A Women’s Resource Center (WRC) emergency advocate met a family at Carilion New River Valley Medical Center. The advocate met Emily, a 7-year-old girl, and her Mom, Tammy. Emily lives with her Mom and spends alternating weekends with her dad, Jeff, who has joint custody. Tammy brought Emily to the hospital following a weekend visit with her Dad. When Emily returned home she told her Mom she had fallen while playing and hurt her knee. During bath time, Tammy observed bruising on Emily’s buttocks as well as a belt imprint on her legs which caused Tammy to take her to the hospital. Tammy learned during Emily’s visit with her Dad that he had become physically abusive with her causing her to fall into a table injuring her knee, and had then used a belt to punish her.
Tammy and Emily's Story
Tammy was very upset. The advocate talked to Tammy about the forensic exam, the legal investigation, working with social services, and the forensic interview process. This information helped ease some of Tammy’s concerns. The advocate then spent time playing with Emily helping her feel more at ease also.
The advocate stayed with Emily helping her through the process. Emily felt comfortable with the advocate and this helped Tammy feel more at ease. A safety plan was put in place and the advocate told them a WRC program coordinator would soon be in touch. Knowing there was follow up support and help available was very comforting to Tammy. The following day, the sexual assault program coordinator spoke with Tammy. She answered questions about the forensic interview being scheduled.
The program coordinator told Tammy an emergency advocate would be at the hospital for Emily’s follow-up exam. Tammy had questions about filing for sole custody. The WRC coordinator referred her to a WRC justice system navigator who was able to accompany Tammy while she filed the appropriate paperwork. The justice system navigator continues to work with Tammy as she works through the custody process. Tammy has expressed multiple times that the support she and Emily received from the Women’s Resource Center has been invaluable. Knowing she has somewhere to go when she needs information and support is a great comfort for Tammy. She values all the Women’s Resource Center has done and will continue to use the services offered.
Women’s Resource Center in one of the United Way’s partner agencies with the mission to implement individual and social change for a violence-free community in the New River Valley region of Virginia.