Nine years ago, when our community’s old “Lethality Assessment Protocol” was in place (the predecessor to APRAIS), Anna called 911 when her husband physically assaulted her. When the officer responding to the call asked Anna the LAP risk assessment questions, Anna answered “no” to all of them. But the officer’s observations suggested that the situation was highly lethal and connected Anna to Emerge. Emerge reached out, but Anna never responded. She was too scared to say anything that might get her husband in trouble, out of fear of retribution. Almost a decade later, Anna again called 911 when her husband assaulted her.

This time, when an APRAIS risk assessment was conducted, she knew she needed to be forthcoming about all of the verbal, financial, emotional and physical abuse that was taking place. She had no doubt that her husband was capable of following through on his threats to kill her or hurt their children. He frequently accuses her of having an affair and uses the guns he has in the home to threaten her and their children.

Anna shared that he cycles between being kind and apologetic, and exploding in acts of violence. This time, when Emerge’s services were offered to Anna, she accepted. For the past several months, Anna has been regularly attending support groups through Emerge’s community-based services and reports that she is “learning a lot.”

Anna still has many barriers to safety and self-sufficiency in front of her. She is living with a family member temporarily and has not been able to find a job or place of her own to live. Anna is also dealing with the Department of Child Safety’s involvement with the family due to the abuse the children witnessed in the home (which Emerge is supporting her with). But Anna is making great strides in opening up about the abuse she has suffered and the impact it has had on her and her children. Something that has not been easy for her to do.

She is starting to work through the effects of the trauma they have all endured and has shared that she wants to explore therapy for her and her children as well. While Anna’s journey to a life free from abuse is far from over, due to the connection made through APRAIS, Anna will not have to walk this journey alone.