How to recognize and recover from the sociopaths – narcissists in your life › Forums › Dealing with sociopaths in court › Restraining Order when law enforcement and social services do nothing
June 29, 2021 at 11:45 am #66019
A positive note for those in the community who’ve been left behind by apathetic/ignorant law enforcement and/or social protective services: the domestic violence restraining order can offer relief.
The psycho/sociopath’s actions are abuse to you/your children but, when taken as single action investigations, a single act may not pass the threshold where law enforcement or social services will act upon it. Lots of victims are jaded that we can not get help from law enforcement or social services, but when the agencies must assess transgressions as a single acts rather than a pattern of behavior, they’re limited by what can pass through a criminal/juvenile proceeding. Additionally, often most of the personnel have limited training or comprehension of psychopathic/sociopathic/narcissistic pattern of abuse and it’s effect on victims. Let’s face it, unfortunately often the people responding to the abuse reports from teachers, doctors, neighbors are enabling the abuser to keep at it and shaming the victim into silence.
DVRO’s are changing in many areas and often include patterns of behavior, including coercive control, rather than just limited to individual acts of abuse. In California, coercive control is finally being recognized and it is being applied.
Six years after fleeing our abuser, over 13 reports of abuse from schools/therapists/doctors, and two hospitalizations to kids from abuse, the advice to go the DVRO route worked. He lost all custody and visitation permanently, my children feel heard and believed and validated, he is ordered to surrender his firearms and may not own or possess them, and we have 3yrs until the DVRO needs to be renewed. Sure, he avoided criminal prosecution and may never face the punishment he deserves considering the severity of the abuse, but this is something. It really is something. And to a narcistic psycho projecting multiple false personas to con people, this is an ego gut punch that he can not hide away, lie away, or play victim of.
There are means to protect ourselves if we keep trying. The system has been apathetic to many victims for too long but change is starting to happen and protection from these monsters is becoming possible. I was able to do mine through the court self-help center that helps people prepare the paperwork and instructs you on the process/pitfalls, and this came after yet another therapist referral and apathetic police and social worker who didn’t believe my child (boys don’t report sexual abuse according to them, so it must be a lie).
Keep fighting for change in the courts, changes in training law enforcement and social services to respond better, and public attitude to not blame the victims. It can be done if we just keep trying.
- This topic was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by truthmatters.
July 2, 2021 at 4:55 pm #66021Donna AndersenKeymaster
Truthmatters – thank you so much for your post. I am glad to hear that you were finally able to get some relief. So just to clarify, were you able to represent yourself in this matter? How much evidence did you need to present?
July 6, 2021 at 2:48 pm #66055
My apologies for not seeing this sooner. I represented myself (single moms w/o child support can do it!) and used the LA Courts self-help program and law librarian. While they can not give legal advice, they can assist with forms completion, filing assistance, etc., and mine was a tele-appointment.
Be specific into what precisely is disturbing your peace and especially if it a pattern of behavior and/or coercive control. Attach evidence if possible but BE CONCISE, direct and as brief as possible (Yes, I know it is hard). When describing how your peace is disturbed, a list can help (lack of sleep, nightmares, fear, anxiety, fear for child/comforting child, therapy appts, etc.).
Do the above for every person you need protected, and then how their situation affects your peace (be specific but brief).
While attaching some evidence to your petition, attach the most relevant without being exhausting (one or two threatening texts submitted and then state total number that can be submitted as evidence). More can be submitted at hearing if allowed (you must give copy of evidence to opposing party in advance and I recommend it’s documented/listed). If the info is overwhelmingly extensive, the judge may not have time (or inclination) to read it all.
Ours evidence was a 1) safety plan made by my child and the therapist for self-harm that stated he harms himself to cope with thoughts of father, 2) couple of messages between person and I, texts from child over months describing fear. I listed briefly in writing his prior convictions, prior DVRO and case numbers, and number of referrals made to DCFS that were not made by me.
Both my children wanted to testify (one an adult now) and the Court allowed them to testify remotely which, especially with my youngest, made it easier for him to do as it lessened fear of immediate physical harm from father. More importantly, it removed any question of coaching (plus the Judge’s questions were dynamic, open ended, and some off-topic to smaller details).
Of course, I may have the rare child who told everyone about the abuse for years trying to get someone to make it stop. If your child doesn’t want to testify, then don’t make them unless they must in a criminal case.
Judge solely asked questions of my child and I was fortunate that he was patient and knew how to ask in non-leading ways. I could also see fact checking going on by Judge which helped in validating their claims.
When I showed for first day of hearing (I was in-person and kids remote testimony), I asked that the attachments in my declaration for the petition be submitted as evidence which was accepted. I brought (and gave ex copies of before hearing) every printed communication in past year, every documentation of threat/coercion in past year that had a date attached to it (included emailed/texted concerns of harm from therapists/teachers), I had copies of his criminal record, copy of online claims he’d posted falsely claiming to be a military veteran/active military/LAFD fireman/cancer patient, copies of filing in his other divorce cases of the women claiming abuse and impersonations, official notes of his other son from another marriage reporting abuse and making threat to stab himself due to father, doctors reports of injuries backing fingerprint bruises to limbs and throats of kids (the ex got away with that by claiming he was just playing), photos of the same, and online posts from latest spouse suggesting she is also a victim (they were shared with me by another person).
All of the stuff I brought was there 1) in case I needed it to refute a lie he told in court, 2) to show him extent of the evidence I had, 3) ready for the judge to support any additional claims made in testimony.
To be honest, the testimony of my kids was likely what was the most compelling. I wholeheartedly stuck to the rule of not talking to them about court, nor the abuser, not what to say except to be honest. That is very, very, important to prevent firstly emotionally abusing your child, but also so that their testimony is uninfluenced and truly theirs.
Be mentally prepared that you may hear testimony you were unaware of previously. It feels like a gut punch to hear and not be able to embrace and comfort your child, or to suddenly learned that something worse happened and you didn’t know and couldn’t stop it. I am still shaky with that part.
July 2, 2021 at 11:12 pm #66029sept4Participant
Congrats! So glad you were successful!
I never got law enforcement or courts involved with my ex husband but now years later I regret that. I wish I had reached out for protection. Thankfully my ex was not physically abusive but he threatened and harassed me and forced me to sign over property by extortion. I wish I had gone to court for a protective order instead of trying to manage him myself.
July 6, 2021 at 2:56 pm #66056
If you know of another person who is in a situation like yours was, please let them know that physical violence is not required for a DVRO. Everything you listed is enough.
The DVRO’s are transforming to recognize that severe abuse is not just physical and many cover coercive control and emotional abuse that law enforcement and DCFS do not take action on.
The biggest aspect is showing that the abuse (or abuse to your child) is disturbing your peace and peace of mind. This includes past abuse as well.
July 11, 2021 at 7:37 pm #66065sept4Participant
Thank you Truth. Yes if I knew anyone else in this situation I would absolutely advise them to go to court for protection instead of trying to manage the abuser.
As to coercive control yes I know that in California there are new laws protecting from coercive control. In my state as far as I know there are no laws for that yet but I do think there is more awareness by the courts.
And if I were ever in the same situation again I would definitely go to court. I just wish I was stronger back then but I was suffering from that toxic mix of loyalty and fear from trauma bonding (Battered woman syndrome but from emotional/psychological abuse).
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