Susie, a woman in her 20s with no children, called 911 when her boyfriend attacked her.

This was not the first time he had assaulted her, including at least one time where he strangled her to the point that she lost consciousness, but it was the first time she had called law enforcement. During this incident, he repeatedly punched her in the head and face resulting in a chipped tooth, a black eye, bruising on her cheek, and a severe headache. As was the case with previous beatings, all of Susie’s injuries were on the right side of her face/head because her boyfriend is left-handed.

He had regularly talked her out of seeking medical care for past injuries, but this time she was afraid because her headache wouldn’t go away. And the physical abuse was only part of the story. Susie’s boyfriend also tightly controlled who she could talk to and where she could go. She was not allowed to talk to her family and got in trouble if she got together with friends. Susie and her boyfriend also work at the same company, which allowed him to keep tabs on her throughout the day. There were times that coworkers would notice bruises on Susie and ask her if she was okay, but Susie would lie to cover up what her boyfriend was doing her.

After the most recent incident, however, when a coworker asked again about the bruises on Susie’s face, Susie decided to share what happened. The coworker encouraged Susie to call the police, and after several days of contemplating the risks involved, she called and reported the assault. An APRAIS screen was conducted and Susie was determined to be at “high risk” of serious injury or death at the hands of her boyfriend. Susie later shared with her Emerge case manager that having this understanding of her risk was one of the biggest reasons she decided to seek out help.

As part of the APRAIS protocol, law enforcement connected Susie with Emerge and she was able to be seen for an intake the next day. Initially, Susie was only interested in support groups, but as she started to learn more about the dynamics of abuse and the resources available, she quickly asked for individual support sessions as well. She started to see the connection between the physical abuse and the other forms of control her boyfriend was using. After her first interaction with

Emerge, she felt empowered to let her parents know what she had been experiencing – something she had never done before. Susie has just begun receiving service from Emerge, and we certainly don’t know what the future holds for her, but we do know that she has now accessed help and resources that she would have never received without APRAIS.