Your computer activity can be tracked.
Thinking of leaving your abuser?
Make a plan for how you are going to leave, including where you're going to go and how to cover your tracks. Make one plan for if you have time to prepare to leave the home. Make another plan for if you have to leave the home in a hurry.
If you can, keep any evidence of the physical abuse and take it with you when you leave. Make sure you keep this evidence in a safe place that the abuser will not find. This may mean that you have to keep it in a locked drawer at work or with a trusted family member. If the abuser finds it, you can be in more danger. Such evidence of physical abuse might include the following:
- Any pictures you have of bruises or other injuries; Date them, if possible
- Torn or bloody clothing
- Household objects that the abuser damaged or broke during a violent episode
- Pictures that show your home destroyed or messed up after violence happened
- Any records you have from doctors, or the police that documented the abuse
- A journal with details about the abuse that you may have kept
- Anything else you think could help show that you've been abused
- Spare car keys
- Your driver's license
- A list of your credit cards so you can track any activity on them
- Your checkbook
- Phone numbers for friends, relatives, doctors, schools, taxi services and your local domestic violence organizations
- A change of clothing for you and your children
- Any medication that you or your children usually take
- Copies of your children's birth certificates, social security cards, school records and immunizations
- Copies of legal documents for you and the abuser, such as social security cards, passports, green cards, medical records, insurance information, birth certificates, marriage license, wills, welfare identification information and copies of any court orders (such as your protection order or custody order)
- Copies of financial documents for you and the abuser, such as pay stubs, bank account information, a list of credit cards you hold by yourself (or together with the abuser)
- Any evidence you've been collecting to show that you've been abused
- A few things you want to keep, like photographs, jewelry or other personal items
Hide this bag somewhere the abuser will not find it. Try to keep it with a trusted friend or a neighbor's house. Avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members, or mutual friends, as the abuser might be more likely to find it there. If you are in an emergency and need to leave right away, don't worry about gathering these things. While they're helpful to have, getting out safely should be your first priority.
Hide an extra set of car keys in a place you can reach easily in case the abuser gets hold of the car keys to prevent you from leaving.
Try to set money aside. If the abuser controls the household money, this might mean that you can only save a few dollars per week. The most important thing is that you save whatever amount you can which will not tip off the abuser that will put you in further danger. You can ask trusted friends or family members to hold money for you so the abuser cannot find it and use it.
If you are not employed, try to get job skills by taking classes at a community college or a vocational school, if you can. This will help you get a job either before or after you leave so you won't need to be financially dependent on the abuser.
Getting a protective (restraining) order can be an important part of a safety plan when preparing to leave. Even if you get a protective order, you should still take other safety planning steps to keep yourself and your children safe. A legal protective order is not always enough to keep you safe. Go to your state's website or search Google to find out more about getting a protective order.
IMPORTANT: Leave when the abuser leasts expects it. This will give you more time to get away before the abuser realizes you are gone.If you have time to call the police before leaving, you can ask the police to escort you out of the house as you leave. You can also ask them to be "on call" while you are leaving. This is in the case that you need help.
What can I do for a friend who I am concerned about?
Your friend may not directly tell you that his or her partner is abusive, but there are some signs to watch for. Use your intuition. If you have a feeling that something is wrong, you are probably right.
Here are some “red flags” to watch for:
- Does your friend have repeated bruises, broken bones, or other injuries that reportedly result from “accidents”?
- Does your friend appear anxious, depressed, withdrawn, or reluctant to talk?
- Does your friend have a partner who criticizes him or her in front of you, making remarks that make you feel uncomfortable when you’re around the two of them?
- Does your friend make excuses for the abusive partner’s behavior?
- Does your friend refuse invitations because the abusive partner doesn’t approve?
- Does your friend often wear inappropriate clothing for the weather conditions? This may mean wearing long sleeves or turtle necks in the summer to cover up bruises.
What are my rights as a victim?
- The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
- The right to notification and information.
- The right to be present.
- The right to be heard.
- The right to reasonable protection from intimidation and harm.
- The right to restitution.
- The right to information and referral.
- The right to apply for victim compensation (for violent crime victims).
- The right to speedy proceedings.
- Special rights and protections.
From the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, National Victim Assistance Academy, 2006
Some studies show that a victim is 75% at more risk of being killed after he or she leaves the abuse. Why is that?
Within those first two years after leaving, the abuser is usually trying to get back with the victim. During this time, if the abuser’s advances go unwarranted, this can anger the abuser. No matter what is going on, the abuser may still blame the victim for whatever goes wrong in the abuser’s life. Many times, abusers still has the belief they can get the victim back; often they will seem as if they have changed. Abusers will use whatever tactics they can to "get back together", be more loving, more attentive, more concerned for your well being. This is confusing for a victim. More often than not, the victim is struggling to pay the bills, having a hard time with the children, possibly just making it through the day. The abuser may appear to be the "knight in shining armor", thus leading the victim to believe he or she has changed and, more often than not, the victim will go back to the abuser, only for the abuse to start over again but this time escalating to more violence and more control. The abuser will use the fact that the victim couldn’t "make it" on his or her own, thus making the victim feel even more trapped than before. Additionally, family members and friends who do not understand the dynamics of domestic violence may not be willing to help the next time, not because they don’t love you but because they just don’t understand the control the abuser has over the victim.
We are here to help. This is what we are all about; helping during these next two years to help put your life back in order and give you the skills and strength you need to keep you and your kids safe. Our number one goal is for you to be safe. Just when you think no one understands your situation, there are others that have been where you are. Please let us help you and your children stay safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Some studies show that a victim is 75% at more risk of being killed after he or she leaves the abuse. Why is that?
- What safety steps should I take even if I think the abuser does NOT have access to my email account?
- What should I do if I receive threatening or harassing emails from the abuser?