At times, life seems horribly unfair.
That must be how Andrea felt after being accosted by her husband and fleeing to her local police department for help.
What happened next was social services took her children and then attempted to prove that the mother was incapable of protecting her children from harm.
But let's start at the beginning.
Husband Becomes Increasingly Violent
In 2006, Andrea was married. Along with her son Jonathan from a previous marriage, Andrea and her new husband had two children, Richard, and Savanna.
Three years into the marriage, Andrea's husband punched her in the face while arguing.
By 2013, Andrea and her husband separated and the children lived primarily with her mother.
A year later, the children attended a party with the father, and when the mother picked up her children her ex-husband noticed marks on Andrea's neck. Enraged, the father called Andrea a "bitch" and "whore" and pinched her neck.
He then ripped off her sunglasses, destroyed them, and then tossed her belongings out of the house. He didn't stop there. Eventually, he punched her and slapped her.
Andrea took refuge that night in her local police department. She couldn't have anticipated that the police would then contact the Department of Children and Family Services, which filed a petition a petition against Andrea.
Her crime? According to the Department, failing to protect her children from their father's violent nature
Social Services Blames Mother for Exposure to Father's Violence
The department alleged the children were endangered because the mother failed to protect her children from the father's violence.
In addition, the department filed a petition and alleged that the children were endangered due in part to the father's violent.
The father did not contest allegations against him at the subsequent hearing. However, the mother argued that she did not endanger her children. She had in fact immediately reported incidents to the police and that she couldn't predict her husband's outbursts.
The court eventually decided that the children could remain in the mother's custody but that the children were to become dependents of the court. In addition, the father was allowed to have unsupervised visits.
The mother filed an appeal because she felt the allegations against her were unsupported by evidence.
Court of Appeal Sides with Mother
The Court of Appeal of the State of California reversed the judgment of the lower with respect to the findings against the mother.
How to Protect Yourself when Incidents of Domestic Violence Arise
If your spouse turns violent, here are some basic steps you can take:
- Call emergency services immediately.
- Have on hand a list of emergency contacts such as friends and family members who can help you.
- Develop a plan for getting yourself and your children out of the house quickly.
- Program all your emergency numbers into your smartphone.
- Consider calling your domestic violence hotline and if necessary go to a safe house