When Leaving is the Only Option



The first time her husband Richard hit her, Lindsay was six months pregnant. Next, he broke her nose. But she stayed. She finally left him when their daughter was a year old.

For many victims of domestic violence, the decision to leave is fraught with emotional and financial obstacles. But the challenge gets even more complex in America's small towns and rural areas in states like Idaho, where cultural norms of privacy and independence make it more difficult for victims to seek out help.

“We're an independent, conservative, help-yourself kind of people,” says Karen McCarthy, an attorney with Idaho Legal Aid Services in Twin Falls.

But even in Idaho, attitudes have begun to change. The emergence of domestic violence courts around the state as well as increased understanding by law enforcement authorities have encouraged more victims of spousal abuse to seek help.

Even so, according to a three-part investigation by the Times-News in Twin Falls published this week, the lack of adequate state funding resources means the state still has a long way to go. The series was produced by Alison Smith, a 2014 John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Reporting Fellow, as part of a project assisted by John Jay's Center for Media, Crime and Justice.

To read the stories and see associated video interviews, please click HERE.

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