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What to bring when leaving an abusive relationship in Illinois

Domestic abuse comes in many shapes and sizes. It includes physical abuse, emotional abuse and financial abuse, among other types of abuse. Being stuck in an abusive relationship can be toxic to a person's well-being, but victims of domestic abuse in Illinois may fear leaving their relationship or may believe there is no way out.

Fortunately, there are professionals, such as family law attorneys, who are available to help victims of domestic violence obtain a restraining order or even get a divorce. Sometimes these are the only ways that a victim of domestic violence can leave their abusers. When a victim of domestic violence does decide to leave his or her abuser and seek the help of the police, an attorney or victim advocates, he or she should make sure to bring along certain items, if at all possible.

First, victims of domestic violence should try to bring with them some sort of money, whether it is cash, a checkbook, a debit card or a credit card. In addition, identification documentation for the victim and any children they are bringing with them can be useful. This includes Social Security cards, birth certificates, work and school identification cards and green cards, among others. Important paperwork should also be brought, such as divorce papers if one has them, insurance information, medical records, rental leases or the deed to their house. If a victim has an order of protection, he or she should always keep it with him or her.

Other items that could be useful should one be leaving an abusive relationship are medications the victim takes, house keys, work keys, car keys, any bills that have yet to be paid, their mortgage or rent payment book, their address book and additional clothing. If the victim is leaving an abusive relationship and is taking his or her children with, the children's favorite toys or love objects should be brought with if possible, as should things that have sentimental value.

These tips may help those who are currently making plans to leave an abusive relationship. However, sometimes a person needs to flee an abusive relationship with little to no warning. When this happens, police, domestic violence agencies and attorneys are available to help. Therefore, those in a toxic, abusive relationship who need to leave should not hesitate to do so, even if it means they bring little with them.

Source: Illinois State Police, "Domestic Violence - What Can You Do?," accessed March 27, 2017

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