In an ideal world, leaving an abusive partner would involve a carefully thought out plan that ensures the utmost safety of the survivor, as well as any children and pets also caught in the situation. Of course, in an ideal world, domestic violence wouldn’t even be an issue, so this point is moot. However, when you’ve decided it’s time to leave, there are some things you can ask an advocate or a shelter that can help you find the safest and best shelter option possible to meet your needs – unless of course the need to leave is of a life threatening nature.
To find a shelter near you, you can search DomesticShelters.org for shelters near you, or in another desired area.
Important questions to ask any shelter:
- Do you have room available when I am ready to leave my abuser?
- How close are you to my home? (You need to consider what is safest for you and your family — being as far away as possible from your abuser or staying within a familiar neighborhood.)
- Can you take my kids?
- Can you take my pets?
- Are you within my children’s school district or do you offer schooling options?
- Do you have any childcare options available?
- Can you help guide me safely out of my home? (Most shelters should provide assistance with making a safe escape plan, but if they don’t have the resources available, you can also contact an advocate at the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-SAFE to help you.)
- Do you offer legal services? (This is helpful if you need to file for an order of protection, start divorce proceedings or want to apply for sole custody of your children.)
- Do you offer substance abuse counseling?
- Do you have support groups or any other types of counseling support options?
- How long can I stay at your shelter? Do you offer assistance with transitional housing after that? (If facing homelessness, some organizations can help a survivor transition to another temporary housing option for up to 24 months.)
- Do you provide any job assistance?