Handbook of Domestic Violence Intervention Strategies: Policies, Programs, and Legal Remedies

By Albert R. Roberts | Go to book overview

9
Innovations in the Legal System's
Response to Domestic Violence

Thinking Outside the Box for the Silent Majority
of Battered Women
AMY P. BARASCH
VICTORIA L. LUTZ

The Story Behind the Story, by Victoria L. Lutz

My dad's heart attacks always seemed to occur between midnight and 5:00 A.M. And he had many. This was in the 1950s and 1960s, when doctors still made house calls. Dr. Lidle, our family physician, would arrive within minutes of my mother's emergency call. I would look out my bedroom window and see Dr. Lidle's old Chevy station wagon pull into our driveway and know that my dad would get the immediate help that he needed. I didn't expect Dr. Lidle to cure my dad permanently, but each time that Dad received the help he needed at the time he needed it, I knew he would be better.

During the 32 years since my father died, I have spent the majority of my legal career trying to help battered women. And I have frequently thought of Dr. Lidle and his station wagon. If Dr. Lidle had not driven to my home in the wee hours of the morning so often that he knew the route without asking directions, my dad would have died many years before he did. In a parallel vein, it has struck me that, if domestic violence crimes begin in the home, frequently at night and frequently seriatim, domestic violence intervention must begin in the home, when it is needed and as often as it is needed. It has also struck me that, in terms of domestic violence intervention, if professional assistance is needed at the home or at the courthouse—wherever the victim

-173-

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