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family member asking for money - domestic violence issue :-(((
Old 07-07-2011, 11:58 AM   #1
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family member asking for money - domestic violence issue :-(((

Well, seems like our lives have been going along fantastic and then "whammo" - hit with a huge family issue.

A relative is asking for money for 3 months of rent. She was beat up by her husband in front of her children on Saturday. He threatened to kill the entire family. He was arrested but his mother posted bond so he is out. She has filed a protection order.

She is in school full-time and has 3 months left until she graduates and can start working. She was being supported financially by her husband, so obviously she is in major financial distress. No one else in the family has money (and/or is willing to give it) so she has come to us. We have loaned her money in the past ($650), and she did pay us back. We love her and the kids and are very worried about their safety.

The issue for us isn't the money. It's her safety. We want her to go to a shelter, but she refuses to do that. Wants to keep life as "normal" as possible for the kids. I've sent her tons of links to domestic violence centers and educated her on the huge risk she is taking with their lives. I don't think she is going to change her mind.

I know I can't make her do this, but to be honest, I was hoping if we didn't give her the rent money she'd be forced to go to a safe house. I doubt that is going to work. I'm afraid if we do give her the money, she is just going to stay in the same dysfunctional cycle, maybe take him back (this happened about a year ago - he stopped drinking - and now has started again). Gah. You know the drill. I guess I'm also feeling like if we give her the money and support her staying there, and then something bad happens we will always question ourselves for not taking a hard line. I don't know. We are so confused as to how to approach this. I know there are some fine people on this board, who've been through lots in life, so I'm looking for some wisdom. DH is just as confused as me as to what we should do.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:21 PM   #2
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Did she change the locks and kick out the husband?

Does husband have any money?

Does she plan to get a divorce?

Are the kids his? (IOW will he have to pay child support?)

How is she related to YOU (I would not help out a cousin or even a niece that I have not seen in 10 to 30 years... so it matters IMO)


I would suggest that she file for divorce right away and get support payments from him.

I am not much use on the personal side..... but sorry to hear about this...
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:27 PM   #3
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I'd call a shelter and see what recommendations they have on dealing with this. This is new to you, not to them.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:32 PM   #4
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I'd call a shelter and see what recommendations they have on dealing with this. This is new to you, not to them.
Absolutely.

The only experience of working with battered women I have is measuring bruises and taking photos at the police station.

Don't let this eat you up simple girl...speak to someone at a shelter.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:32 PM   #5
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Did she change the locks and kick out the husband?

Does husband have any money?

Does she plan to get a divorce?

Are the kids his? (IOW will he have to pay child support?)

How is she related to YOU (I would not help out a cousin or even a niece that I have not seen in 10 to 30 years... so it matters IMO)


I would suggest that she file for divorce right away and get support payments from him.

I am not much use on the personal side..... but sorry to hear about this...
The husband is kicked out; not sure if she changed the locks, but I advised her to do so (sent her a full safety plan from the National Domestic Violence Center).

I doubt the husband has money. She is getting legal help and has a hearing soon to get child support set up. 2 of the kids are his.

She is my neice-in-law. We are close to her. Her parents are very dysfunctional, and DH has been a big emotional support for her throughout the years. He's more like a big brother to her.

Good news - she just wrote me back, and said she is going to call one of the centers I linked to her. Keeping my fingers crossed...
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:35 PM   #6
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We want her to go to a shelter, but she refuses to do that. Wants to keep life as "normal" as possible for the kids. I've sent her tons of links to domestic violence centers and educated her on the huge risk she is taking with their lives. I don't think she is going to change her mind.
That right there is a huge problem. Things are going to change and she must recognize and adapt to that. The fact that the same thing happened a year ago does not bode well for her future unless she decides that it has to change permanently.

That said, if she is willing to make the changes necessary to keep herself and the kids safe then I'd offer help. But she must answer the question "What are you planning to do to keep this from happening again?"

Agreed on calling a shelter and ask their opinion. They deal with these issues every day. There is a cycle to these relationship issues and they know what has to happen to stop it.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:41 PM   #7
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I'd call a shelter and see what recommendations they have on dealing with this. This is new to you, not to them.
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Absolutely.

The only experience of working with battered women I have is measuring bruises and taking photos at the police station.

Don't let this eat you up simple girl...speak to someone at a shelter.
Thanks guys. I did call a shelter. They were the ones who told me that I needed to give her the safety plan info and info on statistics of women getting murdered if they stay in such situations. They said there really is nothing more I can do to convince her. Seems like this info has worked to at least get her to call and find out more. That is a big relief in and of itself.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:45 PM   #8
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That said, if she is willing to make the changes necessary to keep herself and the kids safe then I'd offer help. But she must answer the question "What are you planning to do to keep this from happening again?"
Very good insight. Thank you.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:54 PM   #9
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I have no experience or advice to offer but just want to convey my sympathy for all of you going through this dreadful situation and hopes for a good outcome. Your niece-in-law is lucky to have you and your DH in her life.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:13 PM   #10
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I would offer to help her get started with a NEW life so long as she takes the advise of the women's shelter staff and protects herself and the children. I gather that she has custody of her child by another father, if there is any risk to that child the father (or father's family) could (and should) take custodial action.

If she doesn't protect herself the abusive husband could kill or seriously injure her, the children would be a whole lot more worse off than they would be in a shelter.

Give her money to stay in school but she should also tell the school security staff of her circumstances. They need to know.

Give her money for an attorney and a therapist who works with battered women.

Then discuss rent.

BTW, this issue is not limited to low income families.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:25 PM   #11
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I would offer to help her get started with a NEW life so long as she takes the advise of the women's shelter staff and protects herself and the children. I gather that she has custody of her child by another father, if there is any risk to that child the father (or father's family) could (and should) take custodial action.

If she doesn't protect herself the abusive husband could kill or seriously injure her, the children would be a whole lot more worse off than they would be in a shelter.

Give her money to stay in school but she should also tell the school security staff of her circumstances. They need to know.

Give her money for an attorney and a therapist who works with battered women.

Then discuss rent.

BTW, this issue is not limited to low income families.
Excellent points. I am taking notes for when we call and talk to her. Thank you as well.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:32 PM   #12
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Sorry to hear about your problem but you seem to be handling it well . I would definetely give her money to stay safe but not if she was going right back into the situation.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:46 PM   #13
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So sorry to hear about this latest problem with your niece-in-law. I don't have anything to add to the good advice being given here. As others have said, if you can link any financial support with actions on her side then it will be a hand up rather than a hand out.

I think your niece is very lucky to have your support and it's good to hear that you were paid back the last time you helped her out financially.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:53 PM   #14
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So sorry to hear about this latest problem with your niece-in-law. I don't have anything to add to the good advice being given here. As others have said, if you can link any financial support with actions on her side then it will be a hand up rather than a hand out.

I think your niece is very lucky to have your support and it's good to hear that you were paid back the last time you helped her out financially.
Thanks so much Alan. (BTW, this is a different niece than the last problem I posted with my other niece. I could do with a bit less drama from both sides of our families!)
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:02 PM   #15
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Thanks so much Alan. (BTW, this is a different niece than the last problem I posted with my other niece. I could do with a bit less drama from both sides of our families!)
oops, sorry about that.

Good luck going forward with this.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:37 PM   #16
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SG, one question that comes to mind is this: can she afford the rent on the place by herself in 3 months when your support presumably ends? This is doubtful, so she really should move now, into the shelter or wherever, so that once the crisis time is over, she can start again in a new place to which he has no "claim".

My friend who just left her abusive husband had to leave, move out of the house, move in with a friend, in order to break free of him. She and her child are now going to move into an apartment of their own, now that they built up a bit of a cushion from staying with the friend and saving money.

I think she needs the support and counseling she and the children could receive through a shelter as well. That is better than her sitting at home and blaming herself for the marriage not working (which my friend, who is so smart in other ways, is still doing).

Best to you in a tough situation.
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:02 PM   #17
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SG, one question that comes to mind is this: can she afford the rent on the place by herself in 3 months when your support presumably ends? This is doubtful, so she really should move now, into the shelter or wherever, so that once the crisis time is over, she can start again in a new place to which he has no "claim".
That is another excellent point to bring up in our conversation. It was a concern I had, but my head is all over the place today, and I forgot about it. I knew this group would help me try to remain clear headed and more objective. Thank you!!!!

In answer to this question, I have my doubts...the rent is $750/mo. I don't know what she'll be making upon getting out of school - but it won't be big bucks - it's cosmetology school. I'm really worried she's not gonna be able to do this on her own...who knows if/when she'll get child support. The program I had her call has a transitional program, where they help support the person with rent monies, etc. after they leave the shelter. Unfortunately, my niece told me she was told there is a waiting list for the program.

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My friend who just left her abusive husband had to leave, move out of the house, move in with a friend, in order to break free of him. She and her child are now going to move into an apartment of their own, now that they built up a bit of a cushion from staying with the friend and saving money.

I think she needs the support and counseling she and the children could receive through a shelter as well. That is better than her sitting at home and blaming herself for the marriage not working (which my friend, who is so smart in other ways, is still doing).

Best to you in a tough situation.
She said she is all for the counseling for her and the kids. This gives me hope, for sure. They definitely need it.
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:26 PM   #18
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You can offer her two kinds of help: financial and emotional support. I'd be hesitant to link them.

It may be that without some financial help she can't 'dump the jerk'. It may seem easier to her to accept life as it has been rather than deal with the financial (and emotional) trials of going it alone.

Of course you should encourage her to face life as it is and think of how it could be. That may be easier if she has fewer financial worries.

To link financial help with her following your advice, however, has elements of bribery or blackmail. Both of these may come back to haunt your relationship. If she was someone near and dear to me, I'd just do what I could, I'd even consider (at least to me) any financial help a gift and not a loan, but it really wouldn't hurt me financially. That way if she can't repay it won't damage the relationship.

As always, YMMV. I wish you all the best, whatever you decide.
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:40 PM   #19
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You can offer her two kinds of help: financial and emotional support. I'd be hesitant to link them.

It may be that without some financial help she can't 'dump the jerk'. It may seem easier to her to accept life as it has been rather than deal with the financial (and emotional) trials of going it alone.

Of course you should encourage her to face life as it is and think of how it could be. That may be easier if she has fewer financial worries.

To link financial help with her following your advice, however, has elements of bribery or blackmail. Both of these may come back to haunt your relationship. If she was someone near and dear to me, I'd just do what I could, I'd even consider (at least to me) any financial help a gift and not a loan, but it really wouldn't hurt me financially. That way if she can't repay it won't damage the relationship.

As always, YMMV. I wish you all the best, whatever you decide.
Thank you for your perspective. Sage advice.
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:23 PM   #20
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If she is still in the house, can you pay for and arrange to have a locksmith go and change the locks today?

Good luck with this!
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