Choosing Options To Best Ensure Your Safety From Domestic Or Other "Intimate" Violence

by Tom Rue

Advocacy, Counseling, and Support for Victims

If you or someone you care about is living in a home situation where there is a history or high risk of violence (even if not living together), help is not far away. However, the person in the situation needs to carefully weigh the options and decide the safest course.

I invite schedule a face-to-face appointments to discuss options to increase your personal safety and that of children. What you choose to do is up to you, since you are in the only position to know what is truly best for you. My role as a counselor is not to persuade you, but to listen, support, educate, and to advocate.

I may also be able to help you create a viable emergency plan of action if, at some time in the future, you find have a safe opportunity to leave and that is your decision.

If you live in Sullivan County, New York, I also encourage you to call Safe Passages at 845-292-5700 and see their website for ideas and reliable, supportive information.

My voice-mail is confidential, as is the content of counseling sessions. Messages are returned with 24 hours.

If you need help immediately, see this page.

A Note On Privacy: If you are worried about an abusive partner or ex tracking your computer activity, learn how to increase your Internet safety and protect yourself from cyber-monitoring or stalking.

Related Links

These are some additional resources that may provide help:

What About 'Treatment' For Batterers?

By Tom Rue

This is a subject on which I have given much thought and discussion with victim advocates (of which I am one). I believe it is a mistake for courts to sentence domestic violence offenders to attend psychotherapy or counseling for their behavior.

I know it occurs, including in this geographic area, but as a mental health counselor I do not and will not provide this service. In my opinion (one which I have advocated for many years) it is a practice that should be discontinued.

Domestic violence is not a mental illness, and it can not be attributed to alcoholism or addiction. Plainly and simply, it is a crime, and should be treated as such by the courts.

Some clinics attempt to re-educate batterers, diagnosing them with 'impulse control disorder' or something similar. In my opinion, with all due respect to practitioners who do this, it is unethical and borders on insurance/Medicaid fraud.

There is no empirical evidence to show that "treatment" of family violence as though it were a mental health issue for the offender makes victims safer, or reduces the incidence of violence. In fact, the practice provides a false sense of security to victims and society by claiming otherwise. It is unethical.

There is nothing wrong with batterer's groups, to which courts can sentence offenders as part of community correctional supervision, but it is my opinion that it should not come under the guise of health-care.

This is not to say that people convicted of battering and other forms of assault do not deserve treatment for mental and physical health issues. Of course they do, like anyone else; simply not to "treat" the criminal acts they commit.

For more on this subject, see New York State's Response to Domestic Violence: Systems and Services Making a Difference and Criminal Justice, Legal, and Judicial Systems Model Domestic Violence Policy for Counties, which says in part:

"Courts should not order interventions such as substance abuse or mental health counseling for batterers as a response to the abusive conduct, or in lieu of a criminal justice sanction, such as probation supervision. Of course, such referrals may be indicated as a response to a non-domestic violence-related issue, such as a mental health or substance abuse problem."

Domestic violence is a crime and a human rights issue, not a symptom that to be ameliorated through mental health therapy.