"This particular client was referred to New Directions of Consolidated Care by the Champaign County Municipal Court for legal advocacy assistance. The victim, “Betty”, had been assaulted by a boyfriend that had previously assaulted another victim, a mutual client of the court’s and New Directions’ a year ago. The client was shocked by the violence that had occurred. She had never been abused before and was a middle age woman recovering from a long term, debilitating illness. The man had been introduced to her by a family friend who was unaware of his history of violence and Betty had moved from another state to be with him here in Urbana. They had mutual friends from her home state. She was also caring for his child and was emotionally tied into the family when the attacks began. She was the only one employed with all the utilities and apartment lease in her name as is often the tactics of batterers. Her vehicle had been left behind and she feared it had been sabotaged by her boyfriend to keep her stranded with him. Betty was worried for the safety of her out of -state family due to the batterer’s vengeful nature, veiled threats and past retaliations for being arrested. She was continuously slandered on Face Book as he manipulated everyone against her.
Betty and I worked together with the victim witness from the prosecutor’s office and they assisted her with support and food as she was penniless. Once the client learned of our program she made the decision not to go back home, but stay here and be a willing witness during the upcoming trial. After a pre-trial was accomplished the victim witness from the prosecutor’s office and I packed up all her belongings in two vehicles and moved her belongings to the new shelter in Logan County, Soteria House.
Betty has been living at Soteria for the past few months with all her housing, food, clothing, personal items provided for; has steady employment; able to save up and get her car towed back to Ohio and her retrieve her belongings with a rental truck, got her vehicle repaired, paid for medical treatments, attends weekly support groups, and saving for her first month’s rent and security deposit for a new home. When her adult daughter and child went homeless, we were able to make a connection for them at Caring Kitchen and they moved to Champaign County to be near our client and make a new life together.
The court case was long and difficult with excellent testimony by Betty and an Urbana police officer but the jury still found him not guilty. These are more of the barriers that domestic violence clients face when they try to leave and seek justice.
When Betty, her daughter, and grandchild do move into their home, New Directions will apply for the confidential address program that the Ohio Attorney General has initiated this year. Betty has learned about batterer’s characteristics, red flags to look for, and has a clearer understanding of personal boundaries and her rights to live violent free. She is a hard worker, a caring and friendly person that has an opportunity to start over with a violent free life."