Between Friends offers comprehensive services to individuals who are in abusive relationships. These services are all free of charge, including: a 24-hour crisis line, counseling, and legal assistance.
If you are concerned about someone else who is in an abusive relationship, click here to read more.
One of the first steps in thinking about leaving a violent relationship is to make a safety plan. We suggest the following:
- Call a domestic violence program for support. You can reach Between Friends 24-hour hotline by calling (800) 603-HELP. Call the Illinois Domestic Violence Helpline, (877) 863-6338, to find out which shelters have openings.
- If you decide to leave, think about the safest time to leave and how you would get out of the house safely. Practice to see whether you will have difficulty getting out that way.
- Keep any evidence of abuse - this will be helpful if you decide to take legal action in the future. Evidence includes: photos of bruises and injuries, ripped clothing, police documentation, threatening e-mails or voice mail messages, and medical records.
- Begin saving money little by little out of the grocery budget, or from any other source you can find.
- Open a savings account in your own name, and begin to establish a credit history independent of your partner.
- Get a post office box and have your personal mail sent there.
- Consider obtaining an Order of Protection. Click here to learn more.
Pack a bag with emergency supplies:
- A change of clothing for yourself and each child
- Copies of legal documents
- Social Security card(s)
- Identification Card(s)
- Marriage license
- Birth certificate(s)
- Green card/passport(s)
- School and vaccination records of your children
- Bank account information
- Extra set of keys (house, car, bank)
*** Do not leave your bag at home. Keep it at a safe place: a friend’s home, a neighbor’s house, or at work. ***