A young woman came into the BrightHouse office. She was shy, a bit nervous, and spoke minimal English. Because of the language barrier, we paired her with our Spanish speaking Victim Advocate. During her intake, she revealed she has two young children, works full time, does not have any family in the area, and has been experiencing physical abuse at the hands of her partner, her youngest child's father, for years. She spoke of how things were so great with him in the beginning. So when the abuse started a couple years after they began dating, she was shocked. She stayed with him for as long as she could, telling herself she needed to make it work for the sake of her children and praying every day he would change. Unfortunately, the abuse continued and eventually escalated. She decided it was time for her to leave him, and she did. However, shortly after leaving him, he took their youngest child from her care and would not allow her to see him. She did not know what to do or where to turn to get her child back.
Our BrightHouse Advocate listened intently, and provided options for her. Ultimately, she decided on filing a Protection from Abuse order (PFA). She authorized our Victim Advocate to contact law enforcement on her behalf to find out steps needed in order for her to get her child back from her abuser. Unfortunately, law enforcement told the Victim Advocate it was a civil matter and they could not help her with her efforts without a custody agreement signed by a judge. She and her Advocate discussed options and she decided to seek legal assistance in hiring an attorney. The Advocate provided interpreting services so she could communicate effectively with her attorney. She, her Advocate, and attorney went to the court hearing for the Protection from Abuse. The judge granted the Protection from Abuse order for one year and ordered that her abuser return the child to her. After so many weeks of not being able to see her child because of her abuser, she was finally reunited with her child.
Months later, she is thriving! She maintains custody of her two young children, has a PFA in place, and continues to work and provide for them. She states “estoy libre” “I'm free.” She comes and visits her Victim Advocate once in a while to talk about how life is going good for her and her children. She tells her Advocate she is happy and most importantly she finally feels safe.