After Leaving an Abusive Relationship

  • Talk to the Family Crisis Center or a lawyer about an Order of Protection and about custody and visitation arrangements if children are involved.
  • Get the support numbers you may need: police, domestic violence hotlines, doctors, lawyers, schools, friends and family. Keep these with you.
  • If possible, get a cell phone and keep this with you. Even a pre-pay cell phone with no money on it can be used to call 911 in an emergency. Always keep your phone charged.
  • Make the area around your home safer: change the locks, get outside lights, repair damaged windows, trim underneath bushes and trees so you can see if anyone is hiding in them.
  • Tell all your neighbors and friends that you have an Order of Protection and/or that the abuser is not allowed to come to your place. Ask them to call the police if they see anything suspicious.
  • Have your address and phone number kept private: use a P.O. Box or get an unlisted number.
  • To hide your phone number from someone’s Caller ID: dial *67 before dialing their phone number.
  • Use a third party when dealing with the abuser (e.g., for mail, when picking up the children, when returning their property). Always take someone with you if you cannot avoid seeing the abuser.
  • Develop a plan for yourself and the children about what to do in any situation – home, school, shops – if you feel threatened. Role play and practice the plan so you remember it.
  • Help your children understand what is going on. They might not need to know the details, but they do need to feel reassured.
  • Ask for help from friends and family.