Season 2 Episode 5: How professionals & systems can avoid being manipulated by perpetrators
Domestic violence perpetrators do not only target survivors. They also target the professionals & systems who want to want to help them. Many perpetrators, often using money, privilege and power, leverage systems to amplify their control. False allegations of substance abuse, mental health issues or child abuse are lodged with social services and family courts, often to devastating effect. Other behaviors include:
- Continuous litigation to exhaust the financial ability of survivors to resist
- The use of police wellness checks to intimidate a survivor
- The weaponization of survivor's mental health and addiction diagnoses, to gain control over children, even when those problems are the result of the perpetrator's abuse.
Survivors can feel trapped between perpetrators and systems that are not savvy to these behaviors. The effects of system manipulation on the safety & wellbeing of adult and child survivors of domestic violence is often long term, financially devastating, and harmful to child wellbeing and development. In some instances these system failures can cause MORE trauma than the initial abuse itself.
In this episode, David & Ruth discuss how domestic violence perpetrators target practitioners in different systems, and why those systems are so vulnerable to these tactics. They highlight the vulnerabilities of family court, criminal justice and child welfare. They discuss how to recognize when a perpetrator is manipulating your system to harm a victim, and how to resist these manipulations.