Advocates push to help domestic violence survivors through 'judicial terrorism'
There is a new push to help survivors of domestic violence and raise awareness to a little known, but common, form of abuse that happens after the victim leaves.
It's a tactic called judicial terrorism.
"It's more about the non-violent tactics of abusive control – isolate, intimidate and invoke power within the confines of litigation," said Donna King, director of Victims Safe Harbor.
Victims Safe Harbor is a nonprofit which specializes in court-sanctioned domestic violence, where an abuser uses the legal system to intimidate, harass and financially drain a survivor.
Orange County attorney Michael Sussman sees it in his own practice and is now behind this legislation providing federally funded legal services to better support survivors in what often becomes a legal fight to remain safe from an abuser.
The legal fight can cost tens of thousands of dollars over years or even decades.
Sussman says as of now, there is little to no legal consequences for judicial terrorism. His proposal seeks to change that and would create specific sanctions for anyone found guilty of doing so.