Miranda needed help. A mother of a child with a disability, she was now the victim of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her child’s father. Her abuser lived somewhere in her neighborhood. Miranda could not leave her house without fear of running into him. She was afraid that he would attack her, like he did when he followed her in his car and attacked her at a stoplight. After escaping and alerting the police, she was unable to provide an address for him, which thwarted their attempts to stop the abuse.
With nowhere left to turn, Miranda sought legal help with LCD through the medical-legal partnership at St. Christopher’s Hospital. She hoped for help with a custody hearing and in a protection from abuse order against her child’s father.
Staff attorney Ben Feldman represented Miranda and quickly learned that she was traumatized. She was timid and had a hard time talking about the assault, becoming easily confused by questions and the order of events. It would be hard for Miranda to testify in court. With this knowledge, Ben decided the best course of action for her case was to pursue a protection order by agreement.
Miranda’s abuser was resistant to the agreement, insisting he had done nothing wrong. However, Ben persuaded him that an agreement was more favorable than having a finding of abuse against him in court. Ben also assured him that the agreement would not have a primary effect on his custody dispute with Miranda. The defendant relented and agreed to a three year stay away order.
After Ben worked with both parties on the agreement, a judge questioned both Miranda and the defendant and ordered the agreement into law. Now, because of Ben’s efforts, Miranda travels in her neighborhood without fear.