As part of your safety planning, you should be deciding what to take and what to leave behind. This can be a confronting exercise. This feeling is very normal, and if you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, you might want to speak with someone.
An escape bag is a bag that contains all of your essential items. Having a packed escape bag will allow you to easily take with you everything you need if you and your children (if you have any) need to leave your home quickly.
The list below may help you to decide what to pack:
Originals if possible, but copies are better than nothing
- Driver’s license
- Pension or healthcare card
- Medicare card and Centrelink card
- Birth certificates – yourself and your children’s
- Passports – yourself and your children’s
- Immunisation documents for children
- Immigration papers
- A document that contains proof of address (such as a rates notice or telephone bill)
- Bank statements
If you are taking photos of documents, store them in a separate area of your mobile phone to the main photo album (such as the PDF section in the Books app on an iPhone).
- Marriage certificate
- Restraining order
- Car registration papers
- Insurance papers
- Medical records for you and your children
- School records for your children
- Share/ other securities documents
- Last Will and Testament
- Any other Court Orders
- Bank account numbers or copies of statements
- Purse, credit cards in your name, and some cash
- Lease agreement or mortgage papers
- Tax, employment or income documents
- Sentimental jewellery (or you can remove these from the house ahead of time, and store them with a trusted friend or relative)
- Certificate of title of any land or house you own
- Spare house keys
- Spare mobile phone (with prepaid SIM card that cannot be traced to you) and charger
- List of important phone numbers (in case you cannot take your mobile phone with you)
- Change of clothes for you and your children, and one pair of shoes
- Nappies, baby formula, bottles, baby food, dummy
- Recent photo of the person using violence (for identification)
- Personal care items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush, etc.
- A favourite toy for each child
- Diary of abuse, if you have kept one
When you start collecting things for your escape bag, do so gradually. Start with small things that are unlikely to be noticed, such as passports, photos, and ID.
Consider where you might hide your escape bag. You may choose to hide it with a trusted friend or family member. You may otherwise be able to hide things in:
- Game boxes
- Under the soles of your shoes
- In the spare tyre compartment in the boot of your car
- Under the back seat in your car
- In the roof cavity of the house
If you do choose to leave, you can request police to accompany you back to the house at a later time to retrieve your personal possessions. Do not ever put your safety at risk to retrieve property or possessions.