Domestic violence is often cyclical and goes through three phases that may last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of months. For more information, see the cycle of family violence section.
While the receipt of child support can be empowering, a survivor’s involvement in the child support system may increase or exacerbate their risks of violence in a number of specific ways. For example, an abuser may gain knowledge of a survivor’s whereabouts or access to children. An abusive ex-partner may re-enter her life with threats to seek custody. Also, Violent retaliation in response to paternity establishment or enforcement actions is often a risk.
How we can maintain confidentiality at all times.
- Have messages that say this is a safe, informed place in which to tell this information, and that you are a safe and informed person to tell.
- Victims/survivors understand how and by whom the information will be used.
- They have repeated opportunities to disclose in private.
- They receive respect and validation upon disclosure, and their confidentiality and privacy are respected.
In order to pursue child support safely, domestic violence victims/survivors need accurate, timely, and complete information about their responsibilities and the options, resources, and confidentiality protections available to them. One resource is Victim Information (and) Notification Every day (VINE) – This system allows crime victims to obtain timely and reliable information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders 24 hours a day. For more information, see the “Vine” article.
Oklahoma statute 43 O.S. 112A requires all parties and custodians to notify the Centralized Case Registry of a current public address of record (AOR).
The AOR is stated on court orders and may be disclosed to other authorized parties or custodians for correspondence or service of process for support, visitation, and custody actions. An AOR may be a post office box, physical address, or attorney’s office. If family violence has been indicated on a case, CSS asks that the claiming party’s AOR be DIFFERENT from their physical address!
The Family Violence Indicator is a function of the child support computer program to help caseworkers and customer service representatives (CARE) easily identify that a case has been screened for family violence and family violence is or is not an issue for at least one of the parties involved. The Family Violence Indicator is also updated if a Victims’ Protection Order involving the parties is on file with the Court and is active.
If family violence has been indicated in a case, the computer system also prevents the parties’ addresses from being printed on many of the child support documents.
Family violence can be claimed in writing, by oral statement, or even by a caseworker.
Finally, Survivors of domestic violence need safe access to child support services, so it is important to remember that they face a host of issues and barriers that we must work with and around. The following are things to bear in mind:
- Effective and safe service requires an intentional, ongoing, and integrated approach.
- Providing universal information enhances safety and efficiency.
Domestic Violence programs/experts are important partners and resources for you and your clients.