The Genocide of Battered Mothers and their Children

Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

Kansas Legislation; Marriage is the answer to childhood poverty, Require victims of domestic violence to be counseled on abstinence and suggest returning to their abuser to promote “two-parent families”. oh and…Files Egg-As-Person Legislation

In domestic law on January 31, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Brownback, The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, Attacks Single Mothers and the Poor

by Kari Ann Rinker, National Organization for Women (NOW), Kansas

January 30, 2012 –

Tags: Race and Class | Race and Class | State elections | Tea Party |child poverty | Governor Sam Brownback | Kansas | poverty | single motherhood | Analysis

 

Kansas is a state with a history of moderate representation.  The fanatics that our state is currently known for remain more numerous than any of us would prefer, but this is a state that has had its fair share of moderate Republican and Democratic governors.

But in 2010 the majority of Kansans chose to elect the righteously conservative Senator Sam Brownback as the 46th Governor of Kansas. Kansas residents who care about equality and reproductive justice were fully aware of the Senator’s voting record and his past statements on gay rights and abortion rights.  We knew his election would have devastating repercussions in these areas, and fears have certainly been borne out with each signature on all five pieces of duly fanatical anti-choice legislation that has passed over his new desk.

Senator Brownback’s gubernatorial win was largely due to the tide of Tea Party mentality and action within the state, much like what was seen throughout the rest of the nation. Throughout his career, his fanaticism has always been on display.  He has always worn it like a right wing badge of honor.  He never bothered to hide it or conceal it.  Until his campaign for Governor, which is when he was savvy enough to distance himself from his past fanaticism, spoke in amazing generalities and avoided making the inflammatory statements that he had been known for in the past.

It was during this campaign that Sam Brownback donned his sheep’s clothing. He has put that clothing to very good use over the first year of his term as Kansas Governor.  He has worn this clothing each and every day.   As he begins his second year as Governor of Kansas, practicality remains his fashion motto.  

If you are a wolf poised to prey upon the poor and underprivileged citizens of your state, practicality dictates that you don’t come right out and say:

“I’m going to force women into motherhood and marriage, take food stamps away from children, drastically reduce early childhood programs, take away tax credits that help working families, thus enabling a significant tax cut to my privileged constituents.”

No, practicality dictates that the Governor continue to wear his sheep suit and say things like, “Reducing childhood poverty is a cornerstone during my term as Governor” and “the greatness of a society can be measured by the compassion it shows to its least fortunate.”

Then, you can hold town halls that present marriage as the answer to childhood poverty, tacitly approve of contracts that require victims of domestic violence to be counseled on abstinence and suggest returning to their abuser to promote “two-parent families” and willfully ignore policy that take food stamps from citizen children of undocumented parents.

Then in your spare time, you can present a budget that strips $16 million dollars from Children’s Initiative Funds that support programs like Early Head Start and a tax plan that would eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit for those making less than $25,000 a year and remove the child care tax credit, which ultimately enables you to provide a tax break of $5,200 to those making over $250,000.

This tax policy has been given the thumbs up by Brownback’s hired budget consultant, Arthur Laffer.  Mr. Laffer is known for the “Laffer Curve” and as a “father of Reaganomics.” Laffer appeared before the Kansas Senate Tax Committee last week.  During that proceeding, I was presented with a unique opportunity to challenge Mr. Laffer on Governor Brownback’s elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The elimination of this credit will have immediate effects upon single mothers who use the money received from this credit to repair their car, pay off the outstanding doctor bill or maybe even buy a new suit so that they might interview for a better job to provide for their children.  Brownback’s office has accused these working moms of “fraud.”

The Lawrence Journal World quoted the Governor’s Budget Director, Steve Anderson as saying:

“We have no way of making sure, for example, that a single mother is spending that on needs for her children.”

“Fraud” is nothing more than the politically correct way to continue to disparage the single, working moms of Kansas.  “Fraud” is nothing more than Governor Brownback desperately trying to cover himself with his last remaining scrap of his sheep costume.  The disguise has finally worn thin, and he currently finds himself presenting his full on wolf-self to the citizens of Kansas.

. . . . . . . . . .

How Will Egg-as-Person Legislation Fare in Kansas?

by Kari Ann Rinker

Jan 19, 6:53am

 

How will a so-called personhood amendment fare in Kansas?  We’re going to find out. Kansans for Life is already publicly skeptical, saying they are "afraid of pushing the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court."

Kansas Group Files Egg-As-Person Legislation; Democrat Vince Wetta Signs as Co-Sponsor

by Kari Ann Rinker

Today, Personhood Kansas announced via press release that it has pre-filed a Personhood bill in the Kansas legislature.  We can expect to see that bill officially filed next week.

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Domestic Batterers Do Not Need Help! They NEED PUNISHED!! Jailed and Kept Away from their Victims!

In domestic law on January 31, 2012 at 6:53 pm
Will this insanity ever end? Topeka decriminalizes domestic violence, Kansas City just followed suit yesterday.

I listen to the local police Scanner and am simply amazed at all the poor batterer Domestic Violence calls—Daddy refusing to give children back after visits, kidnapping when mom does it- his kids when he does it, he is just stressed, addiction etc, etc, etc….. -sigh-

Photo by Gordon Cheung:The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Women will never be free as long as they cannot leave an abuser a Violent Offender with her children, in fact – this is where they do the next best thing to killing her- they take her kids. With the Courts help. Stop treating this as a illness, a family thing it IS A CRIME!!!! We Do Not Need Safe Visit For Violent Offenders like ‘Safe Visit’ see prior post. 

We do not need to treat them we need to punish them for crimes committed. Punish as you would assault cases. At least get rid of the DV clause — or ‘get out of jail free card’.

Domestic batterers find help in YWCA program Steve Halley leads small groups that provide help for domestic violence offenders through the Family Peace Initiative program, based at the Topeka YWCA, 225 SW 12th. By Phil Anderson Domestic violence is a widespread problem that often spirals out of

Kansas City Ends Domestic Violence Ordinance – Women on the Firing Line In October, the District Attorney of Shawnee County, which encompasses Topeka, Kansas, announced that he would cease to prosecute domestic violence cases within the city of Topeka. He argued that with recent budget cuts he no longer had sufficient resources and that the city should take on the burden of these prosecutions. The city council responded by repealing their ordinance against domestic violence! 

Kansas has so much crap going on at the moment, Gov. Sam Brownback pushing couples counseling and ABSTINENCE?  It would be hysterically funny to even think this — if it weren’t true, that this, IS what they are doing.

I mean C’mon…. “Hey you perp… stop raping and beating your wife’. Yeah, that will sure fix it.

State’s proposed domestic violence contract widely criticized But the two sentences are still inappropriate in a proposed contract for domestic violence services, no matter the rationale, said state Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, ranking minority member of the Ways and Means Committee and the Public Health and …

Fatherhood Initiatives being forced down everyone’s throat, His motto: "Woman stay married period." Brownback-I-Stan?  indeed. 
From
Reality Check: Brownback, The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, Attacks Single Mothers…

“I’m going to force women into motherhood and marriage, Reduce Funding to SRS for mothers and Children and INCREASE Funding to SRS for Fatherhood Initiatives." 

That is by the way DADDY WELFARE!!

I Expect The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse To Ride In Soon.

U. S. Fatherhood Initiatives – Control of Women and Children Under the Guise of "Responsible Married Fatherhood"

Attention Judges and Lawmakers: This is the REAL AGENDA of the Father’s Rights Movement

Maternal Deprivation Inflicted on Battered Women and Abused Children

Senate Judiciary Chairman – Response to Proposed Changes to Child Custody Law

Hearing to Review Responsible Fatherhood Programs

The National Fatherhood Initiative: Supporting a Misogynistic Agenda

Topeka, KS: Safe Visit Looses United Way Funding, A Child trafficking, Batterer Friendly, Custody Switch Program. Fatherhood Initiatives Give Batterers Custody

In domestic law on January 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm
Custody Switch – Safe Visit of Topeka, Kansas – The Scam, Court Ordered Abuse for profit-

Because of the Fathers Rights Initiatives. Mommies NOT needed. Just Access Visitation Programs.

It’s about time!!!! YEAH!!!! one less, so many more to go….

Safe Visit and the many other programs that have morphed in the past two decades Odyssey, TREC, Fathers Rights Topeka and all the many many other so called metal health supposed professionals—and simple ‘social workers’ -who found easy $$-  e.g. Connie Sanchez, Jenny Shaw, Kara Haney, (just to name a very few) who ‘charge $’ to SUPERVISE a Mother’s Visits with HER own Children.

I had not finished this chapter in my “Leaving The War Zone” I find it very difficult to write about the horrific human rights crimes that Kansas committed, allowed, continues… to my daughter and I, all to turn a buck. But due to the recent article about Safe Visit and Connie Sanchez in Topeka Kansas, "United Way pulls funding on Safe Visit program" 

I publish below what I have written thus far and WHY all these so called –do good- human experiment-Programs [may be profitable to ‘Hitler’ type persona’s-this HUMAN Experiment, social engineering Program FAILURE] for use to follow up on article about Save Visit Loosing their Funding. And HOPEFULLY, God please… Closing by February…..(Note in the article it states ‘max 30 one hour supervised visits.’)


Rikki and I were SUPERVISED there for over Decade – 15 YEARS. Incredible. Two lives completely destroyed … the best they could come up with was a limit of 30 hours. If this had been the rule (or if it had never existed in the first place) in the many years of it’s inception in 1995 and in 1996 when we were 1st Court Ordered to the ‘human trafficking’ and ‘Take Battered Mothers Children and give to Abusers Program’ aka Safe Visit. These people need to go down, them and all ACCESS VISITATION aka Custody Switch Programs for Batterers.

Perhaps..…….a mother and daughter would know each today if 30 hours was max……As is, the batterer Hal Richardson has maintained his bond of chains and imprisonment of my daughter, with the assistance from safe Visit and other anti mother, Abuser friendly individuals and businesses….there has been absolutely no contact in several years. Which is why I began writing or attempts to "Leaving The War Zone."

 

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Chapter Three – Safe Visit – The Custody Switch, The Scam, The Profit$

June 15th 2011 7:00 A.M.

Rikki with her Mother Claudine Dombrowski. Casualties of Safe Visit Program Who Assist’s Batterers In Getting Child Custody, While Erasing Mother.

This case leads in a Human Rights suit filed at the Inter American Commission Human Rights on behalf of all battered Mothers and their children.

‘Dombrowski et el. v US’

 

Leaving The War Zone Chapter Three: The Custody Switch

It’s Wednesday, ‘hump day’. I am sitting outside this cool morning drinking my coffee, feeling the warmth on my legs listening to the world waking up- I am reminded of a time –many years ago when Rikki and I were still safe. In W. Kansas in our in Pawnee rock.

I would sit outside drinking my coffee in the early morning quiet. The weather cool- watering my awesome flowers that I had landscaped for several years.

Our home was beautiful. We had a small pool 12 ft for Rikki her friends and I. These were warm memory days. Days when I knew where my daughter was, days when hope floated with each beating of her heart. I would love to watch her sleep- she sleeps like I do- rough. She snores- like I do- and inherited maternal trait from my own dear mother.

Allergies tend to hit us with a storm, but we never let them effect the beauty and joy of each precious day we had. At this time in the late 90’s we had only 3 weeks together before the week long hell visits would begin for her.

The courts start in the custody switch. A game that is now known to many mothers- “The Custody Switch” mine came on snail mail by the Judge with out motion from either party, without hearing, the judge simple on his own issued his own 9 page order on July 31, 2000 that Rikki would be living with her father. And that if I foreclosed on our beautiful home and quit my well paying state job (dad never paid child support – I never needed it – I had been working for the state of Kansas as a psychiatric nurse for almost 13 years ) I was to quit my job, severe all contact with my home, Rikkis home, and relocate to Topeka Kansas (the courts knowing that do to my physical injuries inflicted by  daddy dearest that I would not be able to work in Topeka—Larned state hospital had made concessions for my physical disabilities- and Topeka state hospital had closed in 1996- when I moved to Pawnee Rock).

That day, July 31, 2000 will always mark the day-:the music died’.- we had after 6 years of heavy litigation and after I had spent in upwards of over 1 million dollars—my child was gone. I was forced into unemployment, homelessness, and no health care—all for “the best interest of the child’. Makes no sense does it? Daddy promptly tried to get me back into the house by forcing me to have sex to even see Rikki—I did. Who wouldn’t.

By December of that same year, the last time I saw Rikki with out armed guard—daddy had beaten Rikki so badly, I could not allow her suffering anymore — I confronted him—only to find that once again as a good ‘co-parenting’ (as quoted by Harry Moore Case manger—‘it’s called co-parenting deal with it”) I had the hell beat out of me again. (this is co-parenting).

I then found myself brutally raped that same beating Dec 16th,2000 just two days after Rikki had been beaten, (she fell up the hill btw) her face swollen and tears in her eyes. God, Rikki I am so sorry, I am so sorry. I tried to protect her, I did the unthinkable. I reported it.

As all protective mothers are – I was swiftly denied any contact with my dear sweet Rikki for the next two years. Then when I was placed into supervised visits “SAFE VISIT” of TOPEKA—they were arm guard—hence began the next decade of our lives. When I was able to see her it was through safe visits only. The cost was excruciating, the time was only an hour—we could not hug we could not talk about anything past dull, how’s school etc. And never never about why we were even there, why mom and daughter could not even see each other in the park, outside or at home, or go anywhere.

We remained confined to a 10’ x 10’ room with 1 monitor, 1 supervisor, 1 armed Shawnee county sheriff guard – all within arm distance – the monitor wrote down everything we said – everything we did. They even would stop us when we would talk to fast, so they could catch up.

I am sorry Rikki. (of course- I am not to have access to these reports) I do have some reports that they sent to the court or to the guardian ad litem. Not all mind you but some. See here: SAFE VISIT REPORTS & MEMOS

I am brought back to present day, the sun warm on my legs. The cool morning air of a Kansas summer. A life time ago. I have no contact with Rikki. Its been more that a year and a half since I last talked to or saw her. I have always been able to follow her cyber prints. But they ceased a month ago. No one knows where she is—dad will not report her missing. He is dad after all—still with his child’s coffin and hunting rifle on the wall. No one sees a problem with this.

Where are you baby? I pray you are safe, I pray you are alive.

There have been no unidentified bodies in the 100 mile radius fitting her description. ‘whew’.

Since I am a nobody the police will not help inform me of her whereabouts—after all dad a snitch for the police has just helped to ‘bag’ a 60 person felony drug bust—so they are really protecting him. –as usual.

 

[Leaving The war Zone – A Battered Mother’s Memoirs For Her Daughter] Claudine Dombrowski

I Too Have A Dream. That All Battered Mothers and Their Children Can One day Be Free.

In domestic law on January 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Every MLK Day, I always think of this snippet of Dr. Martin Luther King. Freedom, humanity, hope, the great struggle and ultimate revolution and victory. Wow what a wonderful concept.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

All over the Nation Battered Mothers and Their Children remain enslaved. We ARE NOT FREE. We have never have been free. We are being murdered, our children murdered at pandemic proportions. We remain tortured if we survive.

MLK didn’t stand up for the Black woman and her children, he stood up for the black man. However, great was the cause.

Gandhi (and I am a great fan of his quotes) the same. They stood up for the India ‘Man’, not India’s women and children. However, great was the cause.

Women and children all over the world remain ‘owned’ remain enslaved by patriarchy, father rule sometimes known as fathers rights. Just ask any battered mother. When they thought they had the ‘human right’ to protect herself and her children from violence, well, they do not. And, her children like has been for over four thousand years – are taken from her with the blessings of whatever authority that be in place, and given to the abuser, the father, the slave master.

He who has the right to beat, abuse, maim and kill. (e.g. Topeka Decriminalizing Domestic Violence) This STILL Remains. In Fact as a result, Violent Crime has escalated out of control, not only to just women and children, but to the entire community, because you see when we as a society allow our families to be killed and tortured, we allow it to happen to our communities. Everything starts at home folks.

Did you know that the Leading Cause of Death to Mothers is Father Violence?

On this day, I ask each one of you to look around you, the world quite simply would cease to exist with out ‘mother’. Mother is honorable, Mother is the soul of humanity. Mother gives freely, there is no need to continue to oppress her.

I Too Have a Dream…… That All Mothers And Their Children Can One Day Be Free”

Full Text of speech here.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

Family Court — Unconstitutional Judicial Gag Orders – justice’s posterous – Battered Mothers Justice

In domestic law on January 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Over the past decade, family court judges routinely have uttered broader and broader gag orders, forbidding parents in custody battles from talking or writing about their cases. The pretext for these orders is that they are needed for the protection of the child.  Nevertheless, it’s suspected that more often they are prompted by embarrassed officials who dislike scrutiny and criticism by internet bloggers in the wake of burgeoning out-of-control shoot-from-the-hip “therapeutic jurisprudence” in the family courts. The stated child protection rationale is specious because defamation, obscenity, violations of privacy, harassment, and other unprotected speech appropriately are addressed by the law after the fact when actual or potentially harmful speech can be specifically identified.

These orders are illegal under the First Amendment as violations of the constitutional prohibition against prior restraint. Now one mother, Faith Torres, has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union because of a gag order entered in her case by Judge Debra DeSegna in Providence, Rhode Island, July 29, at the request of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families. Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU’s Rhode Island affiliate, called the order a “blatant violation of the First Amendment.” Let’s see some federal lawsuits. http://newsblog.projo.com/2010/08/judge-bars-ri-mother-from-talk.html

Family Court — Unconstitutional Judicial Gag Orders – justice’s posterous

In domestic law on January 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Over the past decade, family court judges routinely have uttered broader and broader gag orders, forbidding parents in custody battles from talking or writing about their cases. The pretext for these orders is that they are needed for the protection of the child.  Nevertheless, it’s suspected that more often they are prompted by embarrassed officials who dislike scrutiny and criticism by internet bloggers in the wake of burgeoning out-of-control shoot-from-the-hip “therapeutic jurisprudence” in the family courts. The stated child protection rationale is specious because defamation, obscenity, violations of privacy, harassment, and other unprotected speech appropriately are addressed by the law after the fact when actual or potentially harmful speech can be specifically identified.

These orders are illegal under the First Amendment as violations of the constitutional prohibition against prior restraint. Now one mother, Faith Torres, has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union because of a gag order entered in her case by Judge Debra DeSegna in Providence, Rhode Island, July 29, at the request of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families. Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU’s Rhode Island affiliate, called the order a “blatant violation of the First Amendment.” Let’s see some federal lawsuits. http://newsblog.projo.com/2010/08/judge-bars-ri-mother-from-talk.html

Family Court — Unconstitutional Judicial Gag Orders – justice’s posterous – Battered Mothers Justice

In domestic law on January 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Over the past decade, family court judges routinely have uttered broader and broader gag orders, forbidding parents in custody battles from talking or writing about their cases. The pretext for these orders is that they are needed for the protection of the child.  Nevertheless, it’s suspected that more often they are prompted by embarrassed officials who dislike scrutiny and criticism by internet bloggers in the wake of burgeoning out-of-control shoot-from-the-hip “therapeutic jurisprudence” in the family courts. The stated child protection rationale is specious because defamation, obscenity, violations of privacy, harassment, and other unprotected speech appropriately are addressed by the law after the fact when actual or potentially harmful speech can be specifically identified.

These orders are illegal under the First Amendment as violations of the constitutional prohibition against prior restraint. Now one mother, Faith Torres, has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union because of a gag order entered in her case by Judge Debra DeSegna in Providence, Rhode Island, July 29, at the request of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families. Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU’s Rhode Island affiliate, called the order a “blatant violation of the First Amendment.” Let’s see some federal lawsuits. http://newsblog.projo.com/2010/08/judge-bars-ri-mother-from-talk.html

Live Stream: The Ninth Annual ‘Battered Mothers Custody Conference’ Begins Tonight Jan 6, 7 & 8th, Albany, NY

In domestic law on January 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Battered Women, Abused Children, and Child Custody: "A National Crisis"

The Ninth Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference:

BMCC IX, January 6th, 7th, and 8th, 2012
Friday evening through Sunday

 

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You can watch the Conference live stream beginning tonight at 7 PM EST here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-ninth-battered-mothers-custody-conference  *Updated Conference Schedule   * Presenters

There is a crisis in our nation’s family courts. Judges are awarding child custody to abusers and pedophiles and punishing the safe parent who tries to protect the children from harm.  All Over America Battered Women Are Loosing Custody of Their Children To The Batterers When They Try To Leave To Protect Their Self And Their Children From Further Abuse. The Family Courts Are Routinely Giving Child Custody To Batterers And Pedophiles And Completely Separating The Mother From Her Child(ren).

About The Conference: Battered Mothers Custody Conference The Conference includes presentations, round-table discussions, and question & answer sessions with nationally distinguished professionals whose work is

Battered Mothers Custody Conference Interviews

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[IMPORTANT: The following audiovisual piece includes real-life interviews featuring disturbing verbal content and statements on child abuse and domestic violence. Viewer discretion is advised.] Prof. Garland Waller produced "Small Justice: Little Justice in America’s Family Courts" which is an independent documentary that explores the relationship between domestic violence, child sexual abuse and custody laws in America. To learn more about the stories of the women seen in this 10 minute clip, please go to http://batteredmotherscustodyconferen…Jessie Beers Altman, a graduate student in the College of Communication, was in charge of editing this video.For more information of Boston University’s Department of Film and Television at the College of Communication, visit: http://www.bu.edu/com/ft

Now Available: Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody:  Legal Strategies and Policy Issues

   Edited by Mo Therese Hannah, Ph.D. and Barry Goldstein, J.D.

 

Mothers File International Petition To Inter American Commission On Human Rights

Full Text of IACHR Petition. On May 11, just before Mother’s Day weekend, ten mothers, one victimized child, now an adult, and twelve leading national organizations filed a complaint against the United States with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Their petition claims that U.S. courts, by frequently awarding child custody to abusers and child molesters, has failed to protect the life, liberties, security and other human rights of abused mothers and their children.  More http://www.stopfamilyviolence.org/info/custody-abuse/legal-documents/petition-to-inter-american-commission-on-human-rights

NATIONAL DOCUMENTARIES ON THE CRISIS IN FAMILY COURTS

Click the image or the link for the Entire Documentaries

clip_image004Family Court Crisis; Our Children at Risk

2008 Family Law Documentary

by the Center For Judicial Excellence

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PBS: Breaking The Silence; Children’s Stories

by Tatge/Lasseur Productions and Connecticut Public Television

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Faces of the Family Court Crisis

by James Hall Photography

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Domestic Violence Continued in Contested Child Custody
   

U. S. Department of Justice v. Custody Court System

In domestic law on January 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Courtesy American Mothers Political Party and Times Up!

Written by Barry Goldstein, Esq

The Family Court Mafia: U.S. DOJ v Custody Courts

photo courtesy Family Court Crisis – Abusers Get Child Custody – originally published Times Up!

Protective mothers have been complaining about mistreatment by the custody court system, but have routinely been dismissed as “disgruntled litigants.” As recently as the beginning of the Battered Mothers Custody Conferences in 2004, there was little professional support for protective mothers. The mothers’ complaints have now been confirmed and supported by the domestic violence community, many women’s organizations, numerous governmental agencies, many in the academic community and a substantial body of research such as contained in our book DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY.

Last summer at the NCADV Conference, Dr. Daniel Saunders of the University of Michigan and some of his colleagues presented their findings from a major Department of Justice study that confirms the findings in our book and other research that the present custody court practices for domestic violence cases are deeply flawed. The publication of these findings has taken longer than expected as Dr. Saunders and the Justice Department seek to carefully present the information in a clear and accurate manner, but they should soon be available on the Department of Justice web site. Many of us who seek to reform the broken custody court system are excited about this study because it should be difficult for the courts to dismiss or ignore because of where it comes from. Significantly, the findings are incompatible with a continued belief that the present practices are working for the benefit of the children the courts are supposed to protect.

 

Custody Courts Frequently Disbelieve Valid Abuse Complaints

Custody courts have a particularly poor record in responding to domestic violence cases. The research demonstrates that court professionals reject a high percentage of valid complaints by protective mothers. This problem has been confirmed in many ways. It is confirmed based on the frequency of mistaken outcomes. Although battered mothers make deliberately false allegations only one or two percent of the time, in contested custody cases the alleged abuser wins custody or joint custody over seventy percent of the time. Subsequent events regularly confirm courts’ mistakes. This occurs when men found safe by the court professionals are later convicted or otherwise found to have to have committed domestic violence, sexual abuse, murder or other similar crimes.

The revelations of the Courageous Kids Network further demonstrate the frequency in which courts fail to recognize valid complaints of abuse. Courageous Kids are young adults who have aged out of their custody orders and decided to speak out about the harm caused by these orders. The context is important in understanding their stories. These are cases in which the court disbelieved the mothers’ abuse allegations and gave the fathers complete control. The children have been threatened, coerced and punished if they continue to complain about their father’s abuse or seek a relationship with their mother. In other words the fathers have had tremendous assistance in silencing the children. Accordingly the children now speaking out represent a small minority of those mistreated by fathers the court believed were safe. The descriptions by the Courageous Kids demonstrate the fathers deliberately sought to hurt the mother and children based upon their belief system that the mother had no right to leave them. The children have had little or no contact with their mothers often for many years so we know the mothers could not be influencing the children’s decision to speak out about the fathers’ abuse. These are all too common examples of cases in which the court professionals failed to believe valid allegations of abuse.

The research not only demonstrates the fact that the custody courts get a large majority of domestic violence cases wrong, but also that the standard practices used by court professionals are deeply flawed and make it difficult for judges to recognize legitimate complaints about domestic violence and child abuse.

Court professionals routinely discredit allegations of abuse based upon factors that are not probative. At the same time these professionals do not understand the importance of looking to the abusers’ patterns of controlling and coercive behavior in order to recognize domestic violence. The court professionals often make the mistake of considering each incident and each allegation separately. Genuine domestic violence experts understand the importance of context in recognizing domestic violence, but the mental health and other professionals relied on by the courts do not understand the importance of context and thus make it more difficult to recognize valid allegations of abuse.

One of the big obstacles to recognizing valid abuse complaints is the common use of mental health and other professionals without expertise in domestic violence. The main purpose of considering domestic violence in custody cases is to protect the safety of children. Nevertheless the evaluators relied on by custody courts rarely know how to conduct a safety assessment or what behaviors have been associated with higher lethality and other dangers. The evaluators do not understand domestic violence dynamics and often are unfamiliar with the effects of domestic violence on children or other information based upon the specialized body of scientific research that could be used to better understand domestic violence issues and recognize truthful allegations of abuse.

The new Department of Justice study helps explain why the evaluators and other professionals relied on by custody courts routinely fails to recognize domestic violence. The study found that most evaluators and other professionals relied on by the courts do not have adequate domestic violence training and those with inadequate training are more likely to believe in the myth that women frequently make false allegations of abuse to gain an advantage in litigation. The professionals who believe this myth, in turn are more likely to make recommendations that harm children. In other words judges have little chance to protect the children under their control as long as they rely on these unqualified professionals and tend to believe their deeply flawed analysis.

Judges often become defensive when protective mothers or their attorneys request that any evaluator or other court professional be required to have domestic violence expertise in order to be appointed. We have repeatedly seen judges refuse to listen to domestic violence experts offered on behalf of protective mothers. The courts often focus on the need for a mental health degree even though the academic training for most mental health professionals included no or virtually no domestic violence instruction and the law does not require advance degrees to qualify as an expert (a common example is a mechanic without a high school degree who can testify as an expert in automotive repair based on experience and training).

In recent years most court systems have encouraged and usually required some domestic violence training for court professionals. This is a good thing but has often been implemented in ways that undermine the purpose. Many of the trainings include substantial misinformation such as the belief most contested custody cases are “high conflict” when the research establishes a large majority are really domestic violence cases. Some of the trainings even include Parental Alienation Syndrome (sometimes by another name because of its deserved notoriety) even though it was recently again rejected for inclusion in the DSM-V because there is no scientific basis for it. Many of the trainings fail to include domestic violence advocates or other genuine experts in domestic violence.

We have also seen some really good programs used to train court professionals, but I have heard many trainers complain that some of the judges, evaluators and lawyers pay little attention to the valuable information presented. In one Queens County, New York case I cross-examined an experienced evaluator who went to a really excellent domestic violence training in order to qualify as a parent coordinator. They provided numerous excellent research studies that could have helped him recognize domestic violence and protect children. During my cross-examination it became clear he never read the research and was unfamiliar with the current scientific research he needed to understand the case. When I pressed him about the training he described it as “not a life changing experience.” This was a man who needed a life changing experience because he failed to recognize the obvious history of abuse by the father, demanded the mother cooperate with her abuser and when she continued to try to protect herself and her son, the unqualified evaluator recommended custody for the abusive father. The judge failed to discredit the evaluator based on his failure to read or consider the current scientific research provided at the training.

We need much more and better trainings for court professionals, but there is also the danger that attending trainings can give judges and other professionals a false sense of confidence in their understanding of domestic violence. The findings by Dr. Saunders and his colleagues that most court professionals have inadequate training in domestic violence confirms our concern that in most cases the professionals relied on by the court are not qualified to participate in a domestic violence case without the assistance of a genuine expert. Even if the judge has received good training the court is likely to be influenced by unqualified evaluators and other court professionals.

The failure to possess adequate training in domestic violence means that it will be difficult for these professionals to recognize and respond effectively to domestic violence, but the widespread belief in the myth that women frequently make false allegations of abuse is a bias that strongly undermines the cases of protective mothers. These mistakes result in frequent findings denying the mother’s abuse allegations which is exactly what the other research has found. If a professional believes the myth they will expect to see false allegations and without training in how to recognize domestic violence they have little chance to get these cases right and protect the children. Even worse, courts having found against the mothers because of the deeply flawed practices and biases are severely punishing mothers and children because the mothers continue to believe their true allegations despite the disbelief of the unqualified court professionals.

A few months ago, in this forum, I wrote an article about the extreme decisions we often see in domestic violence cases.These are decisions in which the alleged abuser receives custody and the mother who was the primary attachment figure is limited to supervised or no visitation. The primary attachment figure is the parent who provided most of the child care during the first couple of years of the child’s life. When children are separated from their primary attachment figure they are significantly more likely to suffer depression, low self-esteem and to commit suicide when older. It can never be right to separate children from their primary attachment figure unless she is unsafe such as a drug addict, someone who beats the kids or otherwise poses a danger. In most of these cases the father allowed or even demanded the mother provide child care until she decided to leave him. It should be obvious that her decision to leave a man she found to be abusive does not make the mother unsafe. Unqualified court professionals frequently limit the mother’s contact with her children based upon some version of alienation or pathologizing the mother based on psychological tests that were not made for the populations seen in custody cases. We know the diagnosis is not safety related because the mother functions fine in all other aspects of her life except interacting with her abuser and the court professionals supporting him. These are not safety issues so these extreme decisions can never be beneficial to the children.

The reliance on court professionals with inadequate training and belief in the myth takes place in the context of many other common mistakes discussed in earlier research. The courts cannot protect mothers and children in domestic violence cases if they cannot recognize domestic violence when it is present. The frequent decisions that harm children are confirmed by later findings and information, the extensive research court professionals routinely fail to consider and the new Department of Justice study and they provide multiple confirmations of the present inability of custody courts to recognize domestic violence and child abuse when it exists.

 

Misuse of Mothers’ Anger and Emotion

Let’s look at this issue from the mother’s perspective and in the context of her experience. These are domestic violence cases. The father usually has a long history of controlling and coercive behaviors and the mother has finally gained the courage and resources to leave her abuser in order to protect her children. She is fearful because of the many threats he made of what he would do if she left and knowledge that the most dangerous time for a woman is after she has left. She is angry at the way he has mistreated her and often the children. She may be worried about her ability to support and protect her children because her partner has been telling her how useless she is throughout their relationship.

Even if the father’s physical abuse ends when he no longer has access to the mother (which makes unqualified court professionals believe he is now safe), he continues his domestic violence through litigation abuse and often other ways. The abusers often use any contact provided by the court to seek reconciliation and/or to harass and attack her verbally or psychologically. Many women expect the courts to protect her children because the evidence is so overwhelming and instead find the court pressuring her to cooperate with her abuser and punishing her if she tries to protect her children from a man they have found to be hostile and dangerous. In other words she has good reason to be angry and emotional and in fact this would be a normal reaction to her experiences.

The research contained in our book and elsewhere supports this understanding and analysis. We discussed the common mistake of custody courts that treat the mother’s actions as a litigant as if they were an indication of her behavior as a parent. Over forty states and many judicial districts have created court sponsored gender bias committees. These committees have found widespread bias particularly against women litigants. One of the common examples of gender bias was blaming women for the actions of their abusers. One of the typical examples of this bias is when courts blame mothers for their anger and emotion caused by the father’s mistreatment of them and their children. In many cases the abusers deliberately harass or pressure them shortly before a court appearance is scheduled in order to obtain an emotional reaction the court is likely to misunderstand. Abusers tend to be extremely manipulative and so after their abuse that the judge does not see, come to court calm and cooperative. Court professionals are often fooled by this act.

The new Department of Justice study confirms what we said in our book and other similar research. Dr. Saunders found that court professionals frequently treat mothers’ anger and emotion as far more important than it actually is in terms of the well being of children. These professionals may be uncomfortable with the mothers’ emotions particularly if she criticizes their response to the father’s abuse. Clearly these are difficult and unpleasant issues to confront. The misinformation treating contested custody as if it were “high conflict” when it is actually domestic violence contributes to the misunderstanding of the mothers’ anger and emotion. The professionals are focused on forcing the parties to cooperate even though this is not the best approach for children. When the parties have difficulty cooperating and certainly in domestic violence cases, parallel parenting is a more effective approach for children. The problem, as demonstrated by the Saunders’ study is that these professionals are focused on their beliefs and preferences rather than research about what works best for children. The custody courts did not get into the practice of looking to current scientific research and particularly the specialized body of research about domestic violence because there was no such research when the initial court practices were developed. We now have substantial research that would help inform court decisions and avoid the frequent mistakes but court professionals rarely look to this research to help them make better decisions. This is why we rarely see custody courts weigh the benefits and harms to children of a proposed resolution. The Department of Justice study establishes that these flawed practices lead to decisions that hurt children.

 

Cottage Industry Supporting Abusive Fathers

We often hear complaints about corruption in the custody court system. This belief is supported by the many cases in which courts make findings that are far removed from a fair evaluation of the evidence and decisions that seem to be disconnected from the well being of the children involved. There are cases of outright corruption such as the Garson case in Brooklyn, New York, but more often, I believe courts create the appearance of corruption because of bias, ignorance and deeply flawed practices. One of my concerns with complaints about corruption is that it makes it harder for judges in the broken system to hear the complaints and create the reforms that are needed. An important contributing factor to the widespread belief in corruption is the cottage industry that has been created to support abusive fathers.

Most contested custody cases involve abusive fathers seeking custody as a tactic to pressure their victims to return or punish them for leaving. Domestic violence is all about control so these abusive fathers usually have controlled the family finances and have these resources to support their custody litigation. Some lawyers and mental health professionals have figured out that they can make a large income by supporting practices and approaches that support abusers. We often see them advertise as supporting “fathers’ rights.” In many cases we see fathers’ attorneys and GALs promoting the appointment of evaluators who support abusive fathers. It is particularly frustrating when judges refer to these professionals who regularly support abusers as “neutral professionals.”

Protective mothers often have no chance when these biased professionals are appointed regardless of how strong their cases may be. Many of the mothers have complained that the evaluators and GALs make misrepresentations to the court in order to justify findings in favor of the abusive fathers paying their fees. When such professionals lie to the court about the evidence or to justify fees they did not earn, the mothers are justified in complaints suggesting corruption.

Many of these biased professionals strongly support PAS despite a lack of scientific justification. Significantly, PAS is based upon the assumption that virtually every complaint by mothers about the father’s abuse is deliberately false. The Department of Justice study found a problem with inadequately trained professionals who believe the myth that women frequently make deliberately false allegations of abuse. The unqualified professionals supporting PAS are even worse assuming that virtually all such allegations are false. The courts have virtually no chance of making the right decision if they treat such biased professionals as having any credibility.

The Department of Justice study’s contribution to this issue is a finding that evaluators working for the court or the county made recommendations that worked better for children than those of evaluators in private practice. When Dr. Saunders described this finding at a workshop during the NCADV Conference I asked him if he thought the findings supported our concerns about the cottage industry that has developed to support abusive fathers. He agreed this was a good interpretation. Evaluators working for the court or county are not paid extra for each evaluation so they have no incentive to favor the wealthier parent.

Professionals often have fundamental conflicts of interest. Medical doctors who schedule tests or procedures will earn money from performing the services they recommend. Tests may be scheduled to shield the doctor from potential lawsuits rather than to benefit the patient. Lawyers who recommend going to trial, starting a lawsuit or making a motion will earn money when the client takes their advice. Similarly, mental health professionals benefit financially when patients accept recommendations for more services. The conflict of interest is largely unavoidable and the professionals are expected to have the integrity to act in their client’s best interests instead of their own. Unfortunately some of the evaluators and lawyers, particularly those supporting abusive fathers have not fulfilled this ethical obligation.

We have repeatedly seen problems in custody courts with mental health professionals and particularly ones sympathetic to abusive fathers making recommendations requiring protective mothers to use their unwanted and unneeded services. We see these biased professionals pathologizing mothers who have always taken good care of their children with diagnoses that are clearly wrong. This would include the frequent finding of rare conditions such as Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, conditions like paranoia or delusional based on the mothers’ continued belief in the father’s abuse despite the failure of the court professionals to recognize his abuse and other emotional problems that magically seem to affect only her relationship with her abuser and the court. They seem oblivious to the fact that that she does fine in other parts of her life that under any unbiased circumstances would rule out the claimed diagnosis.

Some of these mistakes are clearly deliberate and qualify as corruption. Other cases may involve bias and ignorance and a lack of the needed qualifications as the Saunders’ study demonstrates. When the professionals who are part of the cottage industry engage in gender bias they usually do so without realizing it. Many actually believe in the theories and practices they use despite a lack of scientific basis. Some of this can be explained by confirmation bias where the professional focuses on information or accusations that support what the professional expects to find and ignores information that undermines their theories and assumptions. We see this kind of mistake frequently in domestic violence custody cases and the mental health professional is often unconscious that they are engaging in confirmation bias. In fact they are likely to become defensive and angry at the suggestion. The Department of Justice study demonstrates the harm of using professionals who are part of the cottage industry and the need for custody courts to screen court professionals to avoid relying on them. Even worse, courts often use these unqualified professionals to train other court professionals. This can only serve to spread misinformation which makes it harder for court officials to recognize the problems demonstrated by the Saunders’ study and other current scientific research.

 

Conclusion

 

The custody court system tends to look at each case and each issue or event in a case separately. This is based on a belief that just because a man slapped his wife on Monday does not mean he punched her on Friday. The court system uses stare decisis which means once a case or an issue has been decided the same parties cannot relitigate it. There are good reasons for these practices, but they work poorly in domestic violence cases because of the importance of context in understanding domestic violence. We often see cases where the court denies allegations of domestic violence and they may even have been right if there was insufficient evidence. Naturally the abuser continues his abusive behavior so more evidence becomes available, but many courts refuse to hear the new evidence or refuse to consider it in the context of the previous evidence because those issues were previously litigated. In doing this the court is denying itself the ability to recognize the pattern of the father’s abuse and protect the children. Domestic violence experts are confident that the custody court system is broken because we see the pattern of mistakes and harmful decisions, but the powers in the court system are offended at the criticism and cannot believe the problem because they refuse to look at the patterns.

The findings of the Department of Justice study, by itself, provides convincing documentation that the custody court system is getting a large majority of domestic violence custody cases wrong. It would be impossible for courts to get most cases right when most of the court professionals have inadequate domestic violence training, those with inadequate training tend to believe the myth that women frequently make false allegations, the courts are placing too much weight on mothers’ anger and emotion and the evaluators who earn additional money through appointment in custody cases are making decisions more harmful to children then those who do not have a financial incentive. This study was not made in a vacuum, but was produced in the context of a substantial and growing body of scientific research that establishes the custody courts are making bad decisions in contested custody cases that endanger children. The research also establishes that the standard practices used in the custody courts are deeply flawed and outdated.

I am hopeful that a study coming from the U. S. Department of Justice will be harder for the custody court system to ignore. They have a strong reputation and can only be considered neutral. Furthermore, the courts frequently seek grants and other funding from the Department of Justice. Protective mothers and their attorneys can cite this research and it should be harder for the courts to ignore. I can’t wait until it is published on the DOJ web site.

Barry Goldstein is a nationally recognized domestic violence expert, speaker, writer and consultant. He is the co-editor with Mo Therese Hannah of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY. Barry can be reached by email at their web site www.Domesticviolenceabuseandchildcustody.com

Parental Alienation: What This Phoney Syndrome Does in Custody Battles Why More Fathers Are Able to Yank Children Away from Their Mothers Legally

In domestic law on January 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm

 Yahoo! Voices

There are many instances that I could cite here where physically and sexually abusive fathers have gained custody of the children in custody battles, but instead I will list only a few of the more heinous crimes done to these children legally in divorce court. Sure fathers have rights to the children too but what about in these cases where the children are harmed? Does that not effectively prove to the court that they are unfit? Do these fathers still deserve visitation with these innocent, traumatized children? If you had been raped repeatedly as a child, can you imagine a judge forcing you to visit with the person who hurt you?

Father X was furious when Mother X filed for divorce. The judge forced the mother to take the kids for visitation anyway. Father X had made threats in court but the judge would not relent. Mother X came back to get the children and found them hanging by a home-made noose. The children survived barely. The judge in the case placed the mother in jail for refusing to allow any more visitation. The father eventually did go to jail for attempted murder but only after a year fighting for custody of the children.

Father X was recorded threatening to kidnap the children when he was allowed visitation. The mother would never see her children again. This was played for the judge in divorce court. The judge told the mother that if she did not allow visitation, she would go to jail. An arrest warrant was placed for the mother but she went through criminal court to have the father arrested for threats made against her children.

Father X raped his young teen daughter. Mother X refused to allow more visitation. The father cited parental alienation as the reason for the claims against him. He won custody and the mother is still fighting for her daughter.

There are websites that tell how fathers win custody of their children through citing parental alienation although they have physically and sexually harmed their children. Manuals are sold online to help fathers win custody or visitation of these children. Yanking even breastfed infants away from their mothers. Step by step directions on how to win in custody battles for fathers who have never been involved with the children. Children who never even saw their father before are being sent to a stranger’s house basically. Can you imagine how horrifying and traumatizing this would be for a small child? Typically mothers do not fight in court for no visitation unless there is a good reason. Mothers who trust fathers to take good care of the children will not resist a visitation schedule. Mothers who have any qualms about it should be listened to by the courts. Mothers’ instincts come into play here as well.

Small children need stability. Why judges do not take this into consideration is a puzzle to me. How they allow fathers who have never cared for a child before to take over full custody is beyond my comprehension. If a parent has been the full time caregiver, why would a judge change this? Parental alienation. A made-up term supposedly meaning that the mother has turned the children against their father. Strangely most mothers would never even speak to their children about grown-up issues such as an unfit father. They don’t need to do that, these children know that their father is a stranger to them. They know when they have been abused. If a child is refusing to go on visitation, the judge should take a closer look as to why. Of course the father’s rights advocates blame the mother, hence "parental alienation" claims.

If a child is alienated from their father, it could be for good reason and have nothing to do with the mother at all. This is centered more around mothers as it is rare that a father will be a full time caregiver. Usually it is the mother doing all of the caregiving while the father works. There are many reasons for this happening…for fathers to get custody and liberal visitation although there are health and safety concerns for the children. Most judges are men and side with the fathers. The woman’s attorney is a cheap one as the mother can’t afford a better attorney. The men’s attorneys are highly paid attorneys, fathers are the breadwinners in most all cases. So mothers start out lower on the totem pole. The judge is already against her and the father has the better attorney. The deck is stacked against her. This isn’t only about mothers though. It is about protecting our children from harm.

Divorce is not painful in and of itself. The pain for children comes from being torn away from their homes, away from their mothers. The children stop trusting adults when they are forced to go with an abusive parent. The judge ordered it after all, the mother didn’t stop it, and the father wasn’t placed in jail where he belongs. The harrassment of mothers needs to stop in family court. The traumatizing of children needs to stop in family courts around the United States. It is never in a child’s best interests to be sent with an abusive father or a total stranger whichever the case may be. Judges need to look up and pay attention during custody disputes. Children of divorce depend on them to make the right decisions.

Published by Carolyn Foster

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