Victim’s advocate provides options for women
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – The job of a victim’s advocate isn’t an easy one, but Amy Putnam says it is rewarding.
Putnam is the victim’s advocate for Safe Alliance.
Her daily routine is never the same, but usually involves helping between one to three clients a day of the 72 total that Safe Alliance currently serves. Those clients are all victims of domestic abuse from the Lake Norman region.
“A lot of the clients don’t have anyone else because they have been very secluded,” she said. “They don’t want to tell anyone else what is going on. So I feel like I am really helping them get from the place that they are at and to a safer place.”
Parts of Putnam’s responsibilities include helping with protection orders and providing crisis intervention to the victims that reach out to Safe Alliance.
“I am a very immediate. What do you need right now?” Putnam said. “We normalize and get them out of that stage and then I move them toward a counselor. Our goal is to transition them into a longer form of healing.”
Putnam also travels to Charlotte for court accompaniment.
A lot of her clients have custody battles, because they are getting out of long-term marriages with children involved.
“I go to a lot of the custody hearings with them,” Putnam said, “because they don’t have the support. I am basically their support system, on a lesser scale, if they don’t have family.”
Putnam works in the Safe Alliance Lake Norman office with two trained counselors and an intern. She first got involved with Safe Alliance while a student at Queens University. At the time, the group was known as United Family Services.
While in school, she interned as a victim’s assistant, providing court accompaniment.
After graduation, she served as a victim’s advocate in her hometown of Jackson Hole, Wyo., for a couple of years, before moving back to work at Safe Alliance.
Putnam does not work for the police, but makes regular visits to the Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson police departments.
Most clients see Putnam for about two months until they transition into long-term counseling and move on with their healing process. One client has been coming to her for about a year.
Putnam said her job is a lot more involved now than when she was in Jackson Hole.
“I know the ins and outs of my clients’ lives,” Putnam said. “I know everything about them and their emotional stresses. It’s hard not to take that on me, but I’ve learned how. Part of my job is not doing things for them. They have to be empowered to do things for themselves.”
She says a lot of women go back to the abusive relationship and it takes, on average, seven times to get out of a relationship.
“A lot of the time, I see them going back and it’s hard to see that but I know and I understand why they are doing that,” Putnam said. “So we work around that and make it as safe as possible. It’s a good job, I wouldn’t trade it.”
Visit www.safealliance.org for more information about Safe Alliance and its programs.