Susan Finds Support from the Battered Women’s Justice Project

Photograph of a woman in court with her lawyer.The Battered Women’s Justice Project, a grantee of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, came to Susan’s aid when she needed it the most. Susan was arrested for domestic violence after having been abused for many years by her active duty military husband. Susan had never reported the abuse, however, so no documentation existed. 

Her arrest occurred after an altercation during which her husband physically abused her, and she fought back. He then called the police, saying she had attacked him. The abuser obtained a protection order that required Susan to leave their house and gave him custody of their two young children. During the process of filing for divorce, he would not allow Susan to see their children. Meanwhile, a court date was set for her domestic violence charges.  

Susan was understandably distraught by the loss of her home and her children. With the help of the Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP), she received victim advocacy services through both the military and civilian systems, and established an ongoing relationship with a therapist.

The Battered Women’s Justice Project staffs a 1-800 number during business hours that responds to a variety of callers across the country seeking information and support about domestic violence and the justice system. While BWJP does not take on individual cases, the staff assists victims by listening, offering support, explaining the complexities of the justice system, and making referrals.

BWJP provided information about the Military Family Advocacy Program process and the role of the command, and helped her identify additional resources. First, BWJP connected Susan with the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, for customized technical assistance in putting together a plan for her legal team (defense attorneys, advocates, expert witnesses and others). Susan met with an attorney at the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit, a program of BWJP, to explore her options for pursuing a protection order and custody of her children. As Susan continued to work on her case, she received support and encouragement from her advocates and therapist. 

After her case settled, Susan expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by BWJP. She said that she felt less alone and more confident about the outcome of her situation with their help. She also became involved in a support group for survivors in a community-based domestic violence program.    

To learn more about the work visit the Battered Women’s Justice Project website.

To learn more about how the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program supports national resource centers like the Battered Women’s Justice Project, visit the Family Violence webpage.