Victims of Spousal Abuse are Losing Their Children to Social Services [psmag.com]

 

Amy, a domestic violence survivor and disabled veteran of the Iraq War, did everything in her power to protect her son. Her abuser—who threw her off a third-floor balcony and nearly ended her life multiple times—is also her son's biological father.

In 2012, Amy's abuser, Terrance, kidnapped their four-year-old son from daycare and broke into Amy's rental home in Texas, where he assaulted her. Two weeks after the kidnapping, a stranger dropped Amy's son back off at daycare with a burn on his face. To this day, Amy has no idea who returned her child. Terrance was arrested and later convicted of domestic violence assault, burglary, and violation of a criminal no-contact order. The Texan court hearing the case granted Amy full custody and cut Terrance off any access to his son, which is rare even in situations where domestic violence is present. But for Amy and her son, the terror wasn't over.

Later that year, Amy and her son moved to Washington state for safety. Both of them were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and—partially because Terrance failed to pay any child support—Amy struggled to find affordable health-care coverage. In desperation, Amy reached out to Washington's Department of Social and Health Services for help. Her son's severe PTSD, caused by his father, was manifesting in violent outbursts, and Amy knew that he needed trauma-informed treatment. DSHS didn't provide any support; instead, it took her son away and placed him in foster care for almost 18 months.

[For more on this story by NATALIE PATTILLO, go to https://psmag.com/social-justi...ousal-abuse-children]

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