Whether you decide to stay or leave your relationship is your decision. You are your own best friend. However, you should begin to empower yourself by bringing about a change in your relationship if possible, without endangering yourself or your children. One of the first steps you can take is to put together a Safety Plan as follows:

  • Create “safe places” in your house where you can go in case of escalating physical danger. For example, you could lock yourself in a bathroom, bedroom, closet or basement- as long as you have access to an escape route and/or mobile phone.
  • Make copies of your important documents such as passports, visas, children’s birth certificates, etc., and keep them somewhere safe (outside of the house)
  • Keep a fully-charged mobile phone with 911 pre-programmed into it
  • Report all incidents of abuse to the local police so that there is a legal record and paper trail
  • Keep your own record of abusive events with dates when they occurred  in a safe place
  • Take pictures of any bruises or cuts inflicted by your partner
  • Get to know local police precincts and hospitals in the area
  • Plan and practice an escape route out of the home
  • Prepare the children to respond to a batterer who comes to their school or to childcare facilities.
  • Empower yourself by talking to friends/family about what is happening
  • Join a support group where you can confidentially discuss your situation with others who’ve gone through similar experiences
  • Contact an anti-domestic violence agency from a safe place and talk to an advocate
  • Keep a bag packed and hidden in a safe place at home (or locked in a car trunk with only one key), or with a safe relative or friend, in case of the need to flee. The bag should include:    
  • Emergency cash, ideally enough to survive on for a month
  • Clothing for you and your children
  • Copies of important documents such as passports, identification cards, marriage certificates, court documents, social security card, driver’s license, welfare identification, family photographs, birth certificates for you and your children, school and medical records, work permits, green card, apartment lease, mortgage payments, insurance papers, important telephone numbers, evidence that you lived together with your spouse (utilities bills, leases, etc.)
  • Check book
  • Necessary prescription medicines
  • Credit card
  • Copies of house and car keys