A safety plan
Leave copies of documents, spare clothing and toiletries for yourself and your children, some cash, spare keys, medication and other essential items with a trusted friend in case of sudden flight.
Try not to react in a way which may cause suspicion. Always be aware of your need for safety and have a plan.
Tell children what they need to know only when they need to know it. Wait until plans are well advanced before talking to them. They don’t need the stress of keeping a difficult secret.
Practical issues around money
Withdraw money from the bank. Leave enough money there to cover any outstanding bills (if possible). It is important to do this as soon as practical before your partner has had a chance to empty the account or put a freeze on it. Remove your name from joint back accounts and credit cards so that you will not be responsible if your partner runs up any debts.
If you have your own account, do not use your key card until your mailing address at the back has been changed, otherwise your partner will be able to find out where you are by simply reading your bank statements.
Arrange for your name to be taken off the lease and the electricity, phone and any other bills when you leave, otherwise you will be responsible for paying these.
Prior to leaving
If you have made contact with agencies such as Centrelink (DHS) social worker, Domestic Violence services or legal help ensure that the contact information you provide them is safe.
- Talk to family or friends you trust whose address you can use and who will keep your mail safe.
- Set up a PO Box that is not in the suburb in which you live.
Do not give out your phone number to such agencies if there is a chance your partner would answer the phone.
Be aware that anyone who has access to your phone can find out who you last called by pressing the redial button on your phone. If you call someone for legal advice, support etc when you hang up:
- Dial a safe number such as your children’s school or work or friend so that will show up as the last number you used.
- Delete the numbers that you called.
- Delete browsing on your internet.
- Make sure your Bluetooth is turned off. If you can afford a new phone please buy as women report that abusive partners have installed ‘spyware’ apps and or install on computer.
- If you use a GPS do not install your ‘safe place’ as it may be known before you leave.