The American Bar Association has put into place guidelines for attorneys representing Domestic Abuse survivors.
In August of 2007, the ABA House of Delegates adopted the “black letter” law of the Standards of Practice for Lawyers Representing Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking in Civil Protection Order Cases (“The Standards”). The Standards are intended to improve the quality of legal representation provided to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.The ABA recognizes that the critical difference in helping victims become safe is legal representation. Attorneys must have the training, tools, and skills necessary to help victims. The Standards seek to elevate the legal profession’s response to domestic and sexual violence and to increase the bar of attorneys ready to support victims.
But I would say to the ABA, “What about the attorneys who continue to abuse the victim for the abuser?” Who holds them accountable or are they just doing their job and where do you draw the line when the attorney himself is seen as abusive by other attorneys? Is there a course of action? Can I hold my exes attorney accountable for abusing me? Can the bar association hold his actions accountable when other attorneys find him abusive to deal with? My take is it’s okay to be a go-getter but if you don’t have mutual respect for the other attorney, your just a narcissistic ass. I don’t mean that you have to love all attorneys you come in contact with, but you do have to show respect for the other attorney and the judge for that matter.
My domestic abuse was never brought to light in court and I thought it should have been. He has continued to abuse me financially and to wreck havoc on my life and my children’s lives. Does this mean that I was misrepresented in my divorce? I believe so. I believe that the abuse should have been a part of the divorce settlement.
I believe that holding my abuser responsible for his actions is important. Not because I am not over him but because he ruined my life. He controlled every, single thing we did. He abused our children and he made our children bystanders of abuse.
The emotional abuse about my paralegal job was so blatant and so bad that I did finally quit my job and had I not, I would be able to support myself and not work so many jobs now to make ends meet. Financially, he owes me. I gave up my professional life to raise our children and allow him to build his business. A business he continues to reap the benefits of. A business that left me with an emotionally vacant man and plays a part in him not being around to be a husband and Dad. The business itself should and probably could be sued for its role in the demise of our marriage.
When looking for an attorney, please make sure that attorney has the empathy and the training to represent you as a victim of domestic violence. I truly believe that my outcome would have been better, had I taken the time to look for someone who had the training and mindset.
I’m still researching suing my abuser. It is a really big consideration and at this point in my life, I have no issue making him sell his business or his house to pay me if I am awarded a settlement. I wish him nothing but the best and no harm but I also would like him to know there are consequences for purposefully abusing me. You don’t just get to move on and create another life and lie about yourself and possibly hurt someone else. You have to make good with those people you destroyed. There is a monetary value to the lives and innocence you stole. The holidays you ruined. How do you put a price on someone’s life? Your children’s childhood? I don’t know about you but those things are priceless and not to be taken for granted and not to be stolen from someone.
I think it’s time we started to hold our abusers accountable in court. And I think it should be mandatory that attorneys have the training they need to represent domestic abuse survivors.