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What should I do if I am still in the relationship?
If you cannot safely leave the relationship right now, or if you're just not ready to leave, you should still think about ways to keep yourself safe. You might want to think about taking the following precautions:
- Keep important phone numbers nearby at all times. Always have a cell phone or have change for a phone call. Important numbers to carry include: the police, domestic violence hotlines or shelters, family and friends.
- Bring money when you go out so you are not left stranded or dependent on the person you're with.
- Keep a journal of all incidences of violence.
- Explain to as many people as you can trust that if they see anything happen, if you disappear, or they think you may be in danger for any reason, they should call 911. People to tell include:
roommates, friends, family, people at work or school.
- Develop code words with friends and family to use to signal to them that you are in immediate danger.
- Plan escape routes from places like school, home, the abuser's home and work.
- Become familiar with domestic violence, youth or homeless shelters that you can go to in an emergency.
- Avoid going into rooms with possible weapons around, like a kitchen, or rooms where there are no exits during an explosive incident.
- Try not to be alone in isolated areas in public. Try to get a ride to school, or ask someone to walk or ride the bus with you.
- Find a person or place where you can leave emergency money, keys and clothes.
- Join a support group for victims of dating and domestic violence.
- Make sure the original and copies of important documents (for example, identification, health insurance, immigration papers and other records) are someplace safe and where you can easily find them but the abuser cannot.
- Keep all documentation of the abuse in a place where the abuser will not find it.
- Know where the local police station and courthouse are located and their hours of operation.
- Choose an email account password that the abuser will not be able to guess so that the abuser won't be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail.
- Print and save any threatening or harassing e-mail messages the abuser may send.
- If you are accessing information about domestic violence on a computer the abuser has access to, learn how to clear the computer's history or empty the cache file in the browser's settings after accessing the Internet. Or, access the Internet at a local library, a friend's house, or at work.
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