• April Hardy

How To Pack a Domestic Violence Go Bag in 4 Simple Steps



Emergency bags (aka Go-Bags) are important.


If you need to run from your home in an emergency, having a bag ready with some clothes, important papers and cards, medications, and money in it is invaluable. Some people choose to keep their Go Bags in their homes, others keep them in their car, while others prefer to keep them at alternate locations like a friend's house. In a crisis situation, your focus needs to be on survival, not “Where is my money?” or “Where are my glasses?”.


Step 1 - get a bag

Step 2 - gather the belongings you choose from the list below

Step 3 - put those belongings in the bag

Step 4 - put the bag somewhere you will be able to get to it in an emergency


That's simple enough, right?




Step 1 - get a bag

This step is easy because there is no particular kind of bag required. It just needs to be big enough for you to fit the necessary things inside. You can use a backpack, a large purse, a plastic bag from grocery shopping, or a ziplock baggie if it comes down to it.



Step 2 - gather the belongings you choose from the list below


** This list is in no particular order. Please choose what belongings to pack based on what's most important to you. **

  • a copy of birth certificates and Social Security numbers for you and your children

  • passports/driver’s license/Concealed to Carry Permit/any other IDs (or copies of them)

  • medications and copies of prescriptions

  • insurance information

  • a prepaid debit card and/or cash

  • credit card (or at least the numbers)

  • copies of legal documents: marriage license, divorce decree, custody papers, leases, house deeds, jointly owned assets, separation agreements, Protection Orders

  • recent pictures of you, your children and the abuser

  • important phone numbers

  • toiletries (soap, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc.)

  • valuable jewelry

  • a spiritual or motivational book

  • sentimental toy(s) if you would have kids with you


If You’re Preparing to Leave an Abusive Relationship


  • Keep any evidence of physical abuse (like pictures and copies of medical documents).

  • If possible, keep a journal of violent incidences - with dates, what happened, and threats made.

  • Don't forget extra car keys, clothes for yourself and your children, diapers, and wipes, and a bottle and formula if needed.

** Be aware that leaving and just after leaving are often the most dangerous times. **


These lists are intended to give you ideas. It may be that you are only able to take a couple of these items with you. You may be unable to take anything. Take what you can. Your personal safety is the number one priority.



Step 3 - put those belongings in the bag

Need I say more?



Step 4 - put the bag somewhere you will be able to get to it in an emergency


Like I said, some people choose to keep their Go Bags in their homes, others keep them in their car, while others prefer to keep them at alternate locations.


Some ideas of alternate locations:

  • a friend's house

  • someone from church's house

  • a local business

  • your workplace

  • a family member's house

  • in the care of a counselor or sponsor




Go Bags are great safety tools even if you're not in an abusive relationship, but they can be invaluable when it comes to domestic violence.


Domestic violence tears you down over time. It makes you feel weak and worthless. If you packed your Go Bag today, you should be proud of yourself! You took a huge step back into owning your power and self worth! Even if you never have to use it, you will find some relief knowing that you did what you needed to to make sure that you and your children will be safe.


Stay safe until we meet again!





Bonus Safety Tip


If you have a key fob and you park in front of your house, keep the fob in your nightstand or next to your bed. It should have a hazard button on it which you can push in the event of a break-in. Hopefully, it will scare the intruder away, and at the very least it can help the police find your house quicker.


Self-Defense for Women with Tim Larkin


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