Safe Exchange & Supervised Visitation (SESV)
New Mexico Judiciary’s Safe Exchange & Supervised Visitation (SESV) program, created in State Law and Supreme Court Rule, (Subsections H-I) provides children and their parents with a safe, nurturing environment for supervised visitation and exchange, allowing a child to continue his or her relationship with the noncustodial parent without being placed in the middle of parental conflicts.
Supervision acts initially as intervention, and ultimately as prevention with regard to disputes between parents and other members of the family and the children. The program also serves to diminish the child’s exposure to more harmful and potentially life-threatening situations. Emphasis is placed on the safety and well-being of the child.
Why Supervised Visits or Exchanges?
Safe Exchange and Supervised Visitation (SESV) services allow children to maintain relationships with both parents without being in the middle of their disputes. Children may anticipate visits without the stress of worrying about what is going to happen.
SESV services allow custodial parents to feel more confident about their own and their child’s safety without having to communicate or have contact with the parent with whom they are in conflict.
SESV services allow noncustodial parents to be assured that contact with the child(ren) will not be disrupted regardless of any personal or interpersonal problems or conflicts with the custodial parent. If allegations were made against the noncustodial parent, he or she may visit without being concerned about new accusations, because someone else is present who can verify what happens during the course of the visit.
SESV services allow other family members, such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles, the opportunity to maintain or renew relationships with the child(ren). Service providers allow these relatives to visit when specified in the Court’s order or agreed to by parents.
SESV services offer a tool to the Courts to reduce the number of cases returning to Court, and serve as an important component of an integrated community intervention system. Judges and judicial officers may allow parents to maintain the parent/child relationship while their cases are being litigated without sacrificing the safety of the children or victims of domestic violence.
SESV services offer highly trained, professional staff to monitor contact between a child and his or her noncustodial parent in a safe environment for all parties, and to facilitate a safe exchange between parents when contact might otherwise be confrontational. A parent’s selection of a “neutral” third party – a family member or friend – to oversee visits or exchanges often does not serve the interests of all parties. Parents in conflict may have difficulty agreeing upon a single individual to perform that role, and existing relationships with family or friends may be strained. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult for such third parties to refrain from taking sides, and their presence may detract from the quality of the parent/child visit, because of a tendency to interact with the family member or friend instead of focusing on the child. SESV programs address these problems.