I’ve represented both the victim parent (usually the mother but sometimes the father) and the children in cases like these. Even in the best cases the kids and the victim parent are hurt more by the system. Mothers are usually outright victim shamed as everyone tries to ensure future safety.
Consider these questions:
- “How can you guarantee the abuser won’t find you again?”
- “How can you guarantee your next relationship won’t be abusive?”
These aren’t made up questions. I’ve been in court when they were asked in multiple cases. I’ve represented the mothers asked these questions. I’ve been the lawyer arguing that they were unfair and unanswerable. I’ve been the person the mother cries to after they were asked.
I’m proud to have had a small part in successful reunifications. As I write this I can think of one mother in particular I’ll never forget. She fought to get her kids back for almost two years after leaving her abuser. She answered those questions above and more. She had periods where she thought she would never get her kids back, but she couldn’t give up. She never did and I was happy to fight next to her. We eventually won and it was happy tears all around. I know she’s doing well now, years later, as she sent me a postcard a while ago.
However, I’ve also seen child welfare cases like the one below where the mother lost her kids because she was a victim of domestic violence.
Please take a moment to read the article. It’s well written and thought provoking I promise you that. Ms. Linda Valdez has done a phenomenal job discussing a very difficult issue.
I don’t know the solution. I believe kids should be protected. I also don’t believe victims should be further victimized.
If you’re in a domestic violence situation please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (623) 666-5771. If you’re involved with the Department of Child Safety or your local Child Protective Services because you are a victim of domestic violence and you do not already have a lawyer please reach out to one.