Leaving an Abusive Situation
What Should I Consider When Planning to Leave an Abusive Situation?
An Elder Abuse Safety Plan Resource
The following are ways to remain safe when preparing to leave your home if you are living with a family member who is hurtful:
- Open a savings account in your own name to establish or increase your independence.
- Consider direct deposit of your paycheck or benefit check to ensure control over your money.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
- Determine who will let you stay with them or, if necessary, lend you some money.
- Keep your community’s elder abuse program phone number close at hand and keep some change or a telephone calling card with you at all times for emergency phone calls.
- Consider getting a cellular phone, if possible. These phones have come down in price, as have the monthly plans. Also, there are disposable phones available that you can buy with a predetermined amount of minutes, so you don’t have to buy into a monthly plan.
- Contact your local Department for the Aging (or in New York City, dial 311) to learn about eligibility for public and private benefits and services. This information can be very helpful in providing you with supportive benefits and services when relocating.
- Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave the family member causing harm, and have your leave bag packed and at the ready to leave your home, including any important essentials.
- Leaving can be the most dangerous time. The person abusing you might feel like he or she is losing control, and may want to regain control by harming you. If you feel unsafe when you are preparing to leave, call 911 and request a police escort.
- If you have to communicate with the person abusing you, arrange to do so in the safest way possible (e.g., by phone, mail, or in the company of another person).
Comprehensive Safety Planning Document (Downloadable PDF)