Are you still living with your abuser?
If you are living with your abuser and you are deciding to leave, there is some important information to consider so that you and your children and pets are safe. Here is a list of tips to help you and your family safely leave.
Have emergency contacts handy
This information is a starting point. It’s very important to know that you need specialist support when you decide to leave. Specialist support can be a local safe haven or facility that helps and supports women and children that have been abused or find themselves in an abusive situation. You can call the LifeLine Stop Gender-Based Violence Line – 0800 150 150 for counselling support and to find more resources.
Is there a friend, neighbour, work colleague or family member you trust? Let them know you might be at risk from your partner. Arrange a secret code with someone who lives close by (like ringing and hanging up, or a blank text), that lets them know you need help. You could also think about telling a professional you trust for example your doctor or your teacher.
Get Specialist help
Find a local shelter or charity in your area that can provide ongoing support, without your partner finding out. Many have ‘drop ins’, where you can access support without having made an appointment. If you are searching online, remember that your partner might be tracking your search history – try and use a computer they do not have access to (e.g. at work, or in a public library, or a trusted friend’s phone or computer). Find out more about safer browsing here, and keeping your devices safe from your partner by clicking the button below.
Contact the Police
Be ready to call 10111 if you or your children are in danger. You can also call LifeLine Stop Gender-Based Violence Line – 0800 150 150 in a non-emergency situation to report previous incidents or get advice from a counsellor.
Keep a record
Keeping record of your abuse can help you in the long run. Think about a way of collecting evidence of your abuser’s behaviour safely. Make notes of abusive incidents, including times, dates, names and details of how it made you feel. Tell your doctor or nurse at the clinic, so that they have a record of the abuse. Save any abusive text messages. These can be used as evidence at a later date. However, make sure they aren’t stored anywhere (physically, or digitally) where your partner might find them. Consider keeping a diary and have a colleague at work or friend keep it safe for you. The Vault is a digital safe place to store important information for vulnerable victims. You can find out more on the SA Women Fight back website by clicking the button below.
If it is possible to do so without alerting your partner, start putting some money aside for if you need to leave in a hurry. You could also think about ways you might gain financial independence away from your partner, in the future.
Make copies of passports, birth certificates, court orders, marriage certificates, and keep them in a safe place. You could ask someone you trust to keep copies safe for you.