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Children's Institute, Inc.: Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Violence

Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Violence

Sandra’s story

For five years, Sandra, a mother of two young children, endured dozens of beatings from her live-in boyfriend, Raul, along with verbal abuse from his highly volatile family who lived nearby. She feared for herself and her two young children whenever Raul – nicknamed “Wicked” by fellow gang members – was around.

The beatings became progressively worse until one night, a concerned neighbor called the police. A CII case worker from Project ERIN accompanied the officers to Sandra’s door. (Project ERIN is CII’s model emergency response intervention network program that provides on-the-spot therapy and assistance to victims in conjunction with the LA Police Department.)
By the time the police and the Project ERIN caseworker arrived, Raul was gone. Three-year-old Rodrigo, who’d slept through the earlier violence, awoke frightened and disoriented, along with his two-year-old sister Adoncia. Bruised and shaking, Sandra tearfully explained that although she’d suffered terrible beatings, she’d never called the police; she was afraid of retaliation. While Sandra was telling her story, Raul’s mother appeared at the door, shouting abuse. Then Raul’s brother, intent on intimidating Sandra into silence, joined in.

The police ordered them to leave. Prepared to protect her family, little Adoncia defiantly stood guard in the doorway in case Raul’s family decided to return.

With no friends or family of her own nearby, Sandra felt hopeless and unable to leave the horrific conditions in which she and her children were living. But after talking with the Project ERIN staff member, she decided to phone a co-worker who agreed to provide shelter for the troubled family. The Project ERIN caseworker drove Sandra and her children to their temporary home that very night.

Sandra is now enrolled in CII’s domestic violence program, where she and her children regularly receive counseling, therapy, and information on how to take advantage of other local resources. She has not returned to Raul and is taking steps to improve her life and the lives of her children.

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