Leaving the Relationship

If the person decides to leave the relationship, she/he is potentially in the greatest danger. Given that the abusive person may be experiencing a loss of control, he/she may resort to new and potentially more lethal forms of violence. Therefore, it is critical at this time to reassess the level of risk while strategizing ways the survivor can safely leave and to connect the client to a local domestic violence program. The following are important:

  • A plan for where to go upon leaving.
  • Possibility of using a domestic violence shelter.
  • Supports (emotional and financial) in place.
  • Consideration of obtaining a restraining order.
  • Consideration of what to do if there is unexpected contact.
  • If the survivor is fleeing/going into hiding, consideration of what to do in the event the abuser finds her/him after leaving.

In any case, decisions need to be left up to the discretion of the survivor. The survivor is the expert and is the best one to anticipate how the partner will respond to any changes that occur in the relationship.