When the Victim becomes the Accused

Navigating Justice to reunify mother and child

A young disabled mother was enticed into moving to Georgia with her little girl to live with her new partner in early 2020. This mother and her child now need our help!

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation towards their reunification and towards social justice, click here.

UPDATE

Since we originally shared Paige’s story when she was still in the Fulton County jail, a hearing was held and supporters showed up; the judge released Paige after seeing her support system and allowed her to move into a domestic violence shelter. This release by the court allowed Paige to begin working on the reunification plan issued by child protective services in Georgia (DFCS). Now that she is free, she can begin work on healthcare and healing from the trauma of both the domestic violence and of the incarceration. Paige still has a tough road ahead of her, so we are asking for your help.

Paige’s medical needs around her disability are front and center now that she has been released, but her insurance benefits have not yet been approved in Georgia where she must reside for now. With the proper therapy, she can improve functionality, feel better and also be her best self for her daughter. Her condition has been going downhill while incarcerated and she is in terrible pain.

Why does Paige need our help – what happened?

During the ‘honeymoon phase’ of the relationship that brought mother and daughter to Georgia, Paige did not see signs of danger for her and her child just as most victims of domestic violence do not see what is coming. Once Paige was situated in the partner’s home with her child and Paige’s disability income fell under the partner’s control, the mental, verbal and physical abuse began.

Paige is in a wheelchair and does not have use of her legs, suffering from several healthcare problems, including Proteus syndrome, scoliosis and injuries caused by a car accident – a broken pelvis and nerve pain. So, when the abuse escalated – after her partner had isolated her from friends and family – it was extremely difficult to find a way out, but Paige was trying.

Before Paige could find a path to safety and a new home, someone in her building saw the signs of abuse on Paige’s child and called authorities. Paige’s daughter was placed in foster care and Paige was sent to the Fulton County jail in the middle of 2020, prosecuted as if she is the perpetrator of child abuse rather than being supported as the victim of domestic violence.

It has been a long road for Paige, waiting in jail for many months without any sign of justice or relief, but advocacy is beginning to take hold. We are grateful to the domestic violence advocates who appeared to support Paige and to her lawyer for doing outside work with the agencies and the court.

Paige’s lawyer has more work to do to see her through this ordeal, so our next prayer request is that the District Attorney’s office decides to allow her to move forward without the overwhelming burden of a criminal case and probation that is hard to manage while in a wheelchair and while focusing on the reunification plan with her child.

For parents caught in our court system, going to court alone is especially terrifying, so Paige asked us to express her gratitude for all of the support in person and online. When we show up for each other, we have more hope that justice will be had!

Being released from jail is just the first step, and ongoing support is requested. Email here for more details about what is needed and what to expect. Thanks to local domestic violence organization Feet of Clay, housing has been arranged for Paige. She is beyond grateful that she does not have to worry about where she’ll live as she makes her transition, knowing that she will be safe! Feet of Clay was recently featured in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution to share Director Lawanda Jordan’s story.

Paige still needs a village to help her through this time as she works on healthcare and healing, then on her education and employment. We’ll be advocating for physical therapy, domestic violence counseling and support in recovering from the trauma of the abuse, the separation from her baby girl, and the physical pain and anguish from being incarcerated and isolated from everyone who loves and cares for her.

We appreciate the hard work by her new lawyer and the diligence of the caseworker with the Department of Family and Children’s Services in helping to transition Paige’s daughter to her family and to support Paige in healing and in reunification with her little girl. The separation of mother and daughter is extremely painful, and other problems can result from this separation if the situation is not managed carefully. According to Georgia’s Attorney General, over 80% of the children documented as victims of child trafficking have been exploited after involvement in the foster care system. We want to make sure that this child does not become another statistic – and the best way to protect her is to ensure she is reunified with extended family and with her mother. Reunification of mother and daughter can happen now that the court has released Paige on bond; she can begin her work on the case plan laid out by DFCS.

We will continue advocating for Paige’s child to be reunified with family and for them to have the support they need to heal and move forward, safely and together. Tax-deductible donations may be made here.

We are grateful for our alliance with Accessibility Bridge, a 501c3 serving people with disabilities and in need of inclusion and understanding.

Join our Facebook Group “We Show Up” for social justice, for survivors of family violence and child abuse.

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Thank you in advance for your prayers and support,

Deborah Beacham

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