I am planning to leave my abuser

If you are in an emergency, please call 999

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If you have decided to leave your abuser, it is important that you access specialist support. Leaving an abusive partner can be dangerous. He may become more abusive to try and regain control over you. It is very important that he doesn’t find out you are considering leaving.

You can call the Helpline in confidence, 24-hours a day, on 0808 2000 247. We won’t tell you what to do, but we can support you to understand your options and make a plan. We can let you know about specialist services in your community and help you find a refuge place. In an emergency situation, call 999.

In addition to getting support, you might want to consider:

Creating an emergency bag: If it is safe to do so without your abuser noticing, keep a bag with some cash, important documents (including birth certificates, marriage certificates, tenancy/mortgage documents, ID documents, National Insurance Number, driving licence), a set of keys, some clothes, any medication, phone charger and emergency numbers. This could be kept safe at a neighbour or friend’s house, so you can leave in a hurry and still have your essentials.

Making a plan: Think about your partners’ routines and choose a safe time to leave your home. Consider where he will be, and plan a safe route – for example, you might want to avoid using a local taxi service in a small town, in case the driver tells your partner where you have gone.

Arranging a place to stay: This might be the home of a trusted friend or family member, but make sure your abuser doesn’t know the location. Or you might want to go into a refuge. As a woman fleeing domestic abuse, you can seek housing advice from any local authority even if you do not live in the local area. Find out more about your housing options here.

Refuges should try to adapt their accommodation to meet your needs. Some refuges have accessible rooms for wheelchair users. You can talk to the Helpline team about any adaptations you might need, and we can support you to find an appropriate refuge space. For women who are Deaf or Blind, or have sensory impairments, refuges may provide the devices you need such as specialised doorbells or alarms. Staff at refuges can also help you find replacements for assistive devices you had to leave behind or that were destroyed by the abuser.

Considering ways he might track you: It is important to think about all the ways your partner might be able to find out where you are. For example, if you think your abuser might have access to your phone or messages, you could use a friend’s phone to make arrangements to leave, or buy a cheap ‘burner phone’. Similarly, you may need to delete any searches related to looking for support on your internet history. You should also turn off any geo-location settings on your phone. You can find more tips on keeping your technology safe and reducing the risk of tracking here.