Tips for leaving your relationship safely

Is it time to leave and put you and the children first?

In our experience, most people contemplating leaving an abusive relationship are often confused and feel “out of their depth” over what to do next, particularly where practical arrangements for separation need to be made. We appreciate there’s a lot to consider, for example, how to leave, how to obtain alternate housing, financial security and how to obtain ongoing adequate protection. There are also natural concerns about legal parenting rights and property settlement.

If you or someone you know is about to take that next step to leave a relationship, here is our advice on what to do in order to leave the relationship safely:

  • Take all important documents including passports, birth certificates, bank statements, marriage certificate, immigration documents, drivers licence, tax records
  • Take all diaries, photographs of injuries, doctors records, police records and any other evidence of abuse
  • Take any medications for yourself and the children
  • Lock your smartphone by PIN
  • Change your PIN and passcodes for ITunes, email addresses, online banking, Facebook and other social media
  • Set up a new email address
  • MyHealthRecord – change your MyGOV password or opt out to ensure the perpetrator does not continue to receive notifications about you and/or the children
  • Turn off your GPS
  • Turn off location services on Apps such as Find My IPhone, Snapchat
  • Turn off Bluetooth on your phone when not in use
  • Check your Apps and delete any Apps you are not familiar with
  • Make a copy of your car key and keep it in a safe place
  • If you remain living in the residence and the perpetrator does not, make sure you change the locks and the garage remote access codes
  • If you cannot stay at your rental, you can obtain an early release from you lease agreement through RTA
  • A good investment is a dashcam for your car and have this recording at any changeovers
  • Key into your phone all important numbers of family and friends network
  • In the event of an emergency, hit your IPhone’s power button 5x quickly and it will call 000

We also understand just leaving isn’t the answer. Here’s some important information to help with the next steps:

  • Don’t believe anything the perpetrator says to you – act only on proper advice
  • Get legal advice as soon as you can – it is important you know your rights as to protection, ouster orders, property/financial entitlements and your responsibilities regarding your children
  • Get advice from an experienced domestic violence lawyer who has family law background – so that the DV issues can be properly advocated throughout your family law matters
  • File an Application for a Protection Order in the Magistrates Court – can be done via the Police or privately e.g. through a domestic violence law firm
  • Seek counselling – DVPC, DVConnect, DVAC – can be done at no cost on a Mental Health Care Plan
  • Seek refuges for temporary accommodation – call DVConnect / DVPC will assist you
  • Change your routine – don’t follow the same paths you go to work and/or school
  • Address any urgent financial needs – Centrelink, CTH bank and NAB can give you an urgent payment
  • Ask your lawyer about spousal maintenance, Hogan Orders and other financial abuse orders
  • Redirect your mail – Australia Post will do this for free for DV affected persons
  • Change your mortgage to interest only payments – this will reduce the amount payable until settlement
  • Tell the bank you are separated and that there must be two signatures for withdrawals on joint accounts
  • Don’t be afraid to make the call/s, there is good support out there for you with you every step of the way

DV LAWYER 0410 288 169  |  www.dvlawyer.com.au
DV Connect 1800 811 811  |  www.dvconnect.org
DVPC (Gold Coast) 07 5532 9000  |  www.domesticviolence.com.au

Kathleen Simpson from DV LAWYER specialises in Domestic Violence and Family Violence and is a law firm based on the Gold Coast. We will be with you every step of the way through obtaining protection, urgent financial orders through to settling your family law matters including both children and property division.