After Leaving the Abusive Relationship

If you are getting a restraining order and your abuser is leaving:

  • Change your locks.
  • Put dead bolt locks on your doors.
  • If you can, replace any wood doors with steel or metal doors.
  • If you have the money, think about installing a security system.
  • Try to make sure that the outside of your house is well-lit. Think about getting a lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to the house (motion sensitive lights).
  • Keep bushes, trees, and other plants around your house well-trimmed. That way, you’ll be able to see more of what is happening outside.
  • Change your phone number. Tell the phone company to not list your new phone number.
  • Call the telephone company to request caller ID. Ask that your phone be blocked so that if you call, neither your partner or anyone else will be able to get your new, unlisted phone number.
  • If you can, change the hours that you work. Take different routes to work. Avoid the route you took when you and your abuser were together.
  • When you’re taking the children to school, take different routes. Avoid the route you took when you were with your abuser.
  • Tell anyone who takes care of your children who is allowed to pick up your children. Explain your situation to them. Give them a copy of your restraining order.
  • Take a different route to the grocery store, hardware store, restaurants, and any other place you go on a regular basis. Use different places if you can.
  • Try not to travel alone. Stay in public and well-lit places as much as you can.
  • Avoid walking or jogging alone.
  • Keep a certified copy of your restraining order with you at all times.
  • Let friends, neighbors and employers know that you have a restraining order in effect;
  • Give copies of your restraining order to your employers, neighbors, and schools. Also give them a picture of your abuser.
  • Tell people you work with about the situation. See if a receptionist or someone else can screen your calls.
  • Call law enforcement if your abuser violates the order.
  • Carry a cell phone if you can, but don’t count on it too much. Cell phones may not get good service in some places, and batteries do run out. Ask your local domestic violence organization if they give out cell phones. Have emergency numbers on speed dial.
  • If you need help in a public place, yell “FIRE”. People respond more quickly to someone yelling “fire” than to any other cry for help.
  • Stay in touch with your local domestic violence organization for support.
  • Get a full check-up with your doctor to see if you need medical treatment. Keep in mind that your abuser may not have been faithful. Consider getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

If you leave:

  • Have an address that’s different from where you’re living. Think about renting a P.O. Box from your post office, of using a friend’s address.
  • Be aware that addresses are on restraining orders and police reports. Before filling out your new address on any forms, ask if there’s any way to keep your address confidential.
  • Tell the phone company to not list your new address and phone number.
  • Call the telephone company to request caller ID. Ask that your phone be blocked to keep other people from getting your new, unlisted phone number.
  • Be careful about giving out your new address and phone number.
  • Change your work hours if you can.
  • If you have children, let their school know what is going on.
  • Consider changing your children’s schools.
  • Reschedule appointments you made before leaving that your abuser may know about.
  • Take a different route to the grocery store, hardware store, restaurants, and any other place you go on a regular basis. Use different places if you can.
  • Consider telling your new neighbors about the situation. Make a plan with them for when you need help. Have a signal, like flashing the lights on and off or hanging something out the window, to tell them you need help.
  • Talk to people you trust about the violence.
  • Put dead bolt locks on your doors.
  • If you can, replace any wood doors with steel or metal doors.
  • If you have the money, think about installing a security system.
  • Try to make sure that the outside of your house is well-lit. Think about getting a lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to the house (motion sensitive lights). Keep bushes, trees, and other plants around your house well-trimmed. That way, you’ll be able to see more of what is happening outside.
  • Tell people you work with about the situation. See if a receptionist or someone else can screen your calls.
  • Tell anyone who takes care of your children who is allowed to pick up your children. Explain your situation to them. Give them a copy of your restraining order if you have one.
  • Carry a cell phone if you can, but don’t count on it too much. Cell phones may not get good service in some places, and batteries do run out. Ask your local domestic violence organization if they give out cell phones. Have emergency numbers on speed dial.
  • If you need help in a public place, yell “FIRE”. People respond more quickly to someone yelling “fire” than to any other cry for help.
  • Stay in touch with your local domestic violence organization for support.
  • Get a full check-up with your doctor to see if you need medical treatment. Keep in mind that your abuser may not have been faithful. Consider getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.