Natalie's Story: Survivor of Domestic Violence
Natalie and Our Court Programs ServicesNatalie* had to find the answer to that question on the day she met a Safe Horizon Court Programs case manager during her appearance in court. Natalie had come to court because the father of her child had petitioned for visitation rights shortly after she had asked for an order of protection against him. Natalie was frightened, and our staff could see and hear her fear as she told us how violent and abusive her ex-partner had been to both her and their child. Natalie wanted to be safe from her abuser, but more important, she wanted her child to be safe.
When children are involved, can a victim ever escape an abuser?
Knowing Natalie’s concerns, our staff worked with her so she could receive proper and effective support. We spoke with the court's resource staff to make sure Natalie had an attorney appointed to her case. Once she had her attorney, we talked to them both about our Supervised Visitation Program, where Natalie's child could meet with her father in a safe and carefully monitored setting.
Natalie also filed a custody petition through which she expressed concerns about her ex-partner’s drug use and, as a result, the court ordered drug testing for the father.
The next time Safe Horizon met Natalie, she was much happier. She was pleased with the safe environment for her child during the supervised visits, and her ex-partner had stopped harassing her since their last court date. A following court appearance brought the news Natalie longed to hear: Her ex-partner willingly dropped his visitation petition because he could not comply with the court-ordered drug testing, and Natalie won full custody of her child.
With custody of her child and with an order of protection in place, Natalie finally felt she and her child could live their lives free from fear, and live their lives in safety. Natalie got more great news soon after when she told our staff that she had received a promotion at her job. With support from Safe Horizon, Natalie now has a life filled with hope and with a sense of security about the future.
Learn more about Safe Horizon's Court Programs.