How to Leave Safely

How to Leave Safely

If you are in an unsafe relationship, you might be thinking of leaving. You may be experiencing doubts or fears or just feel overwhelmed. That is normal.

A safety plan can help you remain safe while in a relationship and know what to do when you are ready to leave. Having a plan in place can help you get out safely.

If you would like to talk to someone about your situation and steps you can take to leave your situation safely, please call the Blue Water Safe Horizons Crisis Hotline toll-free at 1-888-985-5538. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An advocate can help you plan your departure so it can be done safely.

If texting is an easier way for you to reach out, please use our Crisis Text Line* at 1-810-824-7948.

*Please note that standard messaging and data rates may apply.

When you leave an abuser, the most important thing is your life and safety as well as your children’s. If you are able to plan your departure from your unsafe situation, it will help you to have important items with you.

Planning Your Departure

Are you planning to leave a domestic violence or sexual abuse situation?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Pack clothing for yourself and your children. Remember to bring the following pieces of information with you:
  • Car keys
  • Driver’s license
  • Money and credit cards
  • Savings and checking account information
  • Passports or immigration papers for you and your children
  • A written copy of phone numbers or important addresses
  • Medical information
  • Birth certificates and Social Security numbers for yourself and your children
  • Deed to your home or a rent or lease agreement
  • Medications for yourself, your children and your pets
  • A favorite toy for your children
  • Special items such as photographs
  • Michigan Health & Human Services records/information
  • Children’s immunization records
  • Pets (Blue Water Safe Horizons has an on-site pet shelter)

When is the Safest Time to Leave

The decision to leave an abusive/dangerous situation is never an easy one. When you believe you have reached a point where you believe it is the best thing for you, your children and your pets, please consider following these steps:

  • Do not threaten to take the children and pets in the midst of an argument with an abusive partner. This can enrage your partner and make your situation even more dangerous.
  • If possible, gather all of the information and belongings you want to bring with you when your abuser/partner is not at home and leave with your children, pets and belongings while he/she is still gone.
  • Do not leave a note and do not reach out/text/call your partner to tell him/her that you are leaving.
  • It might be unsafe if an abusive partner finds out you’re thinking about leaving. Try to talk only to people who will not tell the abuser about your plans.
  • Do not post on social media.

What Happens Next

  • If you don’t have a friend or family member to go to, you still have a safe option. Blue Water Safe Horizons has an emergency shelter. To access shelter, contactBlue Water Safe Horizons’ 24-Hour Crisis Hotline at 1-888-985-5538, or the Crisis Text Line* at 1-810-824-7948.If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.


  • If you have taken shelter through Blue Water Safe Horizons, once you arrive at the shelter, our staff will help you work through the process of stabilizing your children and pets, and helping connect you with resources to help you move on in your life. BWSH can support you in searching for a job, identifying affordable housing and walking you through any court issues such as filing personal protection orders and/or child custody or divorce issues.
  • If you have taken shelter with a friend or family member, Blue Water Safe Horizons can still help you with many of the issues that pertain to leaving an abusive relationship and dangerous living situation. Please reach out and contact Blue Water Safe Horizons to set up and appointment to learn more about the various services and resources available to you and your family.

A great online resource for more in-depth safety planning, can be found HERE.