An advocate for abused Iowans says it’s difficult to convince some folks that someone who appears safe can actually pose a threat to a loved one. The Iowa Supreme Court this week ruled a Des Moines hospital should pay some damages to the estate of a woman who was killed by her estranged husband after he’d been released from the psychiatric unit. Jill Long had asked to be notified if her husband Gerald was released from the hospital, but never got the call. Laurie Schipper, director of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, says there’s really no recognized protocol in such instances.Schipper says she and others in her profession have a problem convincing folks that while a man like Gerald Long may not pose a danger to those inside the institution or hospital, he may indeed pose a threat to someone he’s been stalking or threatening outside. Schipper says people think that someone who’s capable of such monstrous behavior like beating or killing a spouse should look like it and will be violent toward others. But Schipper says they can hide those clues from everyone. Schipper cautions women who’ve successfully gotten their abuser “contained” somehow in treatment or prison not to let their guard down and maintain constant contact with authorities so they’ll know if and when their abuser is released. She says too often women who’ve been in such situations “want to breathe” and move without giving authorities a new address.
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