • Friends • Family • Local emergency accommodation
Always have a mobile charged and available - Let the police have the number.
During an incident
Avoid rooms with one exit - If possible avoid the kitchen, bathroom and garage.
Call for help if possible. Call the police on 999 (in an emergency) or on 101 (non-emergency).
If you are getting abusive text messages or emails keep the messages and report them. Any form of abusive communication is unacceptable.
Seek medical attention and get any incidents reported to your GP or hospital.
Keep a diary - If in the future you wish to obtain some legal protection, then this could really help. It may also help to process what is happening to you emotionally.
Protecting yourself after you have left
Beware of internet and mobile tracking - Use 141 so phone calls can’t be traced. Use privacy settings on Facebook and other social networking sites. Text messages and emails could be potential evidence, so do not delete them. It is becoming more common for perpetrators to set up fake accounts to contact ex-partners under different names.
Alter routines - Change your routes, times, where you go shopping for a while.
Change phone number - Let the police and other support agencies know your new number.
Inform family, friends and neighbours and let the police/ schools/ work know your concerns. You could arrange a code word with them, so you could discreetly let them know if you were in danger. You could also show them photos of the perpetrator.
Make sure that your address does not appear on court documents or on the electoral register. Ask for your address to not be disclosed in court if it will put you in danger.
Security - the police could check your property and change the locks or advise you on safety features such as additional lighting.
Seek advice around different types of legal protection such as an injunction or a restraining order. An injunction can be obtained from the civil courts. A solicitor or an IDVA worker (Independent Domestic Violence Adviser at Survive) could help you to get one. This may prohibit the abuser from contacting you or may instruct him to move out the house so that you can live there safely. A restraining order can be obtained from the criminal courts after a prosecution.
It is just as important to look after your emotional health as well as your physical safety. You may be able to access free counselling and support groups through your GP or through contacting Survive on 0117 961 2999.
Go and see a housing officer - If you explain to them that you are at risk of domestic violence then they can possibly help you seek safer accommodation. Take any proof that you have, but if you don’t have any just let them know.
Attend a local Freedom Programme to understand the dynamics of domestic violence and to get support from other women. The Freedom Programme is a 12 week rolling programme that helps women understand the dynamics of an abusive relationship, you can join at any time. It does not matter if you want to stay in the relationship or leave it or have been in one in the past. The programme is offered in different locations in South Gloucestershire. The groups are very friendly, but you do not have to share your experiences unless you want to. Groups in South Gloucestershire meet weekly.