Amalia* was brought by force to the U.S. from another country by her intimate partner. Her partner physically and sexually assaulted her for years causing life-threatening and life altering injuries. He later kidnapped their child and threatened that she would never see their child again unless she paid him. Desperate and under duress, she made a spur of the moment attempt to steal and was caught, convicted of burglary, and sentenced to several years in prison.
While Amalia was still in her home country, she sought help from the police, who did not help her and told her she needed to accept her situation as how things are. Despite trying to escape, she could not get the help she needed to find safety.
Amalia has been ordered to be deported back to her country of origin because of the crime, even though it was under duress and directly connected to the abuse. Amalia and her attorney are appealing this decision with the support of FVAP and Haynes and Boone. We filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the summer of 2020 providing information to the court about the effects of abuse, including traumatic brain injury, and how, among other things, survivors of domestic violence are routinely forced to commit or participate in crimes as part of the abuse. Survivors have been imprisoned based on acts directly connected to domestic violence and yet the role of domestic violence is often minimized or ignored. In April 2021, Amalia and her attorney are arguing in federal court for her right to the safety and justice she deserves.
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*Client’s name has been changed for privacy and safety reasons.