The decision to leave an abusive situation is difficult and dangerous. If the decision to return home is made, that decision is respected. If the decision is made to leave, a medical professional can assist in the development of an escape plan for the patient and their children (if necessary) before a dangerous situation occurs. The following areas are reviewed:
- Are there warning signs you recognize before an assault takes place? Can you leave to get help before the assault?
- Are there weapons in the house? Where? Can you remove them? Can you remove the ammunition?
- Can you work with neighbors on a signal to call the police?
- Have you memorized emergency numbers?
- Do the children know how to call 911?
- If there is not a phone, how can you get to one?
- How will you get out of the house safely? Can you set up a routine where it is normal for you to leave for short periods?
- If a fight is unavoidable, is there a room with an exit that you can get to? Try to stay away from rooms where weapons might be available.
- Who can you enlist (friends, family, coworkers, religious leaders, neighbors, and professionals) in the safety plan?
- Can you collect and hide money, and put important documents in one place where they can be easily grabbed? (see the checklist of items to take when leaving a violent situation)
- Can you leave these items with a friend?
- Do you have a safe place to go? Call a shelter if necessary. Keep telephone numbers to shelters and police in a location hidden from the abuser.
- If you must leave the children at home, call the police as soon as you get to safety.
Domestic Violence Checklist: What you need to take when you leave, if possible.
____ Money, checkbook
____ Bank books
____ Identification: Driver's license, social security cards, passport, green card, public assistance ID, work permit, welfare identification, birth certificates (yours and your children's)
____ Lease, rental agreement, house deed
____ Divorce or paternity papers
____ Medical records of all family members
____ House and car keys
____ Insurance papers
____ Address book
____ School records
____ Personal protection orders (PPOs)/legal records
____ Children's small toys