Sanctuary for the Abused
Sunday, September 24, 2017
How Friends & Family Can Help an Abuse Victim
Block the abuser and do not communicate with them: 'Not taking sides' or 'remaining neutral' is anything but. Block the abuser, support the victim. Period.
How many times have you heard the phrase, "well, why don't you just leave him/her?" Probably more times then you can count. Although the topic of abuse is something that many of us can relate to, there are those out there who don't quite understand. In fact, one of the common reasons that abuse victims stay with their abuser is because of family issues, and fear of their family's rejection.
Although this is not the case in every situation, it happens more often then not. Through this system of lack of support or denial the victim becomes more isolated and eventually more connected to their abuser. Once this feeling of isolation has thoroughly sunk in the mind of an abuse victim, it becomes even more difficult to leave. An abuser has a powerful hold on their victim, and without assistance from family or friends, that hold can become almost unbreakable. After all, why leave if there is nothing else to go to?
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Different Types of Abuse
If you recognise these behaviours as part of your life, please get some help and leave before it's too late. If you recognise them in someone you know, talk to them and help....many women (victims) out there are silently crying for help!
Please note: that in most cases I have referred to the victim as a woman and the abuser as a man for easier explanation.
- any unwanted physical attention
- kicking, punching, pushing, pulling, slapping, hitting, shaking
- cutting, burning
- pulling hair
- squeezing hand, twisting arm
- choking, smothering
- throwing victim, or throwing things at victim
- restraining, tying victim up
- forced feeding
- hitting victim with objects
- knifing, shooting
- threatening to kill or injure victim
- ignoring victim's illness or injury
- denying victim needs (eg. food, drink, bathroom, medication etc.)
- hiding necessary needs
- pressuring or tricking victim into something unwanted
- standing too close or using intimidation
- making or carrying out threats to hurt victim
- making her (victim) afraid by angry looks, gestures or actions
- smashing things
- abusing pets
- display of weapons as a means of intimidation
(coercing or "talking her into it" or pretending to love her to get sex from her is a form of psychological sexual force!)
- any unwanted sexual contact
- forcing her to have sex, harrassing her for sex, coercing her for sex
- forcing her to have sex with animals
- uttering threats to obtain sex
- pinching, slapping, grabbing, poking her breasts or genitals
- forcing sex when sick, after childbirth or operation
- forcing her to have sex with other men or women (cuckolding/swinging)
- forcing her to watch or participate in group sex
- knowingly transmitting sexual disease
- treating her as a sex object via coercion, manipulation or force (including cybersex, phone sex, sex with prostitute)
- being "rough"
- pressuring or needling her to pose for pornographic photos/videos
- displaying pornography or sending her pornography that makes her uncomfortable
- using sex as a basis for an argument
- using sex as a solution to an argument
- criticising her sexual ability
- unwanted fondling in public
- accusation of affairs
- threatening to have sex with someone else if she doesn't give sex
- degrading her body parts
- sexual jokes
- demanding sex for payment or trade
- insisting on checking her body for sexual contact
Also called "Psychological or Verbal Abuse"
- false accusations
- name calling and finding fault
- verbal threats
- playing "mind games"
- making victim think she/he is stupid, or crazy
- humiliating victim
- overpowering victim's emotions
- love bombing
- disbelieving victim
- bringing up past issues
- inappropriate expression of jealousy
- degrading victim
- putting victim down, not defending her
- blame the victim for things
- turning the situation against the victim
- laughing in victim's face
- silence, ignoring victim
- refusing to do things with or for victim
- always getting own way
- neglecting victim
- pressuring victim
- expecting victim to conform to a role
- comparing victim to others (including past lovers)
- suggested involvement with other women or men
- making victim feel guilty
- using certain mannerisms or behaviour as a means of control (eg. snapping fingers, pointing)
- threatening to get drunk or stoned unless....
- starting arguments
- withholding affection
- holding grudges and not really forgiving
- threatening to leave or commit suicide
- treating victim as a child
- having double standards for victim
- saying one thing and meaning another
- denying or taking away victim's responsibilities
- not keeping commitments
- insisting on accompanying victim to the doctor's office
- deliberately creating a mess for victim to clean
- preventing victim from getting or taking a job
- threatening her with anything (words, objects)
- refusing to deal with issues
- minimising or disregarding victim's work or accomplishments
- demanding an account of victim's time/routine
- taking advantage of victim's fear of something
- making her do illegal things
DURING PREGNANCY AND CHILBIRTH
- forcing her to have an abortion
- denying that the child is his
- insulting her body
- refusing to support her during and after pregnancy
- refusing sex because her pregnant body is ugly
- demanding or pressuring her for sex after childbirth
- blaming her that the baby is the "wrong sex"
- refusing to allow her to breastfeed
- taking victim's money
- withholding money
- not allowing victim money
- giving victim an allowance
- keeping family finances a secret
- spending money foolishly
- pressuring victim to take full responsibility for finances
- not paying fair share of bills
- not spending money of special occasions when able (birthdays etc)
- spending on addictions: gambling, sex, alcohol, overeating, overspending
- not letting victim have access to family income
- controlling what victim does, who victim sees, talks to, what victim reads and where victim goes
- put downs or ignores victim in public
- not allowing victim to see or access to family and friends
- change of personality when around others (abuser)
- being rude to victim's friends or family
- dictating victim's dress and behaviour
- choosing victim's friends
- choosing friends, activities or work rather being with victim
- making a "scene" in public
- making victim account for themselves
- censoring victim's mail
- treating victim like a servant
- not giving victim space or privacy
- assaulting victim in front of the children
- making victim stay at home with the children
- teaching children to abuse victim through name calling, hitting etc
- embarrassing victim in front of the children
- not sharing responsibility for children
- threatening to abduct children, or telling victim they will never get custody
- puttin down victim's parenting ability
- buying off children with expensive gifts
- not showing up on time for visitation or returning them on time
- pumping children for information on victim's partners etc
- telling children that victim is responsible for breaking up the family
- using children to transport messages
- denying victim access to the children
- using scripture to justify or dominance
- using church position to pressure for sex or favours
- using victim, then demanding forgiveness
- interpresting religion or scripture your way
- preventing victim from attending church
- mocking victim's belief's
- requiring sex acts or drugs for religious acts
ABUSE IN THE HOME
- locking victim in or out
- throwing out or destroying victim's possessions
- harming pets
- slamming doors
- throwing objects
- taking phones and denying victim access to the phone
- taking computers and denying victim access to a computer
ABUSE IN THE VEHICLE
- deliberately driving too fast or recklessly to scare victim
- driving while intoxicated
- forcing victim out of the vehicle (when angry)
- pushing victim out of the vehicle when it is inmotion
- threatening to kill victim by driving toward an oncoming car
- chasing or hitting victim with a vehicle
- killing victim in a deliberate accident
- denying her use of the vehicle by tampering with engine, chaining steering wheel or taking the keys
- animal mutilation
- forced cannibalism
- human sacrifices
- suggesting or promoting suicide
- forcing victim to participate in rituals or to witness rituals
Although some of these behaviours don't appear to be abusive they are still considered abusive behaviours. Others are in fact illegal.
If you think you are being abused, you more than likely are - if you recognise these behaviours, then YOU ARE being abused.
Remember PLEASE, if you recognise these behaviours as part of your life, please get some help and leave before it's too late. If you recognise them in someone you know, talk to them and help.
No one deserves to be treated like this!
Friday, September 22, 2017
A Crazy Roller Coaster Ride: Life with a Psychopath from Idealization to Devaluation
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Why Doesn't the Victim Just Leave?
Fact: When domestic violence victims attempt to leave the relationship, the stalking and violence almost always escalates sharply as the perpetrator attempts to regain control.
Fact: The majority of domestic violence homicides occur as a woman attempts to leave or after she has left.
Fact: The most serious domestic violence injuries are perpetrated against women who have separated from the perpetrator.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Married To A Narcissist & Waiting For Good Times To Return?
By Diane England, Ph.D.
When you said your vows, what were you expecting? I suspect if you were like most women, you thought you were entering a partnership. You would enjoy shared power, right?
I bet you’ve discovered something quite different, though. I bet he likes to have power over you, isn’t that so? And to ensure he achieves and maintains this, he might well use emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, and even sexual abuse, too.
The thing is, you might not even realize that your relationship with your narcissistic spouse is filled with these forms of abuse. You might feel badly or experience emotional pain much of the time, but still not understand why. You might well believe your narcissistic spouse when he tells you how you are the problem, and if you just changed and did these things he wanted, well, life would be grand.
For him, that is.
He keeps emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, and sexual abuse in his marital toolbox because they work for him. Meanwhile, you believe that the two of you have a partnership.
Sorry, but a relationship with a narcissist is not about partnership.
Those suffering from unhealthy levels of narcissism don’t know what that means. They are self centered. They lack empathy. And more than anything else, they are grandiose. Whether successful or not, they feel entitled to have what they want when they want it.
Rather like the two-year-old.
The narcissistic throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want, too. The difference is, they scream more than how they hate you; those suffering from unhealthy levels of narcissism are inclined to scream obscenities and other hurtful things. All of them help your self esteem to plunge, plus make the anxiety butterflies swirl, wouldn’t you agree?
Let me back up a minute here, though. Perhaps you might want to argue that your spouse has never been diagnosed with any mental health problems, and especially not Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD. Please realize, however, that narcissistic tendencies or narcissistic symptoms can occur in varying degrees. So, someone need not be diagnosable as having full-fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder to display what you’ll see referred to in various internet articles as unhealthy, pathological, or malignant narcissism. However, even lesser degrees of narcissism can be problematic in your relationship.
I might not have to tell you that. Then again, have you ever suspected your spouse’s emotional abuse and sexual abuse, for example, were associated with pathological levels of narcissism?
So, how many of the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder must your narcissistic spouse meet in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for you to be the victim of his narcissism - which could be fueling his abuse plus perhaps alcoholism or drug addiction?
Sadly, too often, these all come together in one neatly wrapped package.
But back to the question I originally posed; I really can’t answer it.
What I will say, though, is don’t keep you eyes shut because in the beginning, things were so good between the two of you. You might have believed you had finally met your white knight. You might have been so enamored with him because of the whirlwind romance that included flowers, candlelight dinners, outrageously expensive gifts considering the time you’d been together, and romantic getaways that also included great sex.
No, don’t keep thinking if you can only get it right, or do all the things he asks, those days will probably return.
I rather hate to tell you this, but you’re probably wrong. Oh, he might act that way now and then to keep you hooked in and believing you’re about to rediscover Camelot, but he is only seducing you - again.
A narcissist is like a leopard; he can not change his spots. Okay, he might be able to change if he really wanted to do so. But if you are in love with a narcissist, you need to understand that you’ll likely be seeking counseling on how to leave a narcissist long before he’s inclined to seek help on how to alleviate himself of his narcissistic tendencies.
If you have a narcissistic husband, listen very carefully: Narcissists seduce you with their charm, the romance, and the great sex. Once they have you hooked, things change - and not for the good.
In fact, is the great sex still so great? Or instead, is it about him and his needs and wants? Also, you might feel he has to give a great performance, and you’re always expected to commend him for a job well done, too. And rather than feeling closer to him, instead, have you felt you’ve become more and more merely an object to him?
There is even a chance the great sex has switched over into sexual abuse. Perhaps the transition has been so gradual, however, that you haven’t actually seen the truth about what was happening - or where you have ended up as a result. But if you stop and think about your sexual relationship with your narcissistic spouse, you might realize you’ve been doing things that don’t appeal to you sexually, but only to him. In fact, they might make you feel degraded.
He not only doesn’t bring flowers anymore, but it is probably worse than that. You’d realize that if you got real about your marriage.
Yes, it is probably hardly a relationship in the sense that you define the word. Are you always worrying about what might please or displease him? And to ensure you do neither, do you do things against your personal values?
You probably want to avoid his narcissistic rage. And again, you hope if you’ll only do as he wants, things will be like they were in the early days - when you held hands and made love in a romantic haze.
Again, it is time to get real. That was an act to suck you in. Now, though, if he is walking around being his self centered and grandiose self, engaging in emotional abuse and verbal abuse that causes your self worth to slip away daily, he is nonetheless likely being the man he will continue to be.
You might well be able to somehow survive the emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and sexual abuse.
You might keep telling yourself that the sexual abuse is not sexual abuse because you actually are okay with what he asks of you - as kinky (and comfortable) as it perhaps has become.
I suspect you might be shut down and out of touch with your feelings, however. You also might be taking pride in your ability to cope with things you shouldn’t have to cope with anyway. And if that is the case, realize you are not the first and last woman to make this discovery. Frankly, I myself have been there; I took pride in my martyrdom. But really, what’s the sense in that?
I decided I didn’t like being in a relationship with a narcissist. I also knew I never wanted to be in a relationship with one again, though I suspect I met one or two along the path on my way to recovery.
Your life is yours to live as you please; you have to make your own choices. I suspect, though, that you give your life - and your narcissistic spouse - a good hard look. You might realize you’ve been bonded to a fantasy that was probably never more than that.
Meanwhile, you stay stuck loving a narcissist while he serves up a mixture of emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse - and some great times, too - to keep you hooked in and doing exactly what he pleases.
Why should you expect differently? Remember, he is self centered, he is self absorbed, and he lacks empathy. And because of his grandiosity, he feels entitled to do as he pleases. In turn, everyone else is here to serve him and meet his needs.
They must be kept in line and under his thumb.
Yes, these are the spots of the narcissist. And no, they probably will not change. So really, is spending your life loving a narcissist the best use of both your love and your time?
I hope your moving your head back and forth.
Dr. Diane England writes for the woman married to a narcissist who is awakening to his narcissism, addictions, and perhaps not only emotional abuse and verbal abuse, but sexual abuse, too. If this is you, and you want to read more article on these topics, plus self development and spirituality or spiritual growth, visit her website at: www.NarcissismAddictionsAbuse.com
(NOTE: THIS SITE DOES NOT BELIEVE CODEPENDENCY EVER APPLIES IN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS OR A RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST. The Victim is NEVER EVER to blame in ANY WAY - NOR ARE THEY CODEPENDENT.)
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
How a Psychopath Conditions His Victims
Monday, September 18, 2017
Be Very Specific in Custody Agreements
A child custody agreement is an extremely important document that will largely influence your life as a co-parent. Child custody agreements essentially lay out how you, your co-parent, and your child will be living your daily lives. For this reason, you and your co-parent must ensure that the rules of raising your child are clearly defined in the document. Including provisions in your custody agreement is a good way to thoroughly cover every aspect of your responsibilities as co-parents.
Before adding provisions to your custody agreementChild custody agreements must be given a lot of time and thought. They must be thorough and include everything that you will need to know as a co-parent for your child. Before adding provisions to your custody agreement there are a few major issues that must be accounted for. A basic child custody agreement should include:
A definition for the type of legal custody that will be
implemented. Legal custody refers to the decisions making
responsibilities for the child. These responsibilities can be given to
one or both co-parents.
A definition for the type of physical custody that will be
implemented. Physical custody refers to the day-to-day caretaking
responsibilities for the child. These responsibilities can be given to
one or both co-parents.
A method should be defined for making modifications to the custody
agreement if circumstances are to change in the future and the custody
agreement needs to be changed.
A basic visitation schedule must be created following the
determination of physical custody. This visitation schedule will
determine how the child’s time will be divided among both co-parents.
Including your own provisions in your custody agreementNow that the basic issues of your custody agreement have been defined, you and your co-parent will be able to add your own provisions if you feel that its necessary. These provisions will be useful in saving you and your co-parent a lot of stress and unneeded conflict in the future. The easiest way to come up with these provisions is to reflect on what issues you and your co-parent have currently regarding your co-parenting relationship. You may also come up with provisions by trying to predict and problems that may arise in the future and creating preventative provisions.
The most common types of provisions are used to provide more detail to the issues included in your basic child custody agreement. For instance, if you and your co-parent agree that details need to be added to your legal or physical custody agreements you may do so. Other provisions may also be added regarding separate issues such as how you will allow your child to interact with new partners or how you and you co-parent choose to contact one another. Any stipulation can be created as long as you and your co-parent come to an agreement on it. If you and your co-parent wish to make a provision but you cannot come to an agreement on the situation, you may request that a judge make a determination.
Remember that a judge must approve all provisions. A judge may also request you to state your argument as to why a provision is needed. Be sure to have a valid reason for creating each provision otherwise it is likely that it will not be approved.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
How to tell when you’re not being told the straight story
By Cynthia Hubert
You think you can tell when he’s lying.
His eyes dart back and forth. He can’t keep his hands still. He stutters and stumbles over his words.
Deception is written all over him, right? Not necessarily.
Nailing a fibber is not nearly as easy or instinctive as most people think, say scientists, authors and other keen observers of the art of deception.
“There is no simple checklist,” says Gregory Hartley, a former military interrogator who applies the techniques he used on enemy combatants in a new book for civilians, “How To Spot a Liar.”
But with a little practice, Hartley insists, you, too, can become a human lie detector.
It is a skill that has challenged us through the ages, says Dallas Denery, a professor of medieval history at Bowdoin College in Maine who is working on a book about the history of lying. “The problem of lies and liars has been with us forever,” he says. “In the Judeo-Christian tradition, history really begins with a lie, with Adam and Eve and the serpent.”
Fast forward to modern times and a 2002 study suggesting that most people lie in everyday conversation. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts observed people talking for 10 minutes and found that 60 percent of them lied at least once, telling an average of two to three fibs. Some of the lies were benign, but others were extreme, including one person who falsely claimed to be a rock star.
“We didn’t expect lying to be such a common part of daily life,” one of the researchers, Robert Feldman, observed after the study was published.
Over the years, CIA agents, police detectives, psychologists, lawyers and others have tried a variety of methods to identify liars, from polygraph machines to “voice stress analysis” to analysis of barely perceptible facial movements that can give away hidden feelings. None of the techniques has been foolproof.
And the search for the truth continues. The science of liars and lying remains a hot topic in research circles, and book after book offers the latest theory about how to tell when a spouse is cheating, a witness is lying in court or a car salesman is overstating the value of a vehicle.
Check out just a few of the titles on the subject at www.amazon.com: “Lies and Liars: Pinocchio’s Nose and Less Obvious Clues,” “Liar! A Critique of Lies and the Act of Lying,” “When Your Lover Is a Liar,” and “The Concise Book of Lying.” It’s enough to shatter your trust in humanity.
John Mayoue, an Atlanta divorce lawyer who has represented famous clients - including Jane Fonda in her breakup with Ted Turner - says lying is rampant in his business.
“In the courtroom, there is no end to the lying, particularly if money is at stake,” Mayoue says. “The more money, the bigger the lies.”
The greatest lie in relationships, he says, is “Honey, I love you but I’m no longer in love with you. That’s someone’s way of saying they’re cheating on you.”
The Internet culture has made lying practically a sport, Mayoue observes. “You just have to assume that you’re in the midst of a liar’s ball when you’re online,” he says. “It’s a fantasy realm. I can’t see you. I can’t look at signals. I can’t test you. There is no verification.”
In court and in daily life, Mayoue believes, a person’s eyes tell the truest story.
“Looking at someone in an unwavering manner and answering the question is very telling,” he says. “When I see eyes shift side to side and up and down, it just causes suspicion.”
Hartley, the former interrogator, agrees that body language can hint at deception. But not always, he says. “Your eyes drift naturally when you’re searching for information,” he says. “I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t move their eyes when looking for details.”
The key to uncovering a lie, he says, is knowing how the liar behaves normally, when he or she is relaxed, and picking up on changes in voice patterns, eye movement and other body language.
“You’ve got to ask the right questions, then observe how that person responds,” Hartley says.
Signs of stress, which may signal that someone is lying, include flared nostrils and audible breathing, shaky hands and elbows moving closer to the ribs, according to Hartley.
“Stress does horrible things to our brains,” he says. “Stress hormones can virtually turn off your brain and make you become reactive.”
For the most notorious liars, the tendency to fib may be biological, suggests a study by researchers at the University of Southern California.
Pathological liars, the scientists found, have structural differences in their brains that could affect their abilities to feel remorse and learn moral behavior and might give them an advantage in planning deceitful strategies, the researchers discovered. Other scientists have suggested that pathological liars owe their behavior to the psychiatric diagnoses known as narcissism or sociopathy, and may truly believe their own falsehoods.
But the average, everyday fibber lies to achieve a goal, says communication expert Laurie Puhn, author of the best-selling book “Instant Persuasion, How To Change Your Words To Change Your Life.” Most people lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, to avoid a commitment or a task, to cover up bad behavior or to elevate themselves professionally or personally, she says.
Puhn advises people who suspect someone is lying to ask unexpected questions, look for contradictions in their statements and ask a follow-up question a couple of days later about the suspected lie.
“If someone says they had to work late to deal with a new client and you are suspicious, ask them about it a week later,” she says. “They’re likely to answer, ‘What new client?’ It’s hard for liars to keep their lies straight.”
Bettyanne Bruin, who parlayed her experiences with a former partner into a book and a support group for people who have been deceived, says the first step toward detecting a liar is overcoming denial.
“People tend to ignore the red flags,” says Bruin, author of “Shattered: Six Steps From Betrayal to Recovery.” “Their gut tells them what is going on, but they really do want to believe the best about the person they love.”
The most critical sign that a partner is lying, she says, is defensiveness.
“Liars are very defensive when you question them,” says Bruin. “They will become very resistant and angrier and angrier upon each attempt to probe.” Often, she says, they make their partners feel guilty about questioning them. “They’ll say, ‘You’re being unreasonable,’ or ‘Why are you treating me this way?’ ”
Types of lies
Joseph Tecce, an associate professor of psychology at Boston College who has studied liars and lying, identifies six types of untruths, some more egregious than others.
He classifies them as:
The ‘protective’ lie, which can shield the liar from danger.
The ‘heroic’ lie, created to protect someone else from danger or punishment.
The ‘playful’ lie, such as an angler’s fib about the size of his fish.
The ‘ego’ lie, designed to shield someone from embarrassment.
The ‘gainful’ lie, which somehow enriches the fibber.
And the ‘malicious’ lie, told to deliberately hurt someone else.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Safety Nets Often Fail Abuse Victims
By SCOTT GUTIERREZ
Victims of domestic violence often turn to a neighbor instead of the police, and even if they sought court protection they often weren't given help to stay safe, according to a recent study of domestic violence homicides in Washington.
In addition, women of color were two or three times more likely than Caucasian women to be killed by an intimate partner, according to the report, and often faced cultural and language barriers to escaping an abusive relationship. The same trend was apparent with 43 men who have been killed since the biennial Domestic Violence Fatality Review began in 1997, according to the report.
The report, which was presented Monday by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, looks at trends in domestic violence homicides in an effort to improve the criminal justice system and community response to better protect victims.
Sixty-eight people were killed as the result of domestic violence in the latest two-year period examined, between July 2006 and June 2008. Of those cases, 11 were chosen for an in-depth look.
In six of those cases, victims went to a neighbor or community member instead of calling the police. Private citizens often didn't know what to do and weren't aware of organizations that they could call for advice about how to help a victim of abuse.
In the past, the fatality review mostly focused on improving how police and courts handle domestic violence. This year, the focus shifted more toward how community members could better prepare if someone sought help from them, including how to help without jeopardizing their own safety, she said.
"In general, who do you turn to when in a crisis? I think most go to the people who are closest to us before we go to a stranger," said Kelly Starr, a coalition spokeswoman. "We can't rely on all of these systems as the answer."
The report recommended that block watches and crime-prevention groups learn more about domestic violence resources and share information. It also suggested that the media give contact information about advocacy services when reporting on domestic violence.
"I think the next piece is building the community's capacity to respond to this. We all have to build ourselves up so we're ready," Starr said.
Still, the report found areas where the court system needed improvement. For instance, victims often had no help from advocates when petitioning for court protection orders against their abusers. Without someone helping them make that decision, they could increase their risk in some cases, according to the report. An advocate can help plan where to go or what to do if the abuser retaliates or with deciding whether obtaining an order is the safest option.
One woman was killed last year in Federal Way just three hours after her boyfriend was served with an anti-harassment order.
In King County, the Prosecutor's Office provides a protection order advocacy program that victims have used in 73,000 cases since it was established 20 years ago. Generally, advocates serve about 5,000 cases each year, in addition to 2,500 walk-ins seeking advice, said David Martin, who supervises the domestic violence unit.
"For some folks, these are very difficult decisions to make -- life-altering decisions. There could be children involved, or a long-term relationship," Martin said. "We want people to understand what's going on and to make a good, informed decision."
Most Washington courts that provide protection orders, however, don't offer advocacy services, according to the report.
In those cases, court clerks' offices could consider referring victims to community-based organizations, which wouldn't cost extra money, Starr said.