Practical steps to safety

It can take time to decide whether you’re ready to leave an abusive partner. This page has steps to prepare you to move to a safe place – now or later.

Tell someone you trust

Reach out to someone you can trust. Tell them about your situation. Ask them if they can help.

Whether you want to leave or stay, find someone who can support you – this might be a support service, friend, colleague, or family member. You need at least one person who can listen and help you with practical things.

Ask for a regular check-in

Ask your supporter to check in with you regularly in a safe way. Decide what the supporter should do if you don’t respond to a check-in.

What can I do to support someone experiencing family violence?

Prepare for safety

Whether you want to stay or go, preparations for keeping safe are similar. The goal is that if you do want to leave – now or later – you have everything you need for taking care of your basic needs and rights.

Arrange a safe word and sign

Choose a safe word with your supporters and children that means ‘Call the police’. 

Things to do if you plan to stay

If you’ve decided you’re staying, tell your support people. And get ready so that if things get worse, you can be prepared to leave quickly.

Phone, keys, charger

Have your phone charged and keep it within reach as much as possible. Also keep your keys on you as much as possible and keep your phone charger handy. If you leave, take all three.


Have a plan for getting somewhere safe. For example, if you have a car, try to keep enough petrol in the tank for this trip.

Copies of documents for you and your kids

Make copies of all your most important documents if possible. Copy these three kinds of documents — your ID and/or passport, your children’s birth certificates, and property documents (like your tenancy contract or house title).

Keep the copies at a safe location such as a supporter’s home, your work and in your car.

Pick a safe time if you decide to leave

Choose a time to leave that’s a safe part of your routine. It might be when your partner is out, or when you usually run an errand like taking the kids to school. Some refuges may also be able to help you to find a safe space for your pets if you choose to leave.

Go to safety and get help

Go straight to a safe place and call the police, or a family violence service like:

Women’s Refuge – 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843

Shakti – 0800 SHAKTI or 0800 742 584