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At The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, P.C., we know that leaving an abusive marriage is a serious matter. You and other North Carolina residents who are in a relationship that is emotionally or physically violent can feel hopelessly trapped. Escaping abuse is often complex and can even be dangerous. This is why you need an escape plan before you leave.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline warns that the most dangerous time for an abuse victim is often when he or she attempts to escape. It is essential to plan your moves carefully and to involve people you can trust to help you get to a safe place. You may include the following in your escape plan:

  • Tell someone you trust, such as a family member or best friend, that you are being abused and ask for their support.
  • Find a safe place your abuser does not know about to store emergency cash, birth certificates, personal items, clothing and other possessions you want to take with you when you escape.
  • Learn the locations and phone numbers of abuse shelters and police stations.
  • Gather evidence that you are an abuse victim, such as photos of injuries, emergency room documentation, police reports and screenshots of abusive text messages and emails.
  • Learn how to apply for a protective order when you are ready to leave.

As our page on domestic violence explains, ending an abusive relationship can be difficult, but when you have allies, support and a solid escape plan, you have a better chance of finding peace and safety.