The pathway to a life free from abuse starts with a plan. A step-by-step guide that has no time limit and begins when you are ready.
Step 1 – Be safe. Call 911 if you are in immediate danger. Plan to leave in secret – do not let your abuser know you are going, as they will try and stop you.
Step 2- How to find a safe space to stay. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Phone 1-800-799-7233, or text START to 8878. Memorize this phone number, as you may not always have access to your phone. They will be able to provide you with a list of the shelters in your area. It is also a good idea to memorize other vital numbers, such as a family member/close friend.
Step 3 – Finding a shelter. Contact every accommodation provider on the list provided to you. Call back later if they say they are full, as spaces often become available during the day.
Step 4 – Prepare. If you have time, make a list of or gather together/request copies of important documents, including:
- Birth certificates, Social Security cards, Health Insurance, and passports or immigration papers for you and your children.
- Financial records, including recent bank statements, retirement plans, and stocks or mutual fund records.
- Housing documents, such as rental agreements, mortgage statements, or the title or deed
- Your most recent credit report (you can request one for free ).
- The title or lease paperwork for your car.
- Two years of recent tax returns.
- A written copy of significant phone numbers or addresses kept separate from your phone.
Please keep copies of these documents in a safe space outside of where you live, so your abuser cannot find them. Leave them with a trusted family member/close friend/neighbor/us, so they are ready for when you need them. Many of these records are available online, so try to keep access to these accounts if you do not have paper copies.
If you feel safe doing so, gradually remove small personal items of value, whether sentimental or valuable, which your abuser may use to coerce you into returning. Take copies/photos of photos that are important to you and upload them to a separate google photo account on the web. Open a new bank account and begin saving money if you can, or keep cash somewhere only you know where it is hidden. Hideaway enough supply of medications prescribed to last you a couple of days, while you can arrange replacement scripts once you leave
Step 5- Create an escape plan. Learn which doors/windows in your home are locked/unlocked, and keep a spare set of keys somewhere handy. Think about where you will go and the easiest way to get there. Familiarize yourself with the directions to the nearest police station/shelter/ a friend/family member’s workplace (if you have to leave while they are working).
Step 6 – Leave and begin to heal – breaking the cycle of abuse.
CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT THE FUTURE HOPE & HEALING CENTER. WITH THE KINDNESS OF YOUR DONATION, WE CAN PROVIDE WOMEN IN THE TARRANT & PARKER COUNTY A SANCTUARY FOR WHEN THEY ARE READY TO STEP INTO SAFETY.