Finding a safe place to go:
If you do not have family or friends you can stay with where the perpetrator will not find you, you can call SAFELINK's Free, Multilingual 24-hour hotline 1-877-785-2020 to find out where there are current DV shelter openings. Safelink's list is updated 2x per day.
Important items to pack when preparing to leave a domestic violence situation:
- Driver's License or State Issued ID
- Birth Certificates of yourself and your children
- Social Security Card
- Restraining Orders
- Green Card, Work Permit or Visa
- Health Insurance Cards and/or paperwork
- Important Medical Records
- Registration & Insurance paperwork for car
- Lease and/or deed to house
- School Records
- Credit or Debit Cards
- Cell phone
- List of important phone numbers
- Change of Clothes
- Photographs of self, children and perpetrator
Massachusetts Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence, Rape, Sexual Assault and Stalking:
Increasing safety in the aftermath of leaving an abusive situation:
- Applying for the Address Confidentiality Program. One can apply once one has relocated to a new address unknown to the perpetrator.
- Making sure all communications from bank, creditors, phone company, etc. are paperless and not switching these accounts over to one’s new address.
- Reviewing privacy policies for bank, credit card, health insurance, etc. and making sure to actively opt out of having one’s information shared or sold to third parties.
- Changing one’s current passwords for accounts (bank, email, etc.). Putting a freeze on one’s credit reports so that they can only be accessed via password.
- Transferring to a different job or different branch or department within one's current job.
- Obtaining a Restraining Order and giving copies of the order and a photo of the abuser to schools, places or work, etc. so that others are aware of the potential for danger and know not to allow this person on the premises.
- Checking one’s car for any GPS devices (such as a cell phone with a GPS feature) the abuser may have attached. Sometimes trained police can do this if one has reported the crimes. General mechanics may not know what to look for.
- Making sure personal information is not coming up in the public domain (google searches, social media, etc.) and that one’s cell phone is not transmitting GPS coordinates or other information about one’s location that is visible to other parties.
- Taking caution when considering legally changing one’s name as many states mandate that name changes or changes to birth certificates be announced in the local paper. This can publicly link the old name to the new name and draw more attention to where the survivor is living.