The actual point at which you leave an abusive relationship can be very dangerous. An abuser can see that they have lost control and may try to do something about it. Never underestimate how they may react.
Even after you've left there are some things to think about to help keep you and your family safe.
It is always recommended that anyone seeking support with safety planning should contact a specialist service to discuss their own specific and unique circumstances.
Please note that the information provided in this section is general guidance only.
- Change your mobile phone and your phone number and your network provider - only give the new number to people you trust.
- Only give your new address to people who need to know.
- Change passwords for all online accounts as soon as possible, especially those that your abuser knows you use regularly.
- Change passwords again when you have updated your address details.
- Change the security questions on your 'forgotten password' option for online accounts. Common questions include 'What is your mother's maiden name?' and your abuser might use what they know about you to access your accounts.
- If your children are staying at the same school, notify the school of the change of circumstances. Make sure they are clear about who can collect the children.
- Make sure your children know who it is safe to talk to.
- Think about your use of social media. Will your abuser try to find you through mutual friends? Set up new accounts, add trusted friends and check privacy settings.
- Search for yourself online regularly to see what information can be found.
- Be aware of your new surroundings.
- If you see your abuser nearby, or 'bump' into them, report it to the police as it may not be a coincidence.
- Always be prepared to call the police on 999 if you feel threatened.
- The Suzy Lamplugh Trust website has lots of practical suggestions for things to think about when it comes to personal safety in different places, to help keep you and your family safe.
- Seek professional support, contact Torbay Domestic Abuse Service who offer support services for you and your children.
Have you thought about everything?
- Do you have an ongoing safety plan that includes you and your children? You should include your family and friends.
- Report the abuse to the police when it happens, or later. Keep hold of supporting evidence.
- Get support from professionals and find out what help is available for you.
- Think about your children. They may need some professional support to work through their feelings. Find out what help is available for them.
- Your abuser may want contact with the children. Take legal advice on whether they are entitled to contact and how this should be dealt with, taking into account the children’s safety and their wishes as well as your own.
- Keep in touch with trusted friends and relatives - you will need their support.
- Would you like to enrol for a training course or find a job? Support services can help you towards this.
Are you ready for a recovery programme?
To help you make sense of the effects of experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence, and to help you deal with it all, there are various programmes and courses that you could enrol onto. Ask your support worker about these or contact the provider running the course direct.