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Op-eds

Answering the call, again

  • MichaelSieff
Imagine a wife and mother who has endured an abusive husband for a decade. Her situation is intolerable and getting worse as the abuse inevitably escalates with the passage of time.
by MICHAEL SIEFF | Aug 10, 2017

But she is terrified to leave, knowing that the move would likely unleash an unprecedented level of rage and retaliation. Finally out of options, she dredges up the courage to get out only to find the road ahead littered with problems as daunting as those she has lived with - safe houses, protection orders, legal and other expenses, maintenance agreements and child sharing. 

This scenario is all too common and is why the Chev has expanded its Abuse Services to offer a Volunteer Court Support Programme. 

Our first group of volunteers has undergone almost 20 hours of training in the Domestic Violence Act; understanding abuse, safety plans and places of safety; learning about empathy, empowerment and appropriate responses and how to apply for protection orders and maintenance.

They even paid a visit to the Magistrates Court where they were taken on a tour to familiarise themselves with the layout and procedures. That is where they are likely to spend a lot of time accompanying women who have approached the Chev for help in cases of abuse. 

Our volunteers are now able to help with the completion of forms for protection orders and maintenance and to stay with applicants at court during extended waiting periods to provide company and reassurance.  

Besides not being alone, victims are often forced to sit alongside their abusive ex-partners for many hours in a court room which can be an intimidating experience. Having someone at their side offers relief and provides much-needed support.  

An intake process is in place for both existing Chev clients and for new clients. Our social workers will consult with other experts regarding the exact nature of the help required. 

Mediation is a service already on offer at Chev Social Services but if abuse is a factor, there may be a need for urgent relocation to our safe house and for legal assistance.  Once immediate safety is assured, our social workers will pair the client with a court support volunteer.  

The need for this service becomes increasingly important for people trapped in unhealthy relationships. As always, the Chev responds to the call of the community.  People in need of this assistance should contact Tova Goldstein on [email protected] or (011) 532-9616. 

May our partnership continue to thrive. [email protected]

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