After you leave a violent relationship, you may have to take extra steps to stay safe. For example, if you printed out this information, it may be better off in the hands of a trusted friend than at home.
Here are some tips that may increase your safety. Keep in mind that this information is not official legal advice.
- Get help from free resources.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) is a free hotline that's available 24 hours every day in English and other languages.
- The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's website at ncadv.org/resources can help you find shelter and legal support.
- Your local women's shelter can help answer your questions. They also can help you deal with legal issues and find temporary housing.
- Think about getting a protection order (sometimes called a restraining order).
- Talk to the police or a hotline or shelter advocate about whether this might be a good idea for you.
- If you get a protection order, always keep a copy with you. Give copies of it and a photo of your partner to your children's school, people who help care for or transport your children, and your workplace. (Front desk or security employees can use a photo and protection order to prevent your partner from entering.)
- Let others know.
- Tell people who help care for or transport your children.
- Tell your boss, trusted friends, and neighbors.
- Get a new phone number or a new phone.
- Consider a pay-as-you-go phone.
- Turn off GPS.
- Use the prerecorded voicemail message. Or have a friend record it. Don't include your name or number.
- Don't answer calls from unknown, blocked, or private numbers.
- Watch what you do online.
- Change passwords to email and social media accounts. Always log off when you're done.
- Turn off location access.
- Don't post your location on social media. Ask friends not to tag you.
- Change your address to a post office (P.O.) box.
- Make sure you can access your money.
- You might open a new bank account (using a P.O. box or the address of a trusted contact).
- Or you might have friends or family hold money for you.
- Change your emergency contacts at work and at your children's school.
- Change any upcoming appointments your partner knows about (like a doctor's appointment).
- Change your routine.
- Vary where you shop, eat, and hang out.
- Park in different places.
- Take new routes to work and school.
- Make your home safer.
- Change the locks (if you're staying in your same home).
- Call the police if your abusive partner shows up.
- Increase security around your home and property. Your local police can give you suggestions.
Current as of: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine