Forbes House Helpline is available 24/7/365. If you find yourself in a physically, emotionally, verbally, or sexually abusive relationship with your partner, or you know someone else in an abusive relationship, please don’t hesitate to call our helpline at any time. Trained advocates are always available to answer questions, provide guidance, review safety plans, offer referrals, and to assess what other ways Forbes House may be able to assist you. Questions about shelter, counseling, education, or legal advocacy are available to be answered by trained staff.
Preparing to Leave an Abusive Relationship.
- Identify your partner’s use and level of force so that you can assess the risk of physical danger to you and your children before it occurs.
- Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.
- Don’t run to where the children are, as your partner may hurt them as well.
- If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target. Dive into a corner and curl up into a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.
- If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know what numbers to call for help. Know where the nearest public phone is located. Know the phone number to your local shelter. If your life is in danger, call the police.
- Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help.
- Teach your children how to get help. Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your partner. Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.
- Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.
- Practice how to get out safely. Practice with your children.
- Plan for what you will do if your children tells your partner of your plan or if your partner otherwise finds out about your plan.
- Keep weapons like guns and knives locked away and as inaccessible as possible.
- Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and others locked — for a quick escape.
- Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you.
- Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night.
- Make a plan for how and where you will escape quickly. You may request a police escort or stand-by when you leave.
If you have to leave in a hurry, use the following list of items as a guide to what you need to bring with you. Our advocates can help you come up with a personalized safety plan for leaving.
- Driver’s license
- Birth certificate and children’s birth certificates
- Social security cards
- Financial information
- Money and/or credit cards (in your name)
- Checking and/or savings account books
2) Legal Papers
- Protective order
- Copies of any lease or rental agreements, or the deed to your home
- Car registration and insurance papers
- Health and life insurance papers
- Medical records for you and your children
- School records
- Work permits/green Card/visa
- Divorce and custody papers
- Marriage license
3) Emergency Numbers
- Your local police and/or sheriff’s department
- Your local domestic violence program or shelter
- Friends, relatives and family members
- Your local doctor’s office and hospital
- County and/or District Attorney’s Office
- Extra set of house and car keys
- Valuable jewelry
- Pay-as-you-go cell phone
- Address book
- Pictures and sentimental items
- Several changes of clothes for you and your children
- Emergency money