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How to prepare to escape a crisis – what to include in your GO Bag

Domestic violence is becoming a more prevalent occurrence for many families. Statistics show that 8% of all American households have experienced domestic violence. If you are a victim of domestic violence, one of the best things you can do to prepare to get away is to have a GO bag. Having a GO bag keeps you from needing to return to the abuser because you are taking your essentials to start a new life with you.

Below is a list I recommend when preparing a safety plan, but please remember that you and your children’s lives are WAY MORE IMPORTANT than THINGS. Things are replaceable.

If you have time to prepare, these items will be helpful:

  • *You and your children

  • Keys

  • Cash or individual (not joint) credit/debit cards (I usually suggest enough money to last you at least 3 days if possible)

  • Phone & charger (preferably a burner phone with a new phone number especially if you have a joint phone account with location tracking or texting)

  • New secure email address with a new email password your abuser could not guess nor attached to their phone

  • Prescription medications, glasses, contact lenses, toothbrushes, infant food & diapers

  • A change of clothes and shoes for everyone, PJ’s for everyone, and a weeks’ worth of socks and underwear

  • Important documents on disk/flash drive or in an accordion file that’s easy to grab with:

    • I.D.’s, social security cards, birth certificates, passports

    • Insurance cards

    • Marriage license(s), divorce decree(s), immigration paperwork

    • Police reports

    • Financial accounts – mortgage, 401k, retirement account, tax info for past 2-3 years, credit card statement(s), checking/savings account

    • Deed to house for purchase or sale

    • Car registration and information about insurance

    • Papers that identify your contacts

  • Irreplaceable photos/jewelry

  • Electronics – laptops, tablets, chargers, ear buds, entertainment devices

  • Comfortability – favorite blanket, candy, food, coloring book, trinket for each person

  • Pet and crate/leash if essential for your family

When preparing your GO bag, yourself and your fellow human beings are most important. As for your personal items, here are 4 questions to ask yourself to determine your must haves.

  1. Does your life depend on it, especially if you use it daily? (medications, insulin, oxygen tank, wheelchair, diabetic meter, infant supplies, etc.)

  2. Is it irreplaceable? (family treasure, photos, family heirlooms, cash, coins, family pet and crate/ leash/necessary supplies

  3. Do you use is daily? (your work laptop, vital electronics, homeschooling books, medication, comfort items like a favorite pillow or stuffed animal, 3 pairs of clothes and shoes)

  4. Is it something you keep in a home safe? (valuables, cash, and documents that might not be there when you return.

Of course, this is all in light of us enjoying our personal possessions but ultimately not worth taking our own or our loved one’s lives. The best laid plans are great, but you may have no choice but to leave it all behind.

Click the image below to instantly download a quick GO Bag list to help you pack in a crisis situation.

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