After Leaving the Abusive Relationship

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

  • Change your locks.
  • Try to make sure that the outside of your house is well-lit.
  • 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 not to 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.
  • When you’re taking the children to school, take different routes.
  • Tell anyone who takes care of your children or 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.
  • 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.

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, or using a friend’s address.
  • Be aware that addresses appear 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 not to 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 your abuser may know about.
  • Take a different route to the grocery store, hardware store, restaurants, social places, 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.
  • Try to make sure the outside of your house is well-lit.
  • 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 or 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.
  • 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.
  • Seek ongoing support from local domestic violence and mental health service providers.