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What is the appropriate response for a forensic mental health professional in this case?

Ina is a Russian immigrant living in the U.S. with her husband of 5 years and two children, ages 2 and 4. Ina only lived in America a short time before meeting her husband, who began abusing her while they were dating. She recalls being hopeful that, with every stage of their relationship (marriage, children, etc.), he would change and the abuse would decrease. However, the opposite occurred. In the most recent incident a few weeks ago, Ina’s husband hit her in the head so hard (in front of their children) that she lost consciousness for about 20 minutes. Ina does not work outside the home due to her limited fluency in English, and she has no money of her own since her husband is in charge of all their finances. Thus, she has chosen not to leave her husband, because doing so would result in her and her children becoming homeless. One homeless shelter in her area is for both men and women and is geared towards offenders who have been recently released from prison. It is located in a high crime area. The other homeless shelter in her area caters to women who have suffered domestic abuse, but it has only a few beds and a wait list of 14 months.

Should Ina be evaluated and given recommendations about what she should do next? If she refuses an evaluation, what are the ethics involved in attempting to mandate a non-criminal adult to be evaluated? What is the appropriate response for a forensic mental health professional in this case?


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