Preparing to leave an abusive relationship

It is common for people who have not experienced intimate partner violence to wonder, “Why don’t they just leave?” The answer is not as simple as the question implies.

By design, people who use violence in a relationship work hard to make it difficult for their partner to leave. The goal of violence and abuse is to maintain power and control over another person. In many cases, people who use violence restrict a survivor's access to resources and support, as well as deny survivors self-determination. With little or no support and limited resources, it is very difficult for survivors to flee. Before they leave, they must think about their physical safety, their financial security, where they might find secure housing, and the safety and welfare of children and pets, among other things.

Survivors are experts in their lived experiences and in their pathways to healing. They are best equipped to determine when and how to leave a relationship as well as what resources and support systems will help them maintain their safety. When a survivor is ready to leave a relationship, advocates will be available to help them make a plan. See our Shelter Programs for more information about our member programs and their support services.