Making the decision to leave - Hastings Women's Refuge

Is it time to go? Making the decision to leave an abusive partner is never easy. Your head may say it’s the right moment to walk out the door but your heart may want you to give them one more chance. If you’re thinking about leaving then you’re beginning a journey that will break you free from abuse. Here are some ways to prepare for that change.


When you realise it’s time to go

You may have tried to leave before, or perhaps this is your first time. Whichever is true, your situation may have changed because you have realised that you and your children are in danger. You may have recognised the pattern of behaviour that you’re being affected by. Or perhaps you’ve understood the effect that abuse is having on your children.

Perhaps you’ve discovered you are ready to leave because you spend a lot of time thinking and planning for it. If you are in danger now it’s important to call the Police and leave straightaway. If you aren’t in immediate danger you may find yourself considering options to get away.

Sometimes the trigger for leaving comes from a realisation that you deserve more. No one should be abused and no one deserves it: but it’s common for an abuser to make you feel like it’s your fault. If they will not change and you can not help them then it could be time to help yourself.

Keep it simple

One option to help you make your decision simple is to set out the positives and negatives of your situation. By carefully thinking through the positive impact of leaving – you should be able to get clear in your head where you want to be.

Take 5 minutes to yourself and think through the situation you are in. Compare it with where you would be if you leave. Becoming free from abuse should give you the ability to live your life safely and raise your children without fear.

Some of the challenges of leaving – somewhere to live, how you will survive, being followed by your abuser – may feel too big to overcome. Women’s Refuge has years of experiencing helping women to understand their options and supporting them when they take the first step away from abuse. Call us (0800 REFUGE). We can help you to overcome the hurdles that stand in your way.

It may not be easy

Making the decision to leave could place you at risk of further abuse. If your partner has not abused you physically before then the threat of you going could trigger this behavior. Your children may be used as leverage to keep you where you are. You may be told you won’t be able to take them with you.

Be aware of this risk but don’t let it stop you leaving. Call Women’s Refuge and we can help you work out a plan that will get you out as safely as possible. We can help you understand the protection that the Police can offer, and how you can use this to keep you safe before and after you leave.

You may be safest to leave with your children when your abuser is out of the house. Leaving can be the most dangerous time when living with an abuser. It’s important not to put your safety at risk, and plan carefully how you will get away.

Read more about creating a safety plan, tips for leaving safely and understanding what to take with you when you leave here. For example, getting the children away without telling them where they are going could protect them and you from being found out.

Your chance to take control

Leaving the abuse gives you the opportunity to take control of your life and take back the power. It isn’t easy. If you can do it you can protect your children from witnessing or suffering from abuse.

Taking children out of an abusive relationship gives you the chance to raise them with the family values that you choose. It’s an opportunity to show your children that abuse is not acceptable and teach them a better way of living and loving the people around you.

Let Women’s Refuge help

You may be concerned about where you will go once you leave or perhaps you are worried that your partner will follow you. Women’s Refuge is here to help. We can offer you a safe place to stay. If your family are located elsewhere in New Zealand we can use our network to get you away. You can choose to leave on your terms and Women’s Refuge and the Police can work together to keep you safe.

If you’re ready to leave, we are here for you. We’ve had years of experience helping women break free from abuse and begin the journey to recovering their lives and rebuilding their families. The first step may be the hardest but we will support you all the way. Call us anytime, day or night, 7 days a week. 0800 REFUGE (733 843).

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