Women often find themselves in situations where they are unsure where to turn and what the best solution is for the safety of those in their care. An abusive relationship is scary for anyone. However, for my friend, “Amy,” the situation is terrifying as she has a two year old daughter with her abuser.
As of now, she is still currently living in the home and justifies her decision to stay by stating that if she leaves he will be able to be alone with their daughter during visitation. Although her fear is understandable, the current situation is far too dangerous for both her and the child. Through carefully bringing up the extremity of the circumstance and offering possible solutions, I hope to assist “Amy” in finding safety for her and her daughter.
The most difficult task that I will face will be to open “Amy” up to listening to possible solutions. It is obvious that she is reluctant to leave because she does not want her daughter to be subjected to his violent rages in a situation where she is not there to an abuser is often the reason that many women wait too long to leave. It is my hope that I can address the situation with her by explaining that, if the violence continues to escalate, then she may not be able to protect her daughter even from within the home. I plan to utilize her commitment to her daughter to gain enough of her attention to at least present some possible solutions to her problem.
Using information from the article “Leaving a Violent Spouse” (2014) on the website for the Women’s Center for Change and the article “Co-parenting with an Abusive Ex?” by Nauret (2006), I intend to formulate options for how to safely leave and possible ways to handle the situation after she is safely out of the home. Through showing her different options and ways to deal with these circumstances, I hope that she will no longer feel trapped and find her way to safety.
The initial step, of course, is to actually make her realize that she can leave safely with her child. The Women’s Center for Change (2014) recommends having a safety plan in place that consists of having one or two places to go to and a hidden bag that is packed with necessities. This will be the scariest part for her because, once she starts preparing, she will have to fight off her doubts. In order to alleviate these doubts I will explain to her the processes that she can take to get an IPO which is “one important feature in the Domestic Violence Act 1994 is the Interim Protection Order (IPO), which offers temporary legal protection for the victims” ( Co-parenting with an abusive ex?, 2006).
Once she realizes that she is able to leave safely, I will address the fear that has been preventing her from leaving in the first place. Once the abuse has been documented, “Amy” has several advocacy groups that will support her. She can then choose whether or not to press charges, insists that her abuser receives anger management classes, ensure that he is required to have supervised visits, or participates in co-parenting classes which, for safety purposes, “experts recommend that abused women be screened out of co-parenting classes”(Nauert, 2006). There are many avenues that she can take once she is out of the home. However, as of now, her only option is to provide protection.
The problem with many of the solutions is that a majority of experts and parents believe “that their children will suffer if both parents are not in their lives”(Nauert, 2006). My fear is that the child will inevitably be hurt if she stays in the care of her father. I will highly recommend that “Amy” takes the steps to leave and then press for anger management classes and supervised visits. I know that her fear for the safety of herself and her child is immense but fear should not paralyze a person beyond being able to protect themselves. If this information does not convince her to protect herself and her daughter, I will do further research as to what I can do to intervene in the situation. Perhaps, as a complaining witness, I can remove the fear of pressing charges and protect my friend and her child. Some may say that it is not my business, but I am fearful that I will regret standing by quietly.