Family Violence Clinic Offers Resources to Survivors | KBIA

Family Violence Clinic Offers Resources to Survivors

Oct 7, 2019

The #metoo movement shed light on people in power taking advantage of those working for them, but in many homes across mid-Missouri, the power imbalance is right there…in people’s marriages, dating relationships and other partnerships with people. Mary Beck is looking to change that.

She is the director of the Family Violence Clinic where she oversees law students who represent survivors of domestic violence. These students help survivors with a litigation plan, economic plan and safety plan.

“The Family Violence Clinic, operating in 46 counties, often is kind of a last ditch place to go where victims have not been able to achieve justice elsewhere,” Beck said.

When it comes to the misconceptions folks have about those who experience violence in the family, Beck said people don’t realize the prevalence of this violence.

Another misconception of the public is that domestic violence isn't pleasant, it's traumatic, etc., but they don't understand that it's lethal,” she said. “Fifty five percent of women murdered in this country are murdered by their intimate partner.”

For those in abusive relationships, leaving an abusive partner is often not easy.

Beck said the #metoo movement has helped victims of violence acknowledge their abuse.

“That is really a first step in achieving mental health following some sort of traumatic episode,” she said.

As for the state, Beck praises Missouri for having “very good laws.” She praised a new law which allows electronic monitoring of an abuser. Missouri law 455.095 allows a protected person to know and track the monitored person’s location at all times in order to ensure maximum safety and distance.

But Beck said it’s also important for everyone to understand what abuse means. If someone can recognize abusive behavior, he or she may be able to intervene as a bystander and help someone else.

“It's not just punching, or strangling, or pushing, shoving, it's also financial abuse, it's also bullying and threatening an individual,” Beck said. “So when any of us sees something like that going on, standing up against it is important.”

The Family Violence Clinic helps survivors of domestic assault by creating a safety plan and working on litigation plans.

If you or someone you know needs any resources regarding domestic or sexual violence, the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers more information.

This aired on Exam, hosted by Kassidy Arena.

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT BELOW

Host Intro with base music: The #metoo movement shed light on people in power taking advantage of those working for them, but in many homes across mid-Missouri, the power imbalance is right there…in people’s marriages, dating relationships and other partnerships with people. Mary Beck is looking to change that.

She is the director of the Family Violence Clinic. She oversees law students who represent survivors of domestic violence. Those students help these survivors with a litigation plan, economic plan and safety plan.

KBIA’s Isabel Lohman has more.

Lohman: So what does your day to day life look like? How close in proximity are you to victims of domestic violence?

Beck: Well, the family violence clinic operating in 46 counties, often is kind of a last-ditch place to go where victims have not been able to achieve justice elsewhere.

Lohman: So can you talk a little bit about folks who do experience some sort of violence in the family, do you think there’s any misconceptions that society has around them?

Beck: I don't think society realizes the prevalence of domestic violence and trafficking in human beings. About one in four women is abused within a family. And men are abused as well. But not as often.

And another misconception of the public is that domestic violence isn't pleasant, it's traumatic, etc. But they don't understand that it's lethal. 55% of women murdered in this country, are murdered by their intimate partner. So when an abusive person threatens his victim’s life, or an abusive person brandishes a gun at their victim, there's a real significant likelihood that that victim could be killed by their abuser. And I don't think society understands that.

Lohman: So how do we get past that point where women feel or men feel empowered to leave their abusive partners? What do we have to do to make that more possible?

Beck: Well, one thing is society has to begin to believe the victims and the #metoo movement has been very effective at getting victims of domestic violence, be they men or women, in gay or straight relationships, or children who are grown up to acknowledge that they have been abused, raped, traumatized.

That is really a first step in achieving mental health following some sort of traumatic episode.

I think we have to amend our laws. And Missouri, by the way, has very good laws.

The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault is an excellent advocacy group, and it has worked hard, sometimes with my students to improve Missouri's laws.

One of the things they have done fairly recently is to institute a GPS tracking system for those persons subject to a civil protective order. If a person violates a civil protective order, and if the judge believes that the lethality index is high, that offender may be tracked with a GPS ankle bracelet.

Lohman: Either the survivors, the victims, abusers, is there things that people just don't know that they still need to know?

Beck: Some people don't really understand what abuse means. It's not just punching, or strangling, or pushing, shoving, it's also financial abuse, it's also bullying and threatening an individual. So when any of us sees something like that going on, standing up against it is important.

Host outro with base music slowly building up: That was KBIA's Isabel Lohman speaking with Mary Beck, the director of the Family Violence Clinic. You've been listening to Exam on KBIA, I'm Kassidy Arena.