Jackie served in the armed forces, learning how to protect others. But when she experienced domestic violence in her own home, she reached out to our Court Programs for help.
*Warning: This story contains details of a domestic violence incident that some readers may find disturbing.
Our Family Court Programs maintain close relationships with legal and law enforcement officials to gain justice for survivors of violence and help keep them safe.
*Jackie proudly served in the armed forces, fighting for our country’s freedom. She spent her entire career learning how to protect others, but had no idea that she would have to protect her family from violence in her own home.
Jackie came to Family Court to file for custody of her child. She was stunned to find out that her husband had done the same. Jackie was anxious and frightened. The clerk referred her to our Family Court Program. “When I took the first step to keep my family safe from my husband, he fought back. I was unsure about what to do or even what I could do until Safe Horizon helped me.”
Our Family Court Programs help survivors with navigating court and family legal issues including child support, child custody and visitation.
Her Battle for Peace
Safe Horizon staff let Jackie know that her son could wait at Safe Horizon’s Children’s Center; a warm, nurturing and safe place for children to go while their parents or guardians attend to court business. “My son witnessed the violence, so having the Children’s Center at the court made the situation a lot less scary for him. He later told me he had a lot of fun there.”
Jackie told our staff about the intense violence she endured. Her husband had been controlling and verbally abusive for most of their marriage. When Jackie decided to end the relationship and asked her husband for a divorce, he violently attacked her in the presence of their little boy. Fortunately, Jackie was able to get to a phone and call the police. The police officers arrested her husband, and the criminal court issued Orders of Protection for both Jackie and their son, and her husband was ordered to stay away from her. However her husband violated the Order of Protection and Jackie filed a police report.
Caring staff, such as Senior Case Manager Elba Mendoza pictured above, have provided emotional support and legal guidance for countless survivors.
Our Family Court Programs maintain close relationships with legal and law enforcement officials to gain justice for survivors of violence and help keep them safe. We were able to connect Jackie to the Assistant District Attorney in charge of her husband’s criminal case. Jackie felt relieved to have emotional support, and guidance in navigating the system. Ultimately, Jackie decided that the safest option for her was to move. Our staff was able to help Jackie apply for financial support for her move by coordinating an application with the Office of Victims Services (OVS). Jackie was determined to make things work and stayed in touch with our staff as we coordinated the necessary paperwork.
Understanding legal processes is critical to gaining justice, which is why our experts provide one-on-one help for survivors on their path to safety.
Justice for All
Jackie and her son successfully moved and their OVS applications were later approved to help pay for the moving expenses. The Order of Protection the criminal court issued remains in effect. Jackie and her son are safe. Although she will have to wait for her custody court appearance, she knows Safe Horizon will be there by her side to support her. “I feel that I am finally free from fear. I appreciate all the support the Family Court Program gave me and my son. They helped us find solace and peace of mind.”
* Client names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy. Images used are representations of Safe Horizon’s clients.