Not all cases involve a father beating a mother, but many do. For a moment I challenge you to really think about what this dynamic of 'separation' actually means for a two parent family with children where physical abuse is occurring.
Lets start by thinking about the children who are overhearing these horrible fights...
The fights might not happen very often, but when they do the children hear the screaming and the cussing. They hear their mother pleading with their father and the children know something is terribly wrong. Even as a child they know they are completely helpless to stop the fight. In these moments they are wrestling with profound questions that no little one should ever face. Do they love both daddy and mommy, or is it not okay for them to love daddy anymore? Mommy is crying and the little one is hiding under the bed, but what if daddy comes after her next? Mommy can't protect her, so what will the child do?
What a horrible situation for any child to be part of, and yet our answer is too often "remove the mother and children from the home".
If we do remove the mother and children, about 6% of them will go to a communal shelter setting for up to 90 days. So now, mom and her children are suddenly sleeping in another home with a whole group of people that none of them know. How easy is it for anyone to suddenly live with strangers? These children and mom are stressed and upset about the events that lead to them coming to the shelter to begin with. Suddenly they are asked to leave everything behind and take handouts as a means of survival in exchange for temporary safety. In time, they might even make friends in the shelter settings, but chances are good that their new friends will leave within the next couple of months. They are not allowed to connect to old friends so that the abuser can't find them and their new friends are often leaving and moving on. Does a communal shelter setting actually help these traumatized little ones or does it simply compound the problem of inability to trust?
Without support in locating long term affordable housing and resources during the transition, statistics show that a mother with children runs a 78% chance of becoming homeless.
Have you honestly considered the question of if homelessness or occasional fighting is better for the children? The escaping families who become homeless are usually ones without loved ones they can turn to during the crisis. They usually don't have any resources or funding to help them get through the drastic shift of leaving an abuser. The mothers who become homeless are usually running with their children and hiding from CYFD or trying to keep the children away from their abusive parent. There are a few reasons homelessness happens but usually it is due to fear of children being taken away. Before you assume this won't happen, it does. Children will be taken from a mother who can't afford to support them. This mother recently left an abuser and is probably struggling emotionally with lots of sudden changes. She might have a job but how much income does this provide? Even if the mother does have a job, she probably continues to suffer lack of enough income to support the children on her own. If income wasn't a problem when she left then she probably would have rented an apartment rather than living in a shelter for 90 days. It is true that she is likely poor enough to qualify for government assistance, but that process requires an application. It takes time to review the request and this mom has children who need her to care for them. How will she survive while she waits for these things to come through?
None of these are easy questions to think about, but when a mother is leaving with her children they are the questions she not only has to answer but she literally has to find a way through.
In America both parents have equal rights to their children, this right applies even to abusers. This means that an abuse victim who has children with her abuser is going to eventually need to address the legal question of custody and parenting. So a mother who has been beaten is faced with proving that the person who beat her should not have access to the children. Only she probably has no money to afford an attorney who can help her navigate the legal system. She is a single parent trying to support her children and the money she does earn provides for the basics. Court is still necessary, so she will do the best she can by using free legal hotlines and filing the necessary court paperwork on her own. Once she is in a hearing, she will need to talk about specifics on why she doesn't want the children with their father. She will have to share her trauma with a number of strangers who are questioning everything she says in an attempt to make an important decision about the children. She will endure the experience because she hopes that her children will not be forced to spend time with the man who beat her in front of them. We want to believe this doesn't happen, but sadly the abuser is likely going to be given some access to his children. The children's mother will share custody with the same man who beat her. For every time an exchange of the children between the victim and her abuser occurs, this woman will continue to face her abuser.
Now I ask again, does "just leaving" even sound possible?