Ms. D, an African immigrant represented by FLU attorney Christina Brandt-Young with assistance from committed volunteer Hannah West, obtained a 5 year order of protection and sole custody of her 4- and 7-year-old children in Manhattan Family Court. The case culminated after a year and a half of harrowing court proceedings, with the abuser going through several lawyers. The case began when Ms. D. filed a request for an order of protection, and became increasingly ugly as the batterer progressively accused Ms. D of failing to get adequate medical care for the children, then alleged that she beat the children, and then repeatedly took the children to child welfare agencies and the police alleging that she had a boyfriend who molested the children.

At trial, Ms. D demonstrated to the court that she had suffered intolerable physical and emotional abuse, including a sexual assault and beatings with a belt in front of her children. After the trial court issued a five-year stay-away order of protection in favor of Ms. D and her children, and ordered that the batterer’s visitation be supervised pending trial, the batterer defaulted and a final order of custody was issued to Ms. D.