by Emma Grace Brown
It is important to recognize that the ideal time to leave an abusive relationship may never come and that it’s best to act quickly.
Too many people in abusive relationships wait until the perfect time arises for moving out. One reason might be because the whole idea of escaping domestic abuse unharmed can seem intimidating. But it’s essential to recognize that the ideal time may never come and that it’s best to act quickly.
Below, Safe Speaks provides some practical planning tips for moving out of your dangerous situation and finding a new place to live. Even if you don’t have time to devise a detailed safety plan and follow all of the steps listed here, you can use them as a guide and take the tips that help you the most.
Making Your Escape
Let’s start with steps you can take to exit your current circumstances. While it helps to prepare as much as you can, the most important thing to remember is that you want to act swiftly.
Prepare for your move
The best time to start planning your escape is now. The more you think about the details, the smoother the process will be, even if you’re not planning on leaving today. You will likely need some money once you go, so consider setting up a checking or savings account in your name that you can begin putting cash into.
Make sure you have all of your most essential items and documents organized so that you can take them with you at a moment’s notice. It can also help to have a secret phrase or signal for indicating to your loved ones, friends, and neighbors when it is time to act. And you will want to start planning out the details of your move, such as researching a new place to live, finding shelters in your new area, and determining the best day and time to make your exit.
Execute your plan
When moving day arrives, confirm the schedule and details with the professional movers or supporters assisting you. Have your bag of essential items ready to go, and look to grocery stores, manufacturing companies, and other establishments that can give you free moving boxes. Also, if there are any weapons in your home, try to make them as hard to access as possible.
Ideally, you will be able to pick up your children from school before leaving town. But if that isn’t possible, speak with school officials about removing your abusive partner’s release privileges to ensure your children stay safe until you can get them.
If your partner has been surveilling your cell phone, be sure to get rid of it before you leave and change the passwords on all your email, social media, and other web accounts. Consider getting a temporary phone to use as you make the transition.
Think about the future
Even after you make your escape, you will need to take steps to establish a brighter future. This is when you will lay the groundwork for keeping yourself and your children safe in the days and years ahead. Depending on your specific situation, you may need to:
- Make multiple copies of your protective order.
- Ask your landlord for a waiver on your security deposit.
- Develop a new daily routine.
- Notify your employer and other people you regularly see about your situation.
- Change your phone number.
Finding a Home
Once you’ve removed yourself (and your children) from danger, consider these tips for choosing a new place to live and connecting with local resources:
Evaluate your budget
Many abuse survivors find housing in free shelters after escaping their situations. While this can be an excellent temporary solution, you may be thinking about getting your own home and setting up a new life for yourself.
The first step is to take a close look at your budget and figure out what kind of home you can afford. You can do this by factoring in your annual income, monthly expenses, cash available for a down payment, mortgage type, and other elements. And don’t forget to consider the cost of living in your new location.
Consider the location
When choosing a location for your new life, you will want to think about your quality of life. Are there any promising job opportunities nearby? Do any of your friends or loved ones live in the area? Also, look for the nearest abuse shelter or organization to know where to turn if you run into problems.
Throughout the process, keep in mind that positioning yourself for a promising future is critical at this time. Be careful who you tell about your relocation, and make sure your family and friends know not to share information concerning your new life. And, of course, ensure that your new location provides enough distance and safety from your abusive partner.
Look for community services
Finally, escaping your dangerous situation provides an ideal opportunity to rediscover yourself and engage your interests. See if there are any community services in the area you are moving to. This could include fitness facilities, recreational sports parks, art studios, support groups, and other services that could improve your overall quality of life.
If you are in an abusive relationship, don’t wait any longer to get out. Try to plan your steps now to act quickly when you decide to escape. Remember that you may not have time to follow all the steps above, and you may forget a detail or two. But hashing out a strategy and hitting most of your goals will position you and your children for a future filled with hope!
Would you like to read more helpful content or learn about how our global movement helps fight gender-based violence and abuse? Visit our website SafeSpeaks.org today and subscribe to our blogs!