for their safety. Accommodations should also be made to allow victims to leave the substance abuse treatment program in the company of a domestic violence service provider in order to attend a battered women's support group.
e.When a victim is a mother and cannot or does not take the children to an in-patient substance abuse treatment program with her, the treatment provider should permit her to contact the caretakers and the children regularly to assess their well-being and to advise the children of her safety.
Although in-patient substance abuse treatment programs often have "no contact" rules during the first week of treatment, if a victim is a mother, the rule should be waived to allow regular communication between the victim and her children while she is in treatment. In addition to alleviating concerns that children might have about their mother, allowing contact is important to protect victims from charges of "abandonment" or "neglect" in custody cases.
f.If a victim in an in-patient substance abuse treatment program has initiated legal action for an order of protection, custody, and/or support, and it is not possible or advisable for her to obtain a continuance, accommodations should be made by the substance abuse treatment provider to allow her to meet with legal counsel, a court advocate, and/or a district attorney, and to appear at all court hearings.
g.Because client records may be subpoenaed by the courts, particularly in custody cases, substance abuse treatment providers should ensure that client records are accurate, objective, and maintained in keeping with professional standards.
Information obtained from the patient, as well as any pertinent observations, should be carefully and fully entered into the client record. Any future or pending legal proceedings might very well draw on the information recorded in the case record. The failure to document the abuse may be used by the abuser to deny its existence, or the provider may be held liable for failing to recognize the abuse and respond to the patient's complaints.
While thorough and accurate case recording is necessary, be alert to the potential harmful uses of the information in the case record, such as an abuser using a partner's alcohol/other drug problem as evidence of the victim's unfitness as a custodial parent.
h.In the event that an abuser and a victim of domestic