Raine and Masonís Story (Domestic Violence)
Studies show that 30 to 60 percent of children who witness domestic violence in their homes also suffer that same violence. Mason* had become one of those statistics, becoming a victim even though his mother had bravely escaped.
Mason’s mother, Raine, had called Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence Law Project in search of help when she went to family court. She’d learned that her ex-husband was continuing the abusive behavior she thought she’d left behind … only now, their child had become his target. Raine had relied on our legal services before to help her gain sole custody of her son. Now she neededsupport once again to help her deal with the terrible things that Mason had revealed about his father during his visits with him.
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Mason told his mother that his father regularly hit him and often threatened to kill both him and his mother. He also said his father forced him to work outside as a vendor and that he often took drugs while Mason was in his custody. Mason didn’t want to see his father anymore; he was terrified of him and afraid that he’d make good on his threats. Raine turned to us once more in the hopes that we could help her protect her son from his father’s violence and abuse.
Raine had turned to the right place. Since 1991, Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence Law Project has given families affected by domestic violence the legal advocacy, expertise, and representation they urgently need during times of crisis. We work with families through the family court system to obtain orders of protection, as well as help them with custody and visitation, child and spousal support, and divorce proceedings. When families must deal with criminal matters, we advocate for their interests there as well, and also provide support so they can find housing and financial assistance that helps them regain their lives after abuse.
With Raine, our first step was to file a petition to suspend Mason’s visits with his father. Then, we helped get an order of protection for Raine and Mason. Once Raine’s case went to trial, we were there as Raine took the stand to testify about the domestic violence she suffered during her marriage and the impact it had on Mason. We also helped her show what Mason had gone through during his visits with his father, with Mason testifying as a witness.
It wasn’t long before we received great news. Thanks to Mason’s and Raine’s testimony, the court was convinced to not only grant them a two-year order of protection: it permanently suspended Mason’s visitations with his father. Mason no longer had to endure his father’s abuse, violence, and threats, and Raine found the means she truly needed to keep herself and her son protected.
They thanked us for giving them a chance to find the safety they deserve. We thank you for giving us the chance to be there to help families like Raine’s when they most need us.