Other people may be able to check your computer to see emails you sent and websites you visited. If you are concerned, try to use a friend's computer or one at your local library. Learn more about technology and your safety.
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Safety planning for abusive situations
If you are in an abusive relationship, it is important to create a safety plan. Domestic violence advocates and teen dating abuse advocates are people who are trained to help you create a safety plan. Advocates can:
- Figure out ways for you to leave an abuser
- Discuss how to deal with emergencies
- Suggest safe places to go, such as a shelter or the home of a friend or family member where your abuser might not look
- Help you learn about a court order of protection, which requires your abuser to stay away from you
- Suggest services and provide support
Call a help hotline to find advocates. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or TDD 800-787-3224. You can call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 866-331-9794 or TDD 866-331-8453.
Abused women are not necessarily safe just because they leave an abuser. In fact, sometimes the danger is greatest right after leaving. Read our section on domestic abuse to learn more about ways to protect yourself and your children. Once you have a new home, learn ways to make it safer with locks and other security measures.
If you are leaving an abusive situation, take your children and, if possible, your pets. Put together the items listed below. Hide them someplace where you can get them quickly, or leave them with a friend. If you are in immediate danger, though, leave without these items.
You can print out our Safety Packing List (PDF, 135 KB) to make sure you have important items with you if you leave.
Identification for yourself and your children
- Birth certificates
- Social Security cards (or numbers written on paper if you can't find the cards)
- Driver's license
- Photo identification or passports
- Welfare benefits card
- Green card
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce papers
- Custody orders
- Legal protection or restraining orders
- Health insurance papers and medical cards
- Medical records for all family members
- Children's school records
- Investment papers/records and account numbers
- Work permits
- Immigration papers
- Rental agreement/lease or house deed
- Car title, registration, and insurance information
- Records of police reports you have filed or other evidence of abuse
Money and other ways to get by
- Credit cards
- ATM card
- Checkbook and bankbook (with deposit slips)
- Jewelry or small objects you can sell
- Safety deposit box or Post Office box
Ways to communicate
- Phone calling card*
- Address book
- At least one month's supply for all medicines you and your children are taking
- A copy of any prescriptions
Things to help you cope
- Children's small toys or books
* Don't share a calling card or cellphone plan with an abuser, because they can be used to find you. And if you already have a shared card or phone plan, try not to use them after you've left.
Explore other publications and websites
Breaking Up (Copyright © National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline) — This website gives tips on how to end an unhealthy relationship safely and how to prepare for the difficult feelings afterward.
Create a Teen Safety Plan (Copyright © Family Violence Prevention Fund) — If your safety is at risk, use this fact sheet to create a plan to keep safe and find the support you need.
Getting Ready to Leave (Copyright © WomensLaw.org) — If you are in an abusive relationship, and you feel that you are ready to leave the abuser, here are some tips to help keep you as safe as possible when preparing to leave.
Safety Planning: A Guide for Individuals with Physical Disabilities (Copyright © National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life) — This safety plan helps adults with physical disabilities deal with violence, stay safe when leaving an abusive situation, and understand restraining orders.
Safety Planning: How You Can Help (Copyright © National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life) — This booklet lists a variety of ways to help people with cognitive disabilities with safety planning if they are being harmed.
Connect with other organizations
Break the Cycle
Futures Without Violence
National Center for Victims of Crime
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
Office on Violence Against Women, DOJ
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
Content last updated May 18, 2011.
Resources last updated May 18, 2011.
A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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