The Genocide of Battered Mothers and their Children

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Whiney, Whiney Dr. Richard Warshak—HE alone responsible for Censorship of Comments on Huffington Post

In Uncategorized on December 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Several comments were made about the American Bar Association, the American Judges Association, the National District Attorney’s Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges debunking the use of “parental alienation” in child custody cases because of it’s well known use by abusers to take custody of children. Of course, anyone who makes the kind of money that Warshak makes ($20,000 per patient per four days in “treatment”) doesn’t care who claimed what for what purpose, they just know they will make money. He doesn’t care that children may be in the custody of someone who beat the other parent, probably in front of the children, or may have even been sexually abusing the children. No, he doesn’t care, but the professional organizations know what the deal is. They know that victims of abuse have lost their children to abusers, and corrupt individuals that support the use of this legal tactic should be shut down:

The discredited “diagnosis” of PAS (or an allegation of “parental alienation”), quite apart from its scientific invalidity, inappropriately asks the court to assume that the child’s behaviors and attitudes toward the parent who claims to be “alienated” have no grounding in reality. It also diverts attention away from the behaviors of the abusive parent, who may have directly influenced the child’s responses by acting in violent, disrespectful, intimidating, humiliating, or discrediting ways toward the child or the other parent. The task for the court is to distinguish between situations in which the child is critical of one parent because they have been inappropriately manipulated by the other (taking care not to rely solely on subtle indications) , and situations in which the child has his or her own legitimate grounds for criticism or fear of a parent, which will likely be the case when that parent has perpetrated domestic violence. Those grounds do not become less legitimate because the abused parent shares them, and seeks to advocate for the child by voicing his or her concerns.

Under relevant evidentiary standards, the court should not accept testimony regarding parental alienation syndrome, or “PAS.” The theory positing the existence of PAS has been discredited by the scientific community.35 In Kumho Tire v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137 (1999), the Supreme Court ruled that even expert testimony based in the “soft sciences” must meet the standard set in the Daubert case.36 Daubert, in which the court re-examined the standard it had earlier articulated in the Frye37 case, requires application of a multi-factor test, including peer review, publication, testability, rate of error, and general acceptance. PAS does not pass this test. Any testimony that a party to a custody case suffers from the syndrome or “parental alienation” should therefore be ruled inadmissible and stricken from the evaluation report under both the standard established in Daubert and the earlier Frye standard.38

Page 12:
C. [§3.3] A Word of Caution about Parental Alienation34

See more at

Oh Okay, We Get It Now (Wink Wink)

In Amy Castillo, Maryland legislatures Kill Domestic Violence Bill,, Angry fathers, Battered Mothers Custody Conference, Breaking The Silence; Children's Stories, child abuse, Child Custody, Child found, Childrens Rights, Collin Lee Momany, Collin Momany, corrupt bastards, Curtis S. Anderson (D-Baltimore), Benjamin S. Barnes (D-Prince George's), Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore), Frank M. Conaway Jr. (D-Baltimore), Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Anne Arundel), William J. Frank, Custody Hell, Darcey Freeman's, domestic law, Domestic Violence on the rise in shawnee county, don hoffman jill dykes judge david debenham Dr. rodeheffer, family court corruption, Fathers & Families, Glenn Sacks, ACFC, RADAR, ANCPR, fathers murdering, Fathers Rights, FRANK M. CONAWAY, JR FRANK M. CONAWAY, JR. FRANK M. CONAWAY, JR. FRANK M. CONAWAY, JR., Getting screwed by the Family Courts, Getting screwed by the politicians, Jessica Gonzales- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Judge Richard Anderson Shawnee County Courts Topeka Kansas, Kansas Joint Committee on Children’s Issues on Nov 30, 2009 in Topeka, Kansas Legislature, Covenant Marriages, Domestic Violence, BULLSHIT LAWS, Maryland Legislature Frank Conway Jr, BATTERER Democrat, District 40, Baltimore City, Motherhood, Mothers Rights, Murder-Suicide, Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), Uncategorized on March 17, 2010 at 1:28 am


Dump Frank M. Conaway Jr.

Delegate Frank M. Conaway Jr.: "Things happen between man and woman and the rearing of children"
Things like smashing your wife’s face through a window.
Now we get why the Maryland House Judiciary Committee soundly defeated it. They have a batterer among them.
From the City Paper:

By Van Smith | Posted 10/25/2006

State delegate candidate Frank Melvin Conaway Jr., who with 5,889 votes was the top vote-getter in the 40th District Democratic primary in September, doesn’t want this story published. His father, Baltimore City Clerk of the Circuit Court Frank M. Conaway Sr., doesn’t either. In separate interviews, both used the same, emphatic words: "You don’t have to write the story."

(…and it continues…)

Conaway Jr.’s longtime wife, Latesa Elaine Thomas, 44, has had a Baltimore County domestic-violence protective order against her husband for more than three years. The order, dated Aug. 25, 2003, states that Conaway Jr. "threatened to kill" Thomas, placing her "in fear of imminent serious bodily harm," and that "one year ago [he] pushed her face through back door window." Thomas also convinced the court that Conaway Jr., 43, was a threat to himself and others as a diagnosed sufferer of bipolar disorder who had stopped taking his prescribed medications, so the court ordered police escorts to deliver Conaway Jr. to two emergency hospital evaluations in the summer of 2003. Thomas is in the process of divorcing Conaway Jr.

"We knew this day would come," Conaway Jr. says. It’s an unseasonably warm early-October afternoon, and he’s standing at the foot of the Battle Monument, in the middle of Calvert Street between the two circuit courthouses. "Somebody’s going to ask that question," he remarks, "and it’s none of your business." At the time, City Paper did not know what had happened to prompt the protection order.

We know the Father’s Rights folks love Delegate Luiz R.S. Simmons also. Does he have many of them as clients (he does practice in "family law")? Is he working for their interests? This is from a website recently:

So we really are starting to get it. Let’s hope the voters do too. It’s all about the committee members…

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Judge Lemkau Must Go after Murder of 9 Month Old Wyatt Garcia

In Angry fathers, Battered Mothers Custody Conference, Breaking The Silence; Children's Stories, child abuse, Child Custody, Child found, Childrens Rights, corrupt bastards, Custody Hell, domestic law, Domestic Violence on the rise in shawnee county, don hoffman jill dykes judge david debenham Dr. rodeheffer, family court corruption, fathers murdering, Fathers Rights, Getting screwed by the Family Courts, Getting screwed by the politicians, Judge Richard Anderson Shawnee County Courts Topeka Kansas, Kansas Joint Committee on Children’s Issues on Nov 30, 2009 in Topeka, Kansas Legislature, Covenant Marriages, Domestic Violence, BULLSHIT LAWS, Motherhood, Mothers Rights, Murder-Suicide, Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), Speak Out, Uncategorized on March 8, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Lemkau Must Go after Murder of 9 Month Old Wyatt Garcia

Mar 07, 2010

San Bernardino, California courts and Judge Robert Lemkau have destroyed mother, Katie Tagle’s world by failing to allow her to protect her son. Like many other women, Katie, was being harassed by her ex-boyfriend, Stephen Garcia. But because he was the father of her child, Katie’s complaints not only were not taken seriously, but she was also repeatedly accused of lying and fabricating evidence. Read the transcript here: Tagle Transcript

Judge Robert Lemkau and two other judges, all refused to give protection to both Katie Tagle, and her son, Wyatt Garcia, claiming that Stephen Garcia was not a danger to either of them. Even though Katie had been knocked to the ground previously and Stephen had admitted in various documents to hitting her, it would appear that Katie was not given due process by the judges in San Bernardino County. She was threatened with “adverse consequences” just for trying to protect herself and her child.

Katie is not alone is this treatment. This goes on every day where women and children who have been victimized are falsely accused of making false allegations. In Katie Tagle’s case, she has actually been vindicated of being a liar, but only at the cost of her son’s life. If Stephen Garcia had not gone through with his threats, he may have managed to lie his way into getting sole custody as many other alleged abusers have done, such as convicted child sexual abuser, Henry Parson.

Katie Tagle was ordered to turn over her son to a man who was threatening to kill her child. She complied with Judge Lemkau’s orders, because she feared having her son taken away all together. Tagle said, “I didn’t want to get in trouble. I didn’t want to get Wyatt fully taken away from me.” Although the police did their best to try to stop the tragedy, Stephen Garcia shot Wyatt and himself on January 31, 2010 as he had threatened to do.

The community is outraged over the death of Wyatt and the treatment of his mother. Deputy District Attorney James Hoskins said he plans to challenge Lemkau for his seat on the bench, because of this tragedy. Sites have sprung up on the internet demanding that “Lemkau Must Go!”  There are also “Lemkau Must Go” groups on Facebook and on Twitter. JOHN & KEN OF KFI-AM also had Katie Tagle on their show. Judge Lemkau declined to appear on the radio show, although he was asked. You can listen to the broadcast here: Katie Tagle on the JOHN & KEN SHOW. They discuss the fact that Judge Lemkau seem to disbelieve or find fault with every women that complained of a problem.

Judge Lemkau read a statement of apology at a hearing after Wyatt was killed. According to an article in The Sun, Katie Tagle felt Lemkau’s words lacked feeling.  There is a protest organized for Monday, March, 8, 2010 at 7:45 AM at the Victorville, CA courthouse on 14455 Civic Drive.

Follow “Lemkau Must Go” on Facebook and Twitter and please do not let your outrage subside over this tragedy!

Parental Alienation Theory (PAS)

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The REAL Glenn Sacks College student, Jennifer Collins investigates the unethical columnist who has been virtually stalking her and her family. (Part I)

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2010 at 5:02 pm

The REAL Glenn Sacks

College student, Jennifer Collins investigates the unethical columnist who has been virtually stalking her and her family. (Part I)


I respect the opinion of so many of you who advised me to just ‘try to forget’ about the lies printed about me and my family. I know some of you think that I should not challenge the opinionated Glenn Sacks no matter how wrong he is. However what Glenn Sacks is doing to abused children is immoral, unethical and even dangerous. The one thing that everyone forgets is that my father was even worse than Glenn Sacks is and someone has to stand up to these abusive men.


My mom says that I must be doing something right because Glenn Sacks is spending a lot of time inserting my name all too often into his random articles to gain attention and to illustrate whatever biased and prejudicial opinion HE comes up with next. This is particularly offensive to me because I detest his actions, explanations and what he stands for: covering up child abuse in the name of fathers’ rights. Although my brother has personally asked Mr. Sacks to keep him out of his publicity stunts, Mr. Sacks refuses to give him this respect and courtesy. We all know that Glenn Sacks hates mothers and women but why won’t he even respect a young man’s desire for privacy? Probably because my brother loves his mother, something Mr. Sacks seems to find particularly offensive, loathsome and despicable.

I can’t help but wonder what Mr. Sacks’ mother did to him to make him hate women so much! Was little Glenn abused by his own mother when he was a child or is he angry with her for not protecting him against an abusive father? Is the current Mrs. Glenn Sacks also a victim of her husband’s hatred for women? What about the Sacks children – what about that poor little girl, his daughter or his oldest boy who has had (publicized, thanks to his father) behavioral issues since he was 6 years-old? Doesn’t anyone wonder what is going on behind the doors at the Sacks residence?

Both photos of Glenn Sacks and his kids that I found on internet struck me as odd: in both photos he is grasping onto his kids like they’re his belongings. Perhaps I’m just sensitive to such nuances since I was abused by my father and Mr. Sacks has aligned with my abuser. Perhaps the beatings I received have caused me to be particularly prone to the warning signs of abuse. You know that American saying “If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck then it probably is a duck”? It seems to me that Glenn Sacks behaves like an abuser and talks like an abuser so wouldn’t it stand to reason that he probably is an abuser? I can certainly testify to the fact that he has shown abusive tendencies towards me and the other women and children he attacks without provocation. If he is on his best behavior in public, what in the world must he be doing to his poor wife at home? What can Mrs. Sacks do if Mr. Sacks is beating her and her children? She must be very well aware that the courts are biased against women and with a husband like hers; she probably fears that she wouldn’t have a fair chance at all. I sincerely feel bad for her and her children!

Since Mr. Sacks decided to research, critique and then invent false stories about me and my family, I felt it was only fair to research him and his family which revealed that he is an opportunistic leader of abusive men. The more I dug into Glenn Sacks’ past, the way he dug into mine, the more disturbing I found him to be! The difference is that I didn’t have to lie and create false stories as Glenn Sacks has done. His words alone are enough to demonstrate just how despicable and frightening he really is.


In his article “Why Males Don’t Go to College” Mr. Sacks makes up excuses about why he dropped out of college:“there is another, unacknowledged reason why some males don’t go to college—rampant anti-male feminism has made college campuses a place where many males feel unwanted and unwelcome"1 I asked my brother and several male friends at university what they thought about this concept and they all strongly disagreed. One guy even commented that university campuses are“owned by us” (meaning men.)

Mr. Sacks claims that “Feminists have wildly exaggerated the extent of sexual assaults on college campuses and used it as a political weapon against men.”2 and that“Deliberate misinformation about men and gender issues are an integral part of modern campus culture. Women’s centers and women’s studies departments publicize and promote discredited academic frauds like ‘one in four college women has been the victim of rape or attempted rape" and "domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women aged 15 to 44.’” 3 In the same article Glenn Sacks conveniently blames anonymous scholars for his controversial opinion “Some academicians contend that the ascendancy of women’s studies on campus was a mistake.”

"Around the world at least 1 in 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Most often the abuser is a member of her own family."4 Why does Glenn Sacks finds these statistics intimidating? Is that because he knew he was guilty of forcing himself on women and it was only a matter of time until he was reported? Glenn Sacks appears to be guilty himself when he states “such statistics were repeated ad infinitum and ad nauseam by the campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin, and also by both professors and students. The message behind the lies was clear—men are so powerful and despicable, and women are so helpless and victimized, that men had better not dare to complain about anything."5 As a college student I can emphatically state THAT is absolutely not the message we receive at university. We are just warned about the dangers of rape, violence, alcohol abuse, drug use and even slippery sidewalks in the winter, etc… I find it absolutely deplorable that Glenn Sacks would even try to minimize the devastating toll of rape!

Sacks: “I did sometimes protest in Ms. Smith’s class and others, but a 6’2" male confronting a female educator about her bigotry, however politely, is quickly perceived as a sexist bully.”6 Whose perception was that exactly? Chances are if we located Mrs. Smith and the others, they would remember Glenn Sacks as just another student in the audience asserting his naive beliefs (if they remembered him at all) OR they may very well remember him as a sexist bully. In psychology there’s something called “projection” which is clearly applicable here. When one person is criticized for their unethical behavior (such as Glenn Sacks) he simply accuses other people of that same behavior or he plays the victim, cries fowl and expresses surprise and disbelief that someone called him on that very same bad behavior. This is nothing more than an attempt to rile up other people to come to his defense. This is the recurrent theme with Glenn Sacks: combating the stereotypes that; All Men are sexist, All Men are stupid, All Men are abusers and All Men are rapists. Perhaps Glenn Sacks is just trying to ensure that his name is not the substitute for “All Men”. I think Projection makes more sense then Mr. Sacks’ presumption that Mrs. Smith and others would find him to be a sexist bully just for "politely confronting" a female educator.

Employment (Or lack thereof)

Several years ago Glenn Sacks chose to pursue an honorable profession in education as a teacher but apparently thought that the paperwork affiliated with this position was beneath him. “Another problem is that teachers are weighed down by paperwork and secretarial labor.” 7 Glenn Sacks complained that he had to work too hard and didn’t have enough time to sit around with his kids. Even though he probably had the most ideal working hours and situation for a parent to spend time with his own children, he quit his job to become that which he has the biggest problem with: being a stay at home mom (I mean dad) and financially dependent house-husband.

Can you believe that Mr. Sacks complained that he had to grade his own papers? “I’m not a teacher anymore because I wanted to spend time in the evenings and on weekends with my children, instead of doing clerical work like entering grades and marking homework…. Give teachers secretaries. College professors have teacher assistants. A lawyer, a doctor, or an accountant has a secretary. If I’ve graded 150 assignments, why can’t somebody else enter them into the grade book and add up the grades? If they’re simple assignments, why can’t someone else grade them? Why can’t somebody help me make copies or do basic research?” 8 I just can’t believe how lazy this guy is.

Glenn Sacks quit his job and admits that he “turned down job opportunities, closed my side business and took on the traditional female role of homemaker.”9 He forced his wife to solely provide financially for the family.“I became a SAHD (stay at home dad) with the birth of my daughter four years ago, and the arrangement has benefited my family immensely.”10 WHO is saying his family has benefited "immensely"? This sounds like self-reporting, boasting and bragging to me.

It is admirable that the Sacks family has spared their children from the unthinkable fate of childcare, something that single mothers are forced to do when the fathers of their unborn children abandon them once they learn of the pregnancy: “Being at home with my young children has been the greatest experience of my life. Many stay-at-home mothers I know feel the same way. I feel sorry for my male breadwinner friends who miss out on so many of the joys of raising children.”11

Why is he only sorry for his “male breadwinner friends”?Why isn’t he sorry for his own female wife? She is also missing out on spending time with her children! Sacks continued: “I have no desire to return to the demanding work schedule that most working fathers endure.”12 Why hasn’t he returned to work yet? His children are older now. His son is just about to graduate from high school. How long is he going to milk off of his wife?

Sacks: “The average American father works 51 hours a week. While nearly half of American mothers with children under the age of six do not work full time, even those who do average only a 41 hour work week.”13What the heck is he belly-aching about? Glenn Sacks didn’t work at all while his wife worked full-time and even attended university in the evening! You would think that maybe Mr. Sacks could have gotten a job to help take the pressure off his wife while she was working full-time and attending law school so that she too could be a part of her children’s lives.


Glenn Sacks son is born in 1992. “I remember days when I’d work until 10 and come home and carry my sleeping son around the house on my shoulder because I missed him so much and I realize how lucky I am.”14Already you see how Mr. Sacks places his wants and needs over his infant son’s; he would disturb a sleeping baby because HE missed him, not because the child needed this.

Although Glenn Sacks tries to portray himself as a great dad, and some of his actions are acceptable, I was struck by the size of his ego and volume of his narcissism: “One day I was so disheartened over the situation that I walked off my job, pulled my son out of his kindergarten class, took him to the toy store, bought him a race car set, and spent the rest of the day playing with him.”15Again impulsive Glenn doing what is good for Glenn, not necessarily his son or the family he’s responsible for. He couldn’t wait until his son finished school to take him to the toy store? He “HAD” to disrupt his young son’s schedule to accommodate his own selfish needs?

Glenn Sacks daughter was born in 1999. Glenn Sacks quit his job and became a house-husband. I wonder how much say his wife really had in all of this.

Parenting Problems

As a teacher Glenn Sacks had the luxury of picking up his son from school every day, but even then poor pathetic Glenn complained that grading papers was beneath him so he quit his job. There is obviously something wrong with Glenn Sacks parenting if his 6 year old son was already labeled as a “bad kid” at school.

“I wait for my son as he stands in line after school to get his daily behavior report. The first grade students are fidgety in the line, which is probably why they are the "bad kids" who need the behavior reports to begin with.”16 Of course Mr. Sacks makes up all sorts of excuses: “All 10 of these children have one thing in common–they’re all boys.”17 When such young children are so unruly it is usually the parents to blame! Since Glenn Sacks has said himself that he was solely responsible for making sure things were done "his way" it is quite obvious that he should also bare the burden for his child’s behavioral problems.

The role of father and breadwinner that men have prided themselves upon and ascribed to for centuries just wasn’t good enough for Mr. Sacks who bitterly complained about fatherhood in the traditional sense: “My fatherhood was the hollow, joyless fatherhood many men endure – all the burdens of supporting children drained all of the pleasure of actually being with them.”18 In the same article Glenn Sacks rationalizes himself by explaining that working “deprives fathers of valuable time with their children.” However Glenn Sacks has no problem depriving his own wife of the same valuable time with her children!

“At times it seemed the only interaction I had with my son was disciplining him, the one parenting job which has not so generously always been reserved for fathers.”19 It is obvious that there was something wrong with Mr. Sacks’ expectations and perceptions in his role as dad if the only time he had for his son was disciplining him! No wonder his poor son was experiencing so many problems at school; the only person his little boy had to rely on was his father because Mr. Sacks had effectively eliminated his mother from the boy’s daily life! He took advantage of his wife’s intelligence, hard work and ambition by turning her into his personal cash cow while depriving her of meaningful moments with her children. So Mr. Sacks decided to take over his wife’s role as a house wife, yet to this day he belittles the very role he claims to be so proud of – how exactly does that work Mr. Sacks?

“Every day as I pick my son up from school I hope for a good behavior report that can be celebrated with ice cream or a trip to the park. More often I face what I call the ‘boy parent dilemma’–when my son is ‘bad’ do I punish him because he can’t fit into a structure that clearly isn’t suited to little boys? Or do I withhold punishment or censure and in so doing undercut the teacher’s authority?”20

Psychologists have recently looked at the long-term damage parents have created by getting into the bad habit of "praising the mundane" and rewarding normally EXPECTED behavior in their children. "Celebrating" something that should be a given (good behavior in school) is not good parenting – it predisposes the child to think that he should be rewarded not for excellence, heroism or for being virtuous but for being mediocre. If the structure Mr. Sacks is referring to here is the law or society, wow, are we in trouble! If an authority figure has witnessed, evidenced, experienced or found inappropriate or unacceptable conduct beyond a shadow of a doubt, we’d better hope that punishment is carried out as a result: it’s called the criminal justice system folks! So Mr. Sacks has to question whether he and his son are accountable to such a structure.

Thankfully, Mr. Sacks did the right thing: “I’ve agonized over this question again and again, but I always decide that it is my duty to support the teacher. But I’ll never forget the sadness of my little son in the back seat after school because I scolded him for his bad behavior report. Why did I scold him? Because I simply couldn’t think of anything else to do.”21

Scolding his son for "being bad" (but more accurately behaving badly) is the most appropriate thing I’ve seen Mr. Sacks do yet! Murderers being hauled off to jail to carry out their life sentences look pretty sad in the back seat of the police car too when they’ve been scolded by the judge for taking a life. Then again, Mr. Sacks undoes any positive gain he’s made by excusing his son’s poor behavior and evading any responsibility for his shortcomings as a parent. For this he blames society:“My little boy has had problems in school, in large part because he is a little boy.”22 No – that is not the problem. It actually appears that this kid had so much trouble because his father was such a dominating bully. That must be very difficult for a young boy to deal with.

Power And Control

What I find most frightening is the revelation of what motivated Glenn Sacks to become a house-husband and it’s the most convincing evidence that I found of Glenn Sacks as an abuser because it came straight from the horse’s mouth: “in reality, I have more power in the family now than I ever did when I was the family breadwinner. The most important issue in any marriage is deciding how to raise the children. While my wife is an equal partner in any major decision regarding the children, I supervise the children on a day to day basis and I make sure that things are done the way I want them done.”23

Whoa! What’s going on here? Everyone knows that power and control issues are at the heart of domestic violence and look at the contradiction in his own statement: his wife is purportedly an "equal partner" yet Mr. Sacks "makes sure" that "things are done his way". This is the exact trap that domestic violence victims find themselves in: their husband or boyfriend TELLS them that they’re equal partners but that’s notthe way it really IS so the wives and girlfriends believe that they’re equally to blame for what goes wrong in their relationships when they don’t have any real power in their relationships to begin with! Care to guess what happens to these women when they try to claim their "equal" status instead of just hearing about it?

“Last year I attended a school meeting with my wife, my son’s elementary school teacher, and some school officials, most of whom knew that I drove my son to and from school, met with his teachers, and did his spelling words with him every day. Yet the woman who chaired the meeting introduced herself to my wife, began the meeting, and then, only as an afterthought, looked at me and said "and who might you be?"24

Mr. Sacks really needs to get over himself here: out of ALL the people he says know him to be so very hands-on with his son, one doesn’t cater to his ego by immediately recognizing him and it becomes the slight of the year? And why wasn’t he immediately recognized by his child’s teacher if he was so involved with his son? And what if his wife showed up at the parent teacher meeting with another man because Glenn couldn’t make it, you’d better believe that Mr. Sacks would have a fit if the teacher assumed that another man was the father of his children!

“Freeing up women to pursue their careers would take breadwinner pressure off men and allow them to spend more time with their children–a great benefit for families and society as a whole.”25 How can this be beneficial for the family or society? If being a breadwinner is suddenly too much pressure on men why does Mr. Sacks think that it should be solely forced upon women just because he can’t handle it?

“What my wife has had to accept is that her child insists on being comforted not by her but by ‘yaddy.’”26 There’s another fine example of the egalitarian marriage of Glenn Sacks: his wife has had to accept which = NO CHOICEand no choice = victimization. Mr. Sacks is also expressing pride over something he should be ashamed over: favoritism in a family is NOT a sign of health or appropriate parenting and shows NO consideration for his wife’s feelings. Being rejected and excluded from something you should be a part of feels bad, yet Mrs. Sacks simply has "to accept" the competitive family structure her husband’s set up where it’s a popularity contest between mom and dad. In this embarrassing account, "yaddy" scores a point and Mr. Sacks is so self-absorbed, he doesn’t understand the pain that this has undoubtedly caused his wife (because he brags about it here). Congratulations on publicly humiliating and denigrating your wife, Mr. Sacks – nice victory… His little girl was 4+ years-old when he wrote this statement so I’d imagine she could say daddy (as well as Mommy) properly by this time or is this ANOTHER indication of something else not quite right in the Sacks family?

Even with Glenn Sacks in charge and at the helm of his oh-so-lucky family, his son was having even more trouble at school. It is quite obvious that Mr. Sacks’ selfish and self-serving motives were only beneficial for him, not his wife and not his children.

Good dads don’t need to brag about their accomplishments. They don’t need to extol their own virtues and sing their own praises because OTHER PEOPLE do it for them. OTHER PEOPLE identify who truly good dads are, not self-proclaimers such as Glenn Sacks.


1 11/13/02

2 04/27/04


4 & Warshaw,Robin 1994

5 11/13/02

6 11/13/02

7 09/04/04

8 05/27/

9 05/12/01

10 05/22/02

11 05/12/

12 05/12/01

13 05/12/01

14 06/01

15 01/10/02

16 04/15/02

17 04/15/02

18 01/10/02

19 01/10/02

20 04/15/02

21 04/15/02

22 05/27/01

23 05/22/02

24 12/03/2002

25 12/03/2002

26 02/23/04


A Mother’s Heart said…

Wow Jennifer. This is very good! I don’t know why he just doesn’t get over harassing you and your dear mother.

FEBRUARY 13, 2010 7:30 PM

Cold North Wind said…

Bravo ! Congratulations on a well reasoned, well thought out and researched piece ! I do not think you are overly sensitive about the photographs- they remind me of a 2 year old in a NO crisis- grasping a toy he or she THINKS that someone will take away. Ownership of property. Except- these are children. The children look- resistant- especially the little girl. Bravo ! I have sometimes read what Glenn Sacks has written about your- life- and found his words to be just- reprehensible.

FEBRUARY 13, 2010 9:13 PM

silverside said…

Excellent job of exposing the real Sacks.

FEBRUARY 13, 2010 11:32 PM

A Friend Who Cares said…

Hi Jen, you can find out some other interesting things about Ball Sacks if you put some of his early websites into the wayback machine. It will show all of the early cached material and Ball Sacks can’t remove it.

He is just another bully and good for you for writing this article.

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FL Judge John Dean Moxley Denied Request for Emergency Protection from Stalker One Week Before Young Bride Was Murdered

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm

FL Judge John Dean Moxley Denied Request for Emergency Protection from Stalker One Week Before Young Bride Was Murdered

Posted by Anne Caroline Drake under DV in the News | Tags: abuse of power, Alissa Blanton, domestic violence, family court reform, gun violence, Judge Cynthia Mackinnon (FL), Judge Dean Moxley (FL), Judge J. Preston Silvernail (FL), judicial misconduct, pit bull abusers, protection orders, stalking, WFTV |
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Alissa & Brent Blanton

Alissa and Brent Blanton were married on August 15.  They were high school sweethearts in Missouri.  She was cheerleading captain and homecoming queen at DeSoto High School.  She dreamed of becoming a teacher.    

Like many college coeds, she got a job in 2008 as a waitress to pay her way through school.  She worked at the Merritt Island, Florida Hooters.  One of her customers was Roger “BeachBull” Troy, a creepy 61-year-old pit bull predator who was a regular at the restaurant.  The Orlando Sentinel reported:     

. . .he thought he deserved more of her attention after he spent money at the restaurant and on tips.     

As you can see, Alissa Goedecke [her maiden name] was a gorgeous 23-year-old woman.  Troy was old enough to be her grandfather.  He followed her to her car at the end of her shift.     

When she reported his unwelcome advances to her supervisor, his obsession with her escalated.  Ultimately, she quit her job in a futile attempt to distance herself from Troy.  She moved to Orlando, got a new job, and lived in hiding.  Troy found her and continued to stalk her.     

After their marriage in August, the couple bought a house in Port St. John which is in Brevard County.  The stalking continued.  After her husband found a four page letter from Troy on their lawn, the couple decided it was time to get an order of protection.  According to WFTV, which has been on this story like a dog on a bone:     

Florida Statute 784.048 defines stalking as willfully, maliciously and repeatedly following, harassing or cyberstalking another person and defines harassing as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose.     

Their legal expert Bill Sheaffer explained the statute requires two incidents of stalking in the prior six months.     

70 Pages of Evidence Isn’t Enough for Judge Moxley

WFTV posted a PDF of Mrs. Blanton’s application for a protection order.  It includes evidence of stalking and an obsessive fixation over a two year period:     

  • The four-page letter left on the Blanton’s lawn and sent by certified mail.  The Blantons reported it to the Brevard County Sheriff.
  • 64 pages of harassing e-mail messages, letters, and phone calls between September 9, 2008 through February 1 (the date of the petition).  They include numerous admissions of stalking behavior including seeing her at stores and the beach and driving by her house.  The frequency of the e-mail messages escalated about a month before Mrs. Blanton filed her petition.
  • Details of how Troy came to Mrs. Blanton’s place of employment at the AT&T call center in Orlando and blocked her in her car.
  • Reports to the sheriffs of Orange and Brevard County.
  • Troy had an aresenal of guns.
  • Ms. Goedecke quit her job at Hooters in a futile attempt to evade Troy’s obsessive fixation on her.
  • The couple had relocated twice and lived in hiding in a futile attempt to evade Troy’s stalking behavior.

Mr. Sheaffer believes the evidence was clearly there.  I agree.  Judge Moxley had no legal theory or even a factual basis to support his decision to deny Mrs. Blanton’s request for a protection order.    One week later, Troy came to Mrs. Blanton’s place of employment shortly after she had lunch with her husband.  When Troy confronted her, she called her husband for help.  He called 9-1-1 and rushed to try to rescue his wife from her stalker.     

But, he was too late.  Troy shot her several times in the parking lot before killing himself.  As his wife lay bleeding, the 9-1-1 operator could hear him say:     

Baby, I love you.  Keep breathing.  Oh my God.  Come on, baby!     

She passed away at the hospital.     

Florida Judicial System Circles the Wagons

WFTV reported that Brevard County Chief Judge J. Preston Silvernail said that all the harassing e-mail messages would not necessarily indicated stalking.     

Judge Moxley had the arrogant audacity to tell the Orlando Sentinel:     

As a judge you have to follow the law.  You’re not omniscient.  God bless her soul.     

Orange County Circuit Judge Cynthia Mackinnon in the same arrogant vein suggested that if domestic violence advocates don’t like the law that they need to raise concerns to legislators.  Florida law requires judges to set a hearing unless there is no “immediate and present danger” of domestic violence.  WFTV reported than only 1/4 of the 5,000 orders of protection sought in Orange County were granted last year.     

The evidence in Mrs. Blanton’s case was absolutely overwhelming that she was in immediate and present danger.  Any judge who can’t see this has no business being on the bench.     

WFTV is so incensed that they provide a link for viewers to e-mail the court to protest.  The e-mail address:

Apparently, the court system has shut down the e-mail address.  My e-mail message was returned.   

Judge Moxley Accused of Being Soft on Criminals    WFTV, which has done an awesome job of investigative journalism, obtained a document from the Judicial Qualifications Commissions that Judge Moxley is under review over a complaint made in another case.  He has been accused of making a ruling in that case without thoroughly reviewing the case file.  Apparently, this isn’t the first time he has been accused of being soft on crime:     

  • Career criminal Steven Lunn said in May, 2003:  “I like Moxley.  He knows me.  I got a problem, he’ll take care of it.”
  • Moxley released violent criminal Derrick Henderson in February, 2003 on his signature days before he was to go to prison for six years.  He disappeared.

  • Moxley lowered an accused child molester’s bond so he could get out of jail after being accused of stalking 12- and 13-year-old girls.

Judge Moxley has been on the bench for 25 years.  He was re-elected in 2008 without opposition.  He is up for re-election in 2014.  He makes $142,000/year.

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Father remanded over attempted murder of his two children after he drove into freezing river

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm


Don’t think they would be quite that honest about the situation in the US for fear of lawsuit.


By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:44 PM on 13th February 2010

Chris Brady with son Ryan and daughter Gabrielle

Chris Grady with son Ryan and daughter Gabrielle

A father who drove his car into a freezing river with his two young children was today remanded in custody.

Christopher Grady was charged with attempted murder early today and appeared in court in Worcester this morning.

His children, Ryan, six, and Gabrielle, five,  were rescued from the River Avon in Evesham, Worcestershire, after the accident on Thursday and airlifted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Both children were critically ill when first admitted to the hospital. Ryan was recovered enough to be sitting up in bed and talking yesterday but Gabrielle is still seriously ill.

Eyewitnesses described how the children’s screams could be heard when the car entered the water from a field at around 9.20am

Grady had picked up the children from their mother’s house because they had been due to go to school.

He drove his Vauxhall Vectra 100 yards across a field at up to 50mph and it plunged into the Avon at Evesham in Worcestershire.

Grady and Ryan, six, managed to escape but five-year-old Gabrielle was trapped inside the wreckage as it sunk to the bottom of the river.

Miraculously, she survived for two hours in an air pocket before police divers managed to free her.

Last night, she was still in a critical condition in Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Ryan’s condition has improved and yesterday he was described as ‘stable’.

Grady was taken to hospital with minor injuries but discharged later and taken into custody.

The Vauxhall Vectra was pulled from the River Avon today

Grady’s Vauxhall Vectra was pulled from the River Avon yesterday

The Vauxhall Vectra showed few signs of damage, although its sun-roof and windscreen were missing

The car’s windscreen was smashed and its sunroof was missing

Children's toys could be seen on the back seat as the car was winched

Children’s toys could be seen on the back seat as the car was winched

Family friends say Grady is a troubled man with a long history of alcohol and drug abuse.

A friend of former partner Kim Wise, 36, said: ‘They had a row that morning about his drug use. She told him she wanted to split up and keep the kids because he refused to give up heroin.’

‘Kim tried to chase after the car shouting him to stop and let the kids go but he sped off.’

Grady, who has three other children, Kristie, 20, Jessica, 17, and James, 14, from his failed marriage to Suzanne Pritchard, 45, was also described as a ‘loner’ who was unhappy with life.

The Vauxhall Vectra was winched from the river yesterday. It showed few signs of damage, although its sun-roof and windscreen were missing

Children’s toys could be seen on the back seat as it was pulled from the water.

Police defended their actions after it emerged that police divers took 97 minutes to reach the scene and a further 12 minutes to remove Gabrielle from the car.

A West Mercia Police spokesman said there were only nine such dive teams in the UK and the Avon and Somerset crew were busy elsewhere when the call came in.

Police divers at the scene

Police divers at the scene shortly after the crash

The scene from the air after the crash.

The scene from the air after the crash on Thursday

At the children’s school, classmates were being offered support by specially trained staff.

Graham Walker, the headteacher of Swan Lane First School in Evesham, said: ‘The school is deeply shocked and saddened by the recent events involving two of our pupils.

‘Following advice and guidance given to school staff by the County Psychological Service, school will reopen as normal after the half-term break and normal school routine will continue.

‘Further support will be available if required and pupils will be given the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings in class.’

The crash took place near the village of Evesham on the River Avon

The crash took place near the village of Evesham on the River Avon

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In Uncategorized on February 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm




Children of battered women are worried, frightened, confused and vulnerable: they are worried about the safety of their mothers, themselves, and their siblings; they are frightened, not just by what they have seen and heard, but by what is yet to come; they are confused about what is happening and all the conflicting emotions they have both around the abuse and the abuser; and they are vulnerable; vulnerable because of their dependence upon and relationship with their mothers, vulnerable because of the lack of stability, security, and protection afforded by their environment, and vulnerable because of the lack of power they have over the onset or outcome of the violence. You do not need to have an intimate knowledge of abuse, or to have grown up in a violent home in order have some understanding or sense of how traumatic and disruptive witnessing the abuse of your mother and living with the myriad forms of fallout, could be, for any child. Common sense alone tells us that the impact is likely to be profound.


The risks posed to children who live and learn within the context of domestic violence are substantial. Indeed, living in a domestically violent home may constitute one of the most serious, frequently encountered, and potentially ongoing threats to the health, welfare and safety of many children and young adults. It is of real interest and concern then, that this ‘risk’, and these children, legally and socially speaking, are hardly visible. This is clearly evident in the distinct lack of guidelines, services, or legislation directed towards addressing the special circumstances and needs of children who witness and live with the abuse of their mothers.

However, perhaps the most poignant indicator of the risk and invisibility of children of battered women lies in the sheer number of children who are believed to live in homes where their mothers are abused. Although we cannot determine with any degree accuracy (there are no epidemiological studies either in New Zealand or overseas to document in a precise fashion the incidence or prevalence of children in this country who witness wife abuse, we do know that in 1991, women who sought help from Refuges indicated that 90% of their children had witnessed violence and that 50% of these children had themselves experienced abuse.[1] Based on data recorded as part of the Hamilton Abuse Intervention Pilot Project (HAIPP) we also know that children were present during 87% of the incidents in which their parent was victimised, and that the children themselves were either the accidental or direct targets of violence in almost one in five of all recorded incidents.[2] These statistics highlight with unmistakable clarity, New Zealand children’s intimate and inescapable connection with family violence. Indeed, on the basis of these statistics and conservative estimates of the number of women who seek refuge in this country, it appears safe to conclude that when talk about the risk and the impact associated with wife abuse, we are talking about a disturbingly significant number of children in this country.

In this article the literature on the impact of domestic violence on children is reviewed and the implications of this knowledge for children in a legal sense is explored. Risk factors associated with witnessing domestic violence are identified. These include the trauma associated with witnessing violence, the social and behavioural problems evident in many of these children, their vulnerability to physical and psychological abuse within the context of domestic violence, and their ongoing susceptibility to the threat and actuality of violence throughout the dissolution process. Where possible results of research conducted with children of battered women in Aotearoa/New Zealand are included. The implications of our knowledge of these children’s experiences and the rationale behind the legal prioritisation of the safety of children of battered women in custody and access decisionmaking is then briefly discussed.


Although research has yet to verify on an empirical level the extent to which child witnesses’ initial responses to the abuse of their mothers are consistent with the broader concept of traumatic stress, clinical accounts and the findings of related research clearly indicate the traumatising potential of living with woman abuse for the children of battered women.[3] That many children are initially shocked, unsettled and potentially ‘overwhelmed’ by what they have seen and heard is most evident. Children in Refuges have been noted by staff to experience sleep disturbance, to be disinterested in food, and to show obvious signs of psychosomatic distress (eg. headaches, stomach aches, asthma, and ulcers).[4] In addition, children in Refuges have consistently been described as distraught, confused, concerned, fearful, untrusting of others, unsettled, anxious, insecure, and emotionally needy.[5] That children of battered women may experience loss of safety and control during a battering episode is also relatively self-evident.

However, perhaps the most crucial consideration in our efforts to understand the nature of this trauma, is the realisation, that for many children, witnessing the abuse of their mothers is not an isolated incident. Many children, over an indefinite period of time, witness both the physical and psychological victimisation of a caregiver. This understanding raises serious concerns regarding the potential cumulative impact of these experiences. Beyond what children see and hear, the frequency, severity and inescapability of the violence in combination with a consideration and understanding of the child’s dependence upon and relationship with both the victim and the perpetrator, are all factors capable of compounding the stress and trauma experienced by these children. During the battering phase and for an indefinite period of time afterwards, many of these children’s reactions will no doubt be consistent with the broader concept of traumatic stress. Their world at this point in time is tense and traumatic, fragile and uncertain, and their reactions reflect this


From a psychological perspective it follows that children who are experiencing trauma of this magnitude, would concomitantly experience problems in other important social and developmental spheres. Research conducted by Jaffe and colleagues[6] indicated that child witnesses were below their peers in many areas associated with social competence. Some light was cast on the possible origin of these reported differences by de Lange. In an observational study, de Lange[7] described Refuge children as socially isolated and estimated that as many as forty percent of these children were unable to join in the activities of, or relate to the interests of their age mates, and struggled to interact appropriately with either peers or adults. From a different, but still relevant perspective, Rosenberg and Rossman[8] drew attention to the ‘isolationist’ and transitional nature of life for many child witnesses of domestic violence, reporting that children of battered women tended to move more often than their peers, were more likely to attend multiple schools, and were the most likely to have poor school attendance records. Clearly, the isolationist and disruptive context conferred by the presence of violence in the family can interfere with the development of social competence in these children. But what about their social networks? Are children of battered women isolated from their peers and/or other important sources of support?

In our first small Aotearoa/New Zealand based study,[9] we investigated the degree to which children perceived themselves to be isolated from three broad but significant sources of support (their peers, family, and teachers). Our interest in children of battered women’s subjective appraisals of how socially supportive their immediate social network is, stemmed from two sources: recent findings which indicate that children’s perceptions of social support relate directly to their level of psychological wellbeing and adjustment,[10] and concerns regarding the impact abuse has recently been found to have on children of battered women’s social network structure and involvement.[11] It seems that these children’s opportunities to learn, engage in, and access socially supportive responses, may be particularly limited given the social isolation that characterises abusive families in general.

Accordingly, we found significant differences between the Representative Population Subsample and Refuge children’s perceptions of peer support, family support, and the quality and availability of support overall. Although children’s perceptions cannot be interpreted as a ‘true’ measure of the responsiveness and availability of children’s social network, there is some evidence to suggest that children’s perceptions may be the strongest predictor of children’s adjustment.[12] This is not very surprising given that, in this instance, when we assessed children’s perceptions, we were in effect tapping children’s ideas and perceptions about their own isolation, their own ‘acceptability’ within their social network, and their own expectations or learning experiences regarding the availability and dependability of others.

All the evidence to date indicates that children of battered women are isolated from their social network, in both a situational and perceived sense. However we need to be aware that when we talk about lower levels of ’social competence’ among children of battered women, we are in part, talking about the constraints of their environment; and the potential tyranny and control so evident in abusive environments, has to interfere with, or prevent, children from partaking in such rudimentary social activities as going to someone else’s home, or having someone over to play. As well we are talking about how these responsibilities or transient existence could hinder their involvement in school, social, and extracurricular activities. Perceptually speaking, we cannot determine on the basis of these findings, the extent to which children of battered women’s poor perceptions reveal real limitations in their social networks, or the degree to which those real limitations are influenced by their relational history or ability to both engage in and facilitate socially supportive behaviours. However, these children’s perceptions do reflect a lack of confidence in the availability and/or approachability of others; a lack of confidence in the ability of their social network to met their needs; and in part, a sense of themselves as unworthy or undeserving when it comes to receiving help from others.

Whatever the underlying factors, Refuge children’s perceived isolation from their peer group raises serious concerns, particularly in light of recent findings which indicate that peer relationship difficulties in childhood are predictive of serious adjustment difficulties later in life.[13] Children whose behaviour is difficult and whose home life is precarious risk isolating themselves from their peers, especially if their efforts to cope with the overwhelming nature of their situation ’spills over’ into their interactions with or perceptions of others. Given the current weight of support lent to the notion of intergenerational transmission of violence,[14] this risk, and the mechanisms by which children’s experiences of abuse in the context of the family, influence their perceptions of, and approach or access to relationships with others, is of great interest and concern.


Children of battered women may be at risk of developing emotional and behavioural problems because of the learning opportunities associated with family violence. Specifically what is of greatest concern in terms of socialisation, is that witnessing violence in the context of the family will teach children that violence is an extremely powerful and effective means of control, and that women and children are both legitimate and deserving victims. So, are child witnesses in danger of learning the same lessons and repeating the same patterns? Children are vulnerable yes, largely because parents are often the most salient and influential models in their young lives. This assertion is supported by retrospective accounts by battered women and their partners which clearly indicate that exposure to family violence predisposes children in general, although male children in particular, to be abusive in their own intimate relationships.[15]

The danger, and hence the risk associated with children’s learning opportunities and the cycle of violence hypothesis, is however complicated by several factors. While a large body of research[16] has clearly documented the role of modelling in both the acquisition and modification of aggressive behaviour, its unidirectional approach (ie. parents influence their children’s behaviour because children model this behaviour on that of their parents) precludes a more sophisticated and comprehensive overview of the developmental progression of aggressiveness. Patterson’s[17] social interactional model of aggression has highlighted these limitations by recognising the reciprocal influences of parent and child in the development and expression of aggressive behaviour. The child is an integral part of this system who learns not only to respond in like, but eventually to elicit the kind of aversive interchanges they have witnessed and experienced. In line with the arguments of Patterson, it is argued here that child witnesses have the opportunity to learn more than just the execution and mimicry of behaviours; they have the opportunity to learn rules and regulations regarding the acceptability and appropriateness of behaviour.

Unfortunately we still lack a great deal of information regarding the conditions under which children will adopt observed behavioural and interactional patterns as their own. Retrospective evidence suggests that the personal experience of abuse may be an important or salient factor in determining whether or not individuals are likely to become embroiled in the cycle of violence.[18] But apart from this distinction, there is not at the present time, enough social information available to be able to determine with any degree of accuracy which children, or more specifically what child characteristics are the most susceptible or vulnerable regarding exposure to violent models.[19] Some recent studies[20] suggest that the acquisition of antisocial and generally aggressive behavioural patterns may require more subtle cognitive and/or effective changes in addition to the vicarious observational learning presumed to underlie the modelling hypothesis.

It is argued here, as it has recently been argued elsewhere[21] that children’s social-cognitive appraisals are likely to play an extremely important, although as yet, largely unexplored part. Based upon their own social-cognitive appraisals, and the meaning they attach to their experiences, children no doubt begin to form expectations about the roles of themselves and others in relationships, about the appropriateness and acceptability of a whole range of behaviours, and about the nature of responsibility. On a behavioural level, children are more likely to adopt and perceive aggressive and abusive behaviour as appropriate when such behaviour finds support in cultural norms and is accompanied by rationalisations, or under conditions which fail to highlight the irregularity or excessiveness of the behaviour.[22]

In light of this it seemed conceivable to us, that the well documented familial experiences acting on children’s behavioural development, could also influence their social-cognitive development and social information processing patterns.[23] It also seemed conceivable that children’s social-cognitive functioning, specifically their perceptions or interpretations of social situations could be affected, as a function of their family experiences. Accordingly, we tentatively hypothesised that family experiences could influence the quality of children’s interpersonal relations and behavioural adjustment via the influence they exert on children’s interpersonal problem solving skills.[24] Refuge children were indeed found to be significantly less resourceful and behaviourally flexible in their approach to interpersonal problem solving. Refuge males distinguished themselves from children in the representative population subsample by their overly aggressive and often inappropriate responses. Female Refuge children distinguished themselves by the passive and aggressive extremes of their interpersonal problem solving responses.

This, along with findings which indicate that aggressiveness and shyness/withdrawal are significant antecedents of peer rejection, does not bode well for refuge children’s sociometric standing among peers[25] and suggests that children’s perceptions of and approaches to interpersonal problem solving situations may be important determinants of children’s peer status. If this is indeed the case we have reason to be concerned, especially given recent findings indicating that disturbed peer relations are predictive of later maladjustment.[26] However, even though refuge males were found to be more aggressive with their peers than refuge females, the implications for the girls are potentially more serious given that the standards for the acceptability of aggressive behaviour within the peer group are harsher for girls than for boys.[27] Although children’s reactions to wife abuse are likely to vary over time, the fact that violence has already seeped into their relations with peers and has been incorporated as part of their problem solving and behaviour regulating repertoire suggests that there is a distinct possibility that these children have a significant potential to perpetrate the cycle of violence.


The small but steadily growing number of empirical studies undertaken in this area reveal that children who are exposed to such emotionally and anxiety promoting events as wife abuse, are more likely than children who are not, to develop short-term, and possibly long-term adjustment difficulties. On the basis of these undertakings researchers have been able to infer that these children are vulnerable to a host of behavioural and adjustment difficulties ranging from poor concentration and erratic school attendance,[28] to such emotional, behavioural and self-concept disturbances as withdrawal, anxiety, and a proness to depression.[29] However, in light of the violent, aggressive and antisocial nature of domestic violence, it is of little surprise that the bulk of research on these children has sought to identify and quantify the aggressive and disruptive elements of child witnesses’ behaviour in relation to their peers.[30]Accordingly, the presence of externalising (aggressive, disruptive, and delinquent) behaviours are widely cited in the literature. Significantly, the vast majority of overseas research has established that the externalising behaviour problems of children of battered women frequently exceed clinical cut-off margins, and borders, in the most severe cases, on delinquency.[31]

These results are clearly indicative of the serious nature of many of these children’s adjustment difficulties. Of real concern are recent indications that children of battered women in Aotearoa/New Zealand, are experiencing problems of a comparable magnitude.[32] In our 1994 study, Refuge children evidenced behavioural difficulties to a far greater degree than Representative Population Subsample children overall, and on each of the assessment tools subscales (ie. hyperactive, anxious, and aggressive). More than three quarters of the Refuge children (88.2%) were reported as having behavioural problems severe enough to fall within the clinical range. In stark contrast, just over one quarter (28.2%) of Representative Population Subsample children were reported by their parents as evidencing behavioural problems of a clinical nature. Notably, the number of children in the Representative Population Subsample identified by their parents as behaviourally problematic (ie. within the clinical range of behavioural problems) is quite comparable to prevalence rates reported by McGee, Silva, and Williams,[33] who sought to investigate the prevalence, nature, and stability of behaviour problems (as measured by the Rutter) in a large sample of seven year old New Zealand children. This compatability between our findings and theirs strongly suggests that we have found meaningful differences between Refuge children and the representative population subsample in terms of clinically defined behavioural problems.

In many respects, the finding that children of battered women are significantly more behaviourally troubled (particularly with respect to the aggressive and anxious subscales) than a representative sample of their peers is not surprising considering the violent, aggressive, and distressing nature of domestic violence. It seems reasonable to assume that the high level of behavioural problems reported among the children of battered women who participated in this study, relates directly back to their family context, and the nature of their stressful circumstances. There are a vast array of broad yet interrelated factors capable, either singly or in combination, of significantly contributing to the severity of behavioural problems identified here. Children of battered women are vulnerable. Their hyperactive and anxious behaviours have the potential to further exacerbate their vulnerability, or at the very least place unwanted strain upon their efforts to develop, grow, and adjust. Indeed, the degree of anxious behaviour evident in this child population suggests that they are troubled emotionally.

However, the seriousness of many of these children’s difficulties is at the same time, complicated both by the questionable cultural appropriateness and relevance of the behavioural measure employed for Aotearoa/New Zealand, and by our understanding of the relationship that exists between maternal wellbeing and child adjustment . It is clear that our use of parental report data to measure child behaviour may be potentially misleading to the extent that the parental reports in this study contained a component of variance which was directly related to parental health. Importantly however, when comparable groups were compared (ie. non-clinical and clinical samples) on the basis of the parents’ responses to the General Health Questionnaire, Refuge children still distinguished themselves from their peers on the aggressive subscale. Moreover, for many of the children in this study, exposure to violent and abusive behaviour was not restricted to the mere observation of their mothers’ victimisation. Over fifty percent of Refuge children were identified by their mothers as having personally experienced abuse. Not surprisingly, these children were identified as having the most serious behavioural problems.


Not only would a discussion of the behavioural problems evident in child witnesses not be complete without drawing attention to the differential impact of experienced abuse, it would be misleading. There is a very real reason to believe that many child witnesses suffer repeated exposure to violence, both as direct and indirect victims.[34] That children of battered women may be ‘doubly’ exposed to violence, has serious implications for their adjustment given that child abuse in and of itself is an extremely traumatic and usually detrimental experience with its own established socio-emotional and behavioural sequelae.[35] To date, personally experienced abuse is the greatest risk factor to have been identified for children of battered women,[36] largely because of what these experiences are likely to convey to the child, as well as the sheer number of child witnesses who are thought to experience repeated exposure to violence, both as direct and indirect victims.

However, although children’s personal experiences of abuse have emerged as potentially more traumatic, developmentally hazardous, and generally speaking, more detrimental for children, (at least one that has more serious implications with regard to children’s behavioural functioning), the extent of behavioural problems evident in children who have witnessed but supposedly not experienced abuse, suggests that there are important shared similarities and consequences inherent in living in an abusive environment, regardless of who is the direct victim.[37] These observed and documented similarities raise several important questions: to what extent are recent attempts in the literature to arbitrarily categorise children as “abused” or “not abused” necessarily partial and over simplistic? To what degree do these similarities reflect similarities in the circumstances that give rise, or contribute to, abuse in the family, regardless of whether the victim is the mother or child? However, perhaps the most pertinent questions are those centring around the as yet unexplored role of emotional abuse in child witnesses’ adjustment. Can witnessing the abuse of a caregiver be defined as an abusive experience, ie. does witnessing violence involve “mental or emotional injury”?

Current definitions describe “feeling threatened and living in fear” as an integral part of psychological abuse, wherein the meaning of the word ‘threatened’ includes “those threats made directly to the child, and those that are made indirectly, for example, where one parent verbally, psychologically, and/or physically abuses or threatens to abuse another in the child’s presence”.[38] On the basis of this definition, children of battered women are clearly highly vulnerable to psychological abuse, and the fear, powerlessness, frustration, anger, low sense of worth, guilt, shame, embarrassment and grief associated with this type of maltreatment.[39] Of course we still have some way to go in both defining and explicating the nature and the consequences of witnessing and living with abuse for children. In order to attain a more complete, coherent, and complex picture of both child witnesses and the nature of their adjustment difficulties, we as researchers will need to be sensitive to and start to concentrate our efforts upon exploring and elucidating the more subtle and individual influences or impacts that living with woman abuse has on children’s developing view of themselves and their world.[40] Exploring the degree to which children’s reported experiences of woman abuse are consistent with current definitions of emotional abuse will clearly contribute to both our understanding of these children’s predicament and our ability to intervene in a sensitive and appropriate way. But we also need to explore and understand the link or nexus between domestic violence and child maltreatment.[41] As yet, neither our understanding of the of the dynamics of violent relationships, nor the predicament of battered women and their children, has had a significant impact on how child abuse within the context of these relationships is identified, understood or managed.


Traditionally, woman abuse and child abuse have been examined and addressed as distinctly separate issues in the field of family violence.[42] However recent research indicates that we need to seriously question the validity of this prevailing assumption.[43] A clear picture of the overlap has yet to emerge, but the link between woman abuse and child abuse certainly represents a significant and important area for research, policy, and intervention.[44] So, what do we know about the link? We now know that children of battered women may be ‘doubly’ exposed to violence, either accidentally or intentionally.[45] Using data from the Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project, Robertson and Busch[46] reported that fifteen percent of children present during violent episodes may have become the unintended victims of violence either through attempts to intervene or their proximity to their mother at the time of the assault.

But what about the instances of intentionally directed abuse? Unfortunately, the fact these children’s mothers’ are usually the primary targets of abuse, does not mean that these children are less likely to be victimised: quite the contrary.[47] At present we know that battering is the most common context for child abuse, with children of battered women being fifteen times more likely to be abused than children whose mothers are not battered. We also know that men who abuse their partners are more likely to abuse their children.[48] From a feminist perspective it is not surprising that where there is woman abuse there is also likely to be child abuse, that the severity of the abuse inflicted upon the mother is predictive of the severity of abuse inflicted upon the child, or that the way in which children are victimised strongly resembles that experienced by their mothers.[49] These trends indicate that like their mothers, many of these children may also be abused by their fathers or by the significant male in their mothers’ lives. Statistically speaking, child witnesses are in fact three to six times more likely to be abused by their father or father surrogate than any other adult in the family.[50]

However, while children of battered women are approximately three to six times more likely to be abused by their father or father surrogate, there is also evidence to indicate that some of these children are being abused by their mothers. Straus[51] reported that approximately twenty-five percent of battered women recounted abuse towards their children, double the child abuse rate reported by mothers who were not battered. It is worth noting, however, that the number of battered women directly implicated in the abuse of their children arguably remains surprisingly small in light of their own experiences of abuse and their often disproportionate responsibility for child care.[52]

Even though comparatively only a small percentage of battered women are directly implicated in the abuse of their children, in a social and often professional sense, battered women are held responsible for and treated as complicit in, the abuse of their children.[53] This is clearly evident in the disproportionate number of children who have been removed from women who are battered[54] and in a recent American report released by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges wherein it was declared that a double standard is most evident in child protection, ‘failure to protect’ and custody cases. It is important to note that this report also went on to specifically state that this double standard is more often than not, exacerbated when the mother is also clearly a victim of abuse. Within the report numerous examples of case law are cited to exemplify how mothers are often prosecuted without full recognition of the issues involved in the abuse of women.[55]

Unfortunately our lack of recognition and our lack of understanding of the issues involved in the co-existence of wife abuse and child abuse has some potentially serious implications: the possibility that battered women will not be identified when their children come to the attention of Child Services, and as a result, may subsequently become inappropriately implicated in the abuse of their children; or that in neglecting to differentiate between abuse and periodic ‘unavailability’ we will mistakenly assume that battered women’s and their children’s interests are diametrically opposed, thereby negating the influential and crucial part many battered women have to play in their children’s adjustment. Clearly, the abuse of a parent has serious implications for children’s relationships with both their parents, and for the security, consistency and stability afforded by these children’s environments.


Children of battered women may also be at an increased risk for developing emotional and behavioural problems because of the disruption in familial and parental functioning associated with family conflict and violence. In the first instance, the development of a strong and secure attachment or bond between parent and child could be undermined in an abusive context if the abuser perceives his partner’s relationship with a child as threatening, or if the child’s mother is abused during her pregnancy, and/or after the birth of her child.[56] A rather rapidly growing body of research indicates that the ability of parents to provide children with the kind of consistent structure and involvement they need and demand is greatly undermined in the context of abusive and discordant relationships,[57] ie. in this context parents have been found to communicate less clearly with their children,[58] to decrease their use of approval statements whilst increasing their use of disapproval statements,[59] to attend primarily to the negative behaviour of their children, and generally, to engage in the kind of behaviour that is often likely to facilitate and perpetuate negative parent-child interchanges.[60]

Not surprisingly, changes in parenting practices and parents’ relationships with their children constitute the most significant indirect mechanisms to have been identified yet. Unfortunately at present we know very little about children of battered women’s relationships with their abuser-fathers, but given findings which indicate that in domestically violent homes, the way in which children are victimised strongly resembles that of their mothers,[61] the possibility that these fathers are often punitive, power assertive, and perhaps violent in their relationships with their children is very real. We do however know more about battered women’s relationships with their children, and the significant part women’s experiences of abuse, and maternal stress play in determining both parent and child outcomes.

Indeed three studies have examined the significance of maternal health in relation to behavioural problems evident in children of battered women.[62] Importantly, in all three studies, a strong relationship was found between mothers’ general level of health functioning and children’s level of adjustment. But the strongest relationship was found by Holden and Ritchie.[63] They investigated the relation, or more precisely, the degree of interdependence between extreme marital discord, parenting, and child development and were able to account for an impressive 33% of the variance with maternal stress and parental irritability emerging as the two most significant predictors of child behaviour problems.

However, given that the data gathered in all three studies was based largely on mothers’ reports, it is possible that battered women were more likely to report feeling stressed in their role as parents than comparison mothers, and that their assessments of their children’s behaviour were subsequently unduly influenced by the stress and strain they themselves were experiencing at the time. Moreover, on the whole, these studies, due to their correlational nature, tell us very little about the quality of battered women’s relationships with their children, the difficulties and complexities of parenting in an abusive relationship, or the specific aspects of parenting that are of particular relevance or concern to battered women and their children. It is easy to see how a women’s ability to parent in a consistent, involved, and nurturant manner could be disrupted and undermined by her own responses and reactions to the abuse she is experiencing. So although maternal stress and wellbeing have consistently been identified as “the most important factors in a child’s psychological development and wellbeing over the years”,[64] we know little about how, or the extent to which, women’s experience of intimate abuse make ‘mothering’ a more acutely stressful and potentially hazardous experience.

Research the authors are in the process of undertaking[65] represents an initial effort to try and explore, elucidate, and make visible, some of the added difficulties and complexities of parenting for women who have, or who are, continuing to experience and endure physical and emotional abuse. Preliminary findings indicate several areas of consensus: that women experience violence as a process of victimisation, that they are acutely aware of how their ‘process’ impacts directly on their ‘availability’ to their children, and the regret, guilt, and resentment this evokes; that their children are focal, both in the kinds of decisions they make around the abusive relationship, and in terms of the concerns they have regarding their children’s responses and reactions to their abuse; that loyalty, discipline, responsibility and blame are consistently identified as difficult issues and sources of tension between battered women and their children; that the satisfaction these women glean from ‘mothering’ stems in part from the importance and centrality of their children in their lives, and in part from their ability over time to reconstitute a sense of themselves as worthy, capable, and deserving of the mother role; that women carry with them into their relationships with their children an overwhelming sense or need to compensate for their children’s experiences; and the ways in which women feel their efforts are undermined by the harsh realities and custody battles many they face when they decide to make a life for themselves and their children, independent of their partners. Although little attention has been directed towards what happens after the immediate crisis, the costs associated with leaving an abusive relationship are often not just high, but ongoing. As women and children seek to re-establish their lives in the community, at home, at work, and at school, many stressors, although slightly different, are still apparent. But perhaps the gravest concern for battered women and their children are those that centre around their safety during the process of separation.


Despite persistent cultural beliefs that women and children will be safe once they leave an abusive relationship, evidence suggests that women and children are extremely vulnerable at this time. Although, in research terms, data on the incidence of separation violence in New Zealand is not currently available, overseas studies indicate that violence directed towards women and their children, is in fact likely to escalate once women have sought physically and/or legally to end the relationship.[66] An investigation by Langen and Innes[67] demonstrated that as many as seventy-five percent of visits to hospital emergency rooms by battered women took place after separation, while Stark and Flitcraft[68] found that on the whole seventy-five percent of the cases where Police were called upon to intervene involved the victimisation of a women by ex-partner or spouse.

However the seriousness of the ongoing threat posed to women after separation is perhaps best conveyed by the homicide statistics. One study revealed that half of the female homicide cases in that year were committed by their ex-partner or spouse, after separation or divorce.[69] Another in Philadelphia found that a quarter of the women murdered by their abuser were killed after separation. Several women have also been killed whilst attempting to ‘leave’.[70] Sadly, a recent tragedy in New Zealand brought home the risks associated with leaving a violent relationship for women and children in this country. In 1994, three children were murdered by a batterer/father as he exercised his custody rights: rights which their mother had strongly contested in what was a long, losing and in hindsight, tragic custody battle.

In light of the seriousness of separation violence and the obvious danger that surrounds the dissolution process for women and children, it is imperative that we understand how contesting custody and gaining access privileges, can provide batterers the opportunity to continue to exercise, either in a directly abusive or more subtly intimidating way, ‘control’ over ‘their’ family. Several overseas studies document this potential. In Canada, Leighton[71] found that as many as a quarter of women involved in custody proceedings received explicit threats against their lives during custody visitations. Similarly Shepard[72] reported that sixty percent of the women in her study were subject to ongoing psychological abuse in the form of threats; these threats however, usually involved, or centred around the children.

Children it would seem, not only provide batterers with the opportunity for ongoing contact with their mothers’ recent evidence indicates that the children themselves may become both the source, and in some instances the target, of the batterers ongoing exploitation. Walker and Edwall[73] found that abusive men could successfully continue to harass their ex-partners and spouses by returning children late, demanding to see the children at unscheduled times, making unscheduled visits, and removing children from the home without legal authority to do so. Perhaps the most extreme example of such custodial interference is that relating to the abduction of children. It is worth noting that over half of all reported child abductions in the United States occurred within the context of woman abuse.[74]

Many children then are indirectly, but unmistakably, drawn into the conflict. Unfortunately a woman’s efforts to free herself and her children from violence, may be meet with a stronger likelihood of the children becoming more focal in the conflict than ever, as their ex-partners or spouses, consciously or not, attempt to undermine, manipulate and control her actions through her concern for the children.[75] The nature of the impact of these experiences on children has yet to be explored, but the extent of their involvement, the stress, and the lack of security associated with the presence of such an ongoing threat, would undoubtedly jeopardise, or place unwanted strain upon their development and adjustment.[76] These studies clearly highlight the danger the surrounds separation and access. In so doing, they raise some serious concerns: concerns regarding the comprehensiveness of legal protection accorded to women and children throughout the dissolution process; concerns regarding the appropriateness of legal decisions which may directly or indirectly compromise this precarious safety; and concerns regarding the potential deployment of custody as a battering tool.


The provisions of the 1995 Guardianship Amendment Act are designed to prioritise the safety of the child by mitigating against the risk of further violence by the batterer-father. The implications of our knowledge of these children’s experiences and the rationale behind the legal prioritisation of the safety of children of battered women in custody and access decisions will only be discussed briefly as detailed discussions of this issue are available elsewhere. The following discussion centres around contentions we believe establish a firm basis or rationale for supervised access in the context of domestic violence.

Clearly the collective wisdom that both parents are fundamentally equal in the investment they have in promoting their child’s wellbeing, and in the decision making power they have with regard to children in a co-operative joint custody arrangement is rendered meaningless when one parent uses violence to ensure the compliance of the other, and in so doing, jeopardises the physical and emotional wellbeing of their children in the process.[77] Joint custody, and/or ‘friendly parent’ presumptions are not just untenable, they effectively undercut the safety and autonomy battered women seek, both for themselves and their children, when they leave an abusive relationship.[78]

Effectively, the Guardianship Amendment Act provisions offer safeguards for women and children from ongoing violence and harassment. We now know that perpetrators of domestic violence contest physical custody of children more often than non-abusive men, and that their requests for custody are often an attempt to continue to exercise, either in a directly abusive, or more subtly intimidating way, control over their partners.[79] As a society and as professionals, we need to ensure that in the context of domestic violence, the safety of children of battered women is not compromised by a shift in focus to the rights of battering men as parents. The guise of the batterer as a reasonable man/father is no longer tenable, and there are real grounds both legally and psychologically speaking to address requests on the part of battered women to limit and monitor the role of the abusive party in her and her children’s lives. Circumstances specific to the abuse of women demand a carefully planned, considered, and cautious approach. The higher the number of precautions, the less the risk that children will have to witness the continuation, and often escalation of violence.

Our third contention concerns the centrality and significance of women’s wellbeing in their children’s development and adjustment.[80] A rapidly growing body of evidence now exists which indicates that the ‘best interests’ of children of battered women are uniquely tied to the wellbeing of their mothers. Jaffe and Austin[81] reported that children whose mothers had been protected by legal sanctions from ongoing violence evidenced a considerable degree of recovery. Conversely Shepard[82] found that the psychological abuse of mothers during access visits was significantly correlated with children’s adjustment problems. Clearly, legal efforts to protect and support the ‘psychological parenthood’ of battered women are paramount. Instances of severe, clearly defined maternal maltreatment withstanding, what is in the ‘best interests’ of battered women will almost certainly be in the ‘best interests’ of their children.

Of course last but not least is the contention that the rights and wellbeing of children of battered women have been undermined and threatened in such a way that safeguards and protective measures are necessary.[83] These children, as we have seen, are highly vulnerable to both physical and psychological abuse.[84] This knowledge, coupled with evidence which indicates that the risk of child abuse increases with the advent of divorce[85] and that children at this time are likely to become more focal in the conflict and hence more vulnerable to coercion and manipulation[86] indicates that these children’s physical and psychological safety is extremely precarious in the access context.


Prioritising children’s safety through supervised access will go a long way towards facilitating the physical safety of children.[87] In this respect the benefits to children are immediately apparent. However children may also benefit in other ways from the legal parameters that regulate their relationships with their fathers. Access to fathers may in some circumstances help children adjust more quickly to their situation, especially when one considers how in the advent of violence, children’s separation from both their fathers’ and their homes’ is often abrupt and dramatic. Children may also experience a degree of security and control they have never known in their relationships with their fathers, and there is a good chance that the time they now spend with their fathers will better directed towards meeting their relational needs. There is of course also the significance of the message: that their fathers’ behaviour is negatively sanctioned by the legal system. In this way children’s own feelings regarding their responsibility for, or their role in, the violence will be directly challenged.

For the new legislation to really work in the ‘best interests’ of children will require more than a legal commitment to upholding these interests. It will require recognition of both the practical and psychological needs that will as a matter of course, arise from children’s new found situation. From a practical perspective, the dangers inherent in child custody and access within the context of domestic violence will require ongoing court supervision of access arrangements, as well as the implementation and co-ordination of services and safe locations for access exchanges. From a psychological perspective, parenting education and support groups for parents and children will be needed. Supervised access provisions will raise several issues for children. Children will need ongoing assistance in learning how to come to terms with the past, and adjust to their current situation. Essentially supervised access represents a difficult struggle to ensure children’s safety, while at the same time, addressing in as full a manner as possible, children’s needs, wishes and concerns.


While prioritising children’s safety through supervised access will go a long way towards facilitating the ‘physical’ safety of children, questions remain regarding the extent to which legal stipulations have adequately addressed the ‘psychological’ safety of children. Unfortunately, verbal abuse, intimidation, harassment, and manipulation, all of which constitute psychological abuse, are not sufficient to invoke the safety presumption of Subsection 16B.[88] Given these constraints, supervised access arguably does not, in and of itself, guarantee or ensure children’s safety. Indeed the diverse array of abusive behaviours battering men employ in the course of their relations with their partners could very well extend to and continue to play a part in battering men’s relations with their children. Clearly, due consideration has in this instance, not been given to the dynamics of family violence, the interconnected nature of various abusive behaviours, their functions, or their consequences.[89] The potential for children’s psychological safety to be undermined within the access context will need to be closely monitored if children are to be extended the kind of comprehensive protection the recent amendments to the Guardianship Act (1968) sought to ensure.


Circumstances specific to the abuse of women demand a carefully planned, considered and cautious approach. Such an approach requires more from the social service and legal communities than a knowledge of the threat posed to women and children both during and after the dissolution process and an understanding that mediation and joint custody are inappropriate in the given circumstances. What it requires is that this knowledge and these considerations are reflected, and evident in every decision that is made pertaining to custody and the conditions of access, that the safeguards required to achieve this are firmly in place, and that these checks extend beyond the decision making process to ensure that the custodial arrangement continues to work ‘in the best interests’ of the children involved. Providing the protection accorded to battered women and their children is comprehensive enough, these legal stipulations should go some way towards protecting children from being used as pawns in on-going abuse scenarios by batterers whilst ensuring that women and children are safe from the threat of further violence. The success of this new legislation will be conditional in part, on the ability of the legal and social service communities to continue to review and evaluate the ‘legal process’ in relation to the health and safety needs of women and their children, the development and implementation of specialised services and procedures (eg. screening protocols, demonstration projects, supervised access centres), and on the strength of our political and social commitment to protecting and upholding the ‘best interests’ of children.

[*] MA(Hons) (Auckland), Research Officer, Department of Psychology, University of Auckland.

** PhD (Otago), Lecturer in Social Psychology, University of Auckland

[1] National Collective of Independent Refuges Inc. Submission to the Family Court(Unpublished Paper, 1991).

[2] Maxwell, Children and Family Violence. The Unnoticed Victims, Report for the Office of the Commissioner for Children (1994).

[3] Arroyo and Eth, “Assessment following violence witnessing trauma” in Peled, E (ed)Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Women(1995). See also Eth, S and Pynoos, R, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders in Children(1985).

[4] Hilberman and Munson, “Sixty battered women” [1978] 2 Victimology 460.

[5] Hughes, “Psychological and Behavioral Correlates of Family Violence in Child Witnesses and Victims” (1988) 58 American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 77.

[6] Jaffe, Wolfe, Wilson and Zak, “Similarities in Behavioural and Social Maladjustment Among Child Victims and Witnesses to Family Violence” (1986) 56 American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 142.

[7] “Spousal Violence and Children’s Social Competence” (1986) 56 American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 255.

[8] “The Child Witness to Marital Violence” in Ammerman, R and Herson, M (eds),Treatments of Family Violence: A Sourcebook. (1989).

[9] Pocock, T and Cram, F Children of Battered Women: The Forgotten Victims of Domestic Violence (Unpublished Masters Thesis, University of Auckland, 1994).

[10] Dubow and Ulman, “Assessing Social Support in Elementary School Children: The Survey of Children’s Social Support” (1989) 18 Journal of Clinical Child Psychology 52.

[11]Rosenberg and Rossman, supra n. 8.

[12] Sarason, Pierce, Shearin, Sarason, and Waltz, “Perceived Social Support and Working Models of Self and Actual Others (1991) 60 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 273.

[13] Parker and Asher, “Peer Relations and Later Personal Adjustment: Are Low Accepted Children at Risk?” (1987) 102 Psychological Bulletin 357.

[14] Widom, “Does Violence Beget Violence? A Critical Examination of the Literature” (1989) 106 Psychological Bulletin 3.

[15] Forstrom-Cohen and Rosenbaum, “The Effects of Parental Marital Violence on Young Adults: an Adult Exploratory Investigation” (1985) 47 Journal of Marriage and the Family 467.

[16] Bandura, A, Aggression: A Social Learning Analysis (1973).

[17] Coercive Family Process (1982).

[18] Kalmuss, “The Intergenerational Transmission of Marital Aggression” (1984) 46 Journal of Marriage and the Family 11..

[19] Jaffe, P, Wolfe, D, and Wilson, S, Children of Battered Women (1990).

[20] Christopolous, Cohn, Shaw, Joyce, Sullivan-Hansen, Kraft, and Emery “Children of Abused Women: Adjustment at Time of Residence” (1987) 49 Journal of Marriage and the Family 611. See also Hertzberger, “Social Cognition and the Transmission of Abuse” in Finkelhor, D (ed), The dark side of families: Current Family Violence Research (1983).

[21] Hertzberger, ibid., 22.

[22] Idem.

[23] Smetana, Kelly and Twentyman “Abused, Neglected and Non-maltreated Children’s Perceptions of Moral and Social Transgressions” (1984) 55 Child Development 277.

[24]Pocock and Cram, supra n. 9, at 10.

[25] Renshaw and Asher, “Children’s Goals and Strategies for Social Interaction” (1983) 29 Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 353.

[26] Parker and Asher, supra n. 13.

[27]Cairns, R, Cairns, B, Neckerman, Gest, and Gairiepy, “Social Networks and Aggressive Behavior: Peer Support or Peer Rejection?” (1988) 24 Developmental Psychology 815.

[28] Goodman and Rosenberg, “The Child Witness to Family Violence: Clinical and Legal Considerations” in Sonkin, D (ed), Domestic Violence on Trial: Psychological and Legal Dimensions of Family Violence (1987).

[29] Davis and Carlson, “Observation of Spouse Abuse: What Happens to the Children?” (1987) 2 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 278.

[30] Fantuzzo and Lindquist, “The Effects of Observing Conjugal Violence on Children: A Review and Analysis of Research Methodology” (1989) 4 Journal of Family Violence 77.

[31] Christopolous, et. al., supra n. 20; Mathias, Mertin, and Murray, “The Psychological Functioning of Children from Backgrounds of Domestic Violence” (1995) 30 Australian Psychologist 124; and also Sternberg, Lamb, Greenbaum and Cicchetti, “Effects of Domestic Violence on Children’s Behaviour Problems and Depression” (1993) 29 Developmental Psychology 44.

[32] Pocock and Cram, supra n. 9, at 10.

[33] “Behaviour Problems in a Population of Seven-Year-Old Children: Prevalence, Stability and Type of Disorder: A Research Report” (1984) 11 Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 65.

[34] Hughes, “Psychological and behavioral correlates of family violence in child witnesses and victims” supra n. 5.

[35] Cicchetti, “How Research on Child Maltreatment Has Informed the Study of Child Development: Perspectives from Developmental Psychopathology” in Cicchetti, D and Carlson, V (eds), Child Maltreatment (1989).

[36] Pocock and Cram, supra n. 9, 9-38.

[37] Ibid., 20.

[38] McDowell, H Emotional Child Abuse and Resiliency: An Aotearoa/New Zealand Study (Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, University of Auckland, 1995).

[39] Ibid., 43.

[40] Pocock, T and Cram, F, Mother-Child Relations in Wife Abusive Homes, Study in progress (1996).

[41] Hart, B, Children of Domestic Violence: Risks and Remedies (Unpublished Paper presented to the Fourth International Conference on Family Violence in Durham, South Carolina, 1995).

[42] Cappell and Heiner, “The Intergenerational Transmission of Family Aggression” (1990) 5 Journal of Family Violence 132.

[43] Bowker, Arbitell and McFerron, “On the Relationship between Wife Beating and Child Abuse” in Yllo, K and Bograd, M (eds), Feminist Perspectives on Wife Abuse(1988). See also Stark and Flitcraft, “Woman-Battering, Child Abuse and Social Heredity: What is the Relationship in Marital Violence?” in Johnson, N (ed), Sociological Review Monograph: No. 31 (1988), 147.

[44] Edleson, J and Schecter, S, Model Initiatives Linking Domestic Violence and Child Welfare (Briefing paper presented at the conference on Domestic Violence and Child Welfare: Integrating Policy and Practice for Families in Racine, Wisconsin, June 8-10, 1994).

[45] Hughes, supra at n.5.

[46] Hamilton Abuse Intervention Pilot Project (HAIPP): A Two Year Review , Report No. 5 (1994).

[47] Roy, M Children in the Crossfire: Violence in the Home: How does it Affect our Children? (1988).

[48] Stark and Flitcraft, supra n. 43.

[49] Stacey, W and Shupe, A,The Family Secret: Domestic Violence in America (1983).

[50] Stark and Flitcraft, supra n. 43.

[51] Stauss, “Ordinary Violence, Child Abuse and Wife Beating: What do They have in Common?” in Finkelhor, D (ed), supra n 20.

[52] Stark and Flitcraft, supra n. 43.

[53] Ibid. See also Pocock and Cram, supra n. 40.

[54] Stark and Flitcraft, supra n. 43.

[55] Davis, “Failure to Protect and Its Impact on Battered Mothers” (1995) 1 Courts and Communities: Confronting violence in the family 6-7.

[56] Bullock and McFarlane, “A Programme to Prevent Battering of Pregnant Women” (1988) 11 Response to the Victimisation of Women and Children 18.

[57] Emery, “Interparental Conflict and the Children of Discord and Divorce” (1982) 92 Psychological Bulletin 310.

[58] Jouriles, Barling and O’Leary, “Predicting Child Behaviour Problems in Maritally Violent Families” (1987) 15 Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 165.

[59] Zussman, “Situational Determinants of Parental Behaviour: Effects of Competing Cognitive Activity” (1980) 51 Child Development 792.

[60] Jouriles, Murphy and O’Leary, “Interspousal Aggression, Marital Discord and Child Problems (1989) 57 Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 453.

[61]Stacey and Shupe, supra n. 49.

[62] Wolfe, Jaffe, Wilson and Zak, “Children of Battered Women: The Relation between Child Behaviour, Family Violence, and Maternal Stress” (1985) 53 Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 657.

[63] “Linking Extreme Marital Discord, Child Rearing, and Child Behaviour Problems: Evidence from battered women” (1991) 62 Child Development 311.

[64] Wallerstein, J, and Blakeslee, S, Second Chances (1989).

[65] Pocock and Cram, supra n. 40.

[66]Bowker et. al., supra n. 43.

[67] Preventing Domestic Violence against Women, Bureau of Justice Statistics Reports (1986).

[68] Supra n. 43.

[69] Bernard, Vera, H, Vera, M, and Newman, “Till Death Do Us Part: A Study of Spouse Murder” (1982) 10 Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry & the Law 271.

[70] Caazenave, N and Zahn, M Women, Murder and Male Domination: Police Reports of Domestic Homicide in Chicago and Philadelphia (Unpublished Paper presented at the American Society of Criminology Conference, Atlanta, 1986).

[71] Leighton, B, Spousal Abuse in Metropolitan Toronto: Research Report on the Response of the Criminal Justice System, Report No. 1989-02 (1989).

[72] “Child Visiting and Domestic Abuse” (1992) 71 Child Welfare League of America 357.

[73] “Domestic Violence and Determination of Visitation and Custody in Divorce” in Sonkin, D (ed), supra n. 28.

[74] Grief, G and Hegar, R, When Parents Kidnap (1992).

[75]Bowker, et. al., supra n. 43.

[76] Jaffe, Wolfe, and Wilson, supra n. 19.

[77] Geffener and Pagelow, “Meditation and Child Custody Issues in Abusive Relationships” (1990) 8 Behavioral Sciences and the Law 115.

[78] Shepard, supra n. 72.

[79] Geffner and Pagelow, supra n. 77.

[80] Wallerstein and Blakeslee, supra n. 64.

[81] Jaffe, P and Austin, G, The Impact of Witnessing Violence on Children in Custody and Visitation Disputes (Unpublished Paper presented at the 4th International Conference on Family Violence, New Hampshire, 1995).

[82] Supra n.72.

[83] Klosinski, “Psychological Maltreatment in the Context of Separation and Divorce” (1993) 17 Child Abuse and Neglect 557.

[84] McDowell, supra n. 38. See also Stark and Flitcraft, supra n. 43.

[85] Finkelhor, supra n. 20.

[86] Walker and Edwall, supra n. 73.

[87] Busch, Safeguarding the Welfare of Children, (1995) 4 Butterworths Mental Health & the Law Bulletin 46.

[88] Ibid.

[89]Hart, supra n. 41.


In Uncategorized on February 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm


Batterer Manipulation and Retaliation Denial and Complicity In the Family Courts

by Joan Zorza, Esq

Family Courts Excuse Male Misbehavior, But Blame Women

Most family and divorce (hereinafter, “family”) court judges insist that people going through custody and divorce cases are good people, but that they often behave very badly because they are so stressed out by the pressures of the separation and court dispute. 1 The reality, as Massachusetts has found, is that nothing could be further from the truth for the men who abuse their female intimate partners and children (called either “abusers” or “batterers”).

Massachusetts, which has since 1978 allowed its criminal court judges to issue restraining orders against abusers, and which now requires all judges–even the family ones, to consult offender probation records whenever a petition for protection in an abuse case is filed, keeps very careful records which it periodically analyses.  It has found that almost 80% of the male abusers have criminal records,2  46% for violent offenses, and 39% have prior restraining orders entered against them and 15% for violating of those orders within the first 6 months.  The men with prior orders are almost equally divided between those who have repeatedly abused one victim and those who have abusing multiple victims.3 Massachusetts also was the first state in the county to create a statewide registry for orders of protection, and it also enters orders of protection onto the defendants’ probation records, so that judges automatically become aware of the defendants’ prior record, even his juvenile one or cases which were later continued without any finding.  This is not to say that all abusive men have records or are abnormal,4  or that no female partners of abusers ever have records.  However, abusive men, although they tend to be considerably older, better educated and are more likely to be white than other criminals, and hence to have been given far more breaks in the criminal justice system, are simply not the stressed out good guys as the family courts assume.  Men who abuse do so as a matter of choice, as a way to assert power and control over their female partners, punish them, to be sexually aroused, or less often because they enjoy causing pain.5

In contrast, although the family courts assign at least equal blame to the men’s victims, the victims are generally no different than other women, except for having been abused and suffering the effects of that abuse. Prior to being abused, battered women are no different from other women.6 It is the effects of the abuse makes them frightened and show other effects, often making them appear less credible as witnesses.7 Courts, police and prosecutors often refuse to help battered women and discourage them from pursuing cases, but then blame them for dropping their cases.  In fact, battered women are no more likely to drop cases than are other victims of violent crimes who are being threatened by their abusers.  What is different is that most violent criminals never reassault or even contact their victims, but the average battered woman is beaten up three times by her batterer during the pendency of a criminal domestic violence case.8 All victims threatened with further assault want to drop their cases; battered women are actually more willing than other threatened victims to pursue their cases.9

Batterers are believed in blaming victims.

Men who batter are not only adept at minimizing and denying their own abusive behaviors and their responsibility for it,  they are also adept at blaming circumstances or their victims, thereby shifting responsibility and projecting their own behavior onto their victims.10 Yet while alcohol,11 poverty, and other circumstances may aggravate a situation, they do not cause violence, as most people in such circumstances do not abuse.  Similarly, victims are not to blame for the violence. Unfortunately, abusive men have been very successful in convincing courts and juries that their own behavior is their female victims’ fault, or that their partners provoked them, or wanted the abuse, or that bad circumstances caused the abuse.

Mental health experts lack expertise in family violence.

Complicating the problem is that the courts often rely on mental health experts to evaluate the parties, yet overwhelmingly those experts have never received adequate training in domestic violence or child sexual abuse; indeed, their professional schools seldom teach the subjects and 40% of those working in mental health fields in the U.S. admit they have never received any training about intimate partner violence and even fewer received training about child sexual abuse.12 The content of what little training exists in schools in continuing education programs is often questionable or outright misleading, or so short (one hour is not that uncommon over the course of a career)13 that is clearly inadequate.  Guardians ad litem, who are supposed to represent the children’s best interests to the court, generally lack training in any aspects of family violence or even child development.14  Only 10% of custody evaluators know enough about incest to not be dangerous in these cases.15 Without the training and sensitivity to abuse issues, few therapists and custody evaluators even screen for it or follow up when told about it. 16 When they do follow up, batterers are adept at manipulating mental health professionals, appearing very together and, if he admits the abuse, contrite and regretful, justifying his abuse or making it appear part of a substance abuse or depression problem or caused by his partner.17 All this convinces the professional that the abuse was an aberration that will be controlled in the future, although this is most unlikely.18 Mental health evaluators and guardians ad litem, having been trained in a system that blames mothers for most problems that people have,19 are particularly vulnerable to being persuaded by fathers who deny their abuse and blame their partners, with the result being that they discredit the mother’s accusations and fears, and recommend that custody to go to fathers, even when the men are abusive.  The result is that domestic violence is seldom considered in the vast majority of  child custody determinations,20 particularly when there are allegations of physical or sexual abuse against a child.21 This is an amazing omission, given that at least 47 states and the District of Columbia require courts to consider domestic violence when making child custody determinations. (The three states which do not are Connecticut, Mississippi and Utah.)22

Judges, like mental health professionals, make the gender biased and inaccurate assumption that most domestic violence or child abuse accusations made in custody cases are falsely made for tactical gain, so take these cases far less seriously than they should.23 In fact, incest allegations are only made in 2-3% of custody cases, and mothers make few false accusations either of domestic violence24  or of child sexual abuse.25 Although no psychological test can definitively prove that someone has battered or sexually abused someone,26 many family courts require women to conclusively prove the abuse–a virtually impossible burden–or they refuse to believe that any abuse happened.

Furthermore, because most assessment tools used in custody evaluations were never developed to take into account the effects of domestic violence on victims, the tools distort the results to incorrectly show that most frightened victims are paranoid or have other psychiatric disorders, such as major depression, paranoid schizophrenia, dependent personality disorder, or borderline personality disorder,27diagnoses that will hurt her in any custody fight.28 Without experts able to refute the faulty diagnoses (and few battered women have the money to pay for such experts, even if any are available who are willing to criticize their colleagues), battered women and mothers of children who have been abused risk being assessed as incompetent mothers, and so lose custody.  Despite myths put out by fathers that mothers always win custody cases, fathers actually win custody in 70% of custody disputes,29 and this is true even though most men who abuse women and children are far more likely than other fathers to fight for custody and engage in prolonged litigation.30

Batterers Retaliate

Batterers do not only manipulate mental health professionals.  When batterers feel that their authority is being threatened, they escalate their violent and terroristic tactics, often threatening to kill or seriously injure their victims,31 their families, children or loved ones,32 and even themselves.33 After separation they often carry out these threats, hurting their partners 14 times as often after separation as when they were together.34 Most of these men also rape their female partners, and these rapes are more brutal than stranger rapes, and 10% of the rapes occur in from of the children.35 Batterers retaliate in many other ways as well, often being extremely imaginative and unpredictable.  They are notorious in fighting for custody,36 even though most of them never paid much attention to the children while then they were together with the children’s mother.37 Most batterers seek the children knowing that depriving the mother of custody is the best way to punish and hurt her.38 Batterers, who are notoriously poor at paying child support,39 also know that winning custody not only absolves them from having to pay child support, it may obligate the mothers to pay them child support, which they see as another way to hurt the women.

Batterers also retaliate by threatening their former partners and her children during visitation, or by shifting their abuse onto the children. It is quite common for batterers to begin abusing the child physically or sexually after the separation, or for such abuse to escalate, just as their violence tends to escalate after separation against their former partners.40 Many threaten to and actually abduct the children,41 and these abductions are as harmful to the children as when strangers kidnap them.42

Even when batterers have custody, they often refuse to make let the mothers to see their children.  The same courts that are outraged when a mother fails to make the children available to the father seldom punish a father who denies visitation to the mother.

Some of these problems exist because of gender bias of individual judges, but other problems exist because the legislature has enacted laws that favor men.  While most states (Washington State is the exception) encourage courts to consider in granting custody which parent will encourage a better relationship and frequent contact between the children and the other parent, courts consider only behaviors that mothers are more likely to do under this criteria, leaving out behaviors that men primarily do.  Thus failing to pay spousal or child support, or failing when one could do so to legitimate the other parent’s immigration status are not seen as hurtful.  Yet what could be more harmful to a relationship with the children than depriving the other parent of adequate support or even the right to remain in the U.S.  Indeed, changing custody because a parent has not paid child support is illegal in most states, yet custody is changed all the time when mothers do not give father access to their children.

Another way that some men retaliate is by having their parents join in the fight for custody or visitation (of course, some grandparents, often the ones from whom their son learned to be abusive in the first place, do this spontaneously).  Fortunately, this was made much harder by Troxel v. Granville43,  the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision which struck down Washington State’s grandparent visitation statute that permitted visitation against the wishes of the parents.  Both batterers and paternal grandparents and batterers also often file false or trumped up charges against their daughters-in-law or sons’ girlfriends to get them in trouble and discredit them, most often with child protection agencies, but also alleging welfare or immigration fraud or criminal activity, but also in court.44

Another reason that courts have not been quicker to catch on about men’s projecting their own behaviors onto their victims45 and vindictiveness against their former female partners is that while they speak very negatively about their former partners, they generally speak very positively about their current ones.46 This is typical of men, but few courts or mental health practitioners are aware of it, and are fooled into thinking the men must be  objective, and thus what they say about their former partners must be accurate.  Yet once the men break up with their current partners they will start publicly devaluing.

Some courts are wising up to men’s retaliatory tactics, because many involve abusing the courts. Many abusers learn that cross or counterclaims often cancel out their victims; prior claims, and that filing contempts shifts the focus to their victims.47 Most batterers know they can bring criminal and contempt charges at no expense to the abusers, but they take an enormous financial and emotional cost on their victims.  The result is that many abusive men drag on the litigation and file spurious claims openly acknowledging they are trying to drive their victims onto welfare or into homelessness; half of all homeless women and children in the U.S. are homeless because of domestic violence.48 Occasionally it is only when the abuser accuses the judge or other court players of impropriety or attacks them or those helping their partners, such as shelter workers,49 that the court catches on to their tactics. Unfortunately, some judges (and other court players, including mental health experts) become too frightened50 or vicariously traumatized51 to act sufficiently to believe or act to protect battered women. However, most abusers are far too savvy to make such accusations, attacking only their former partners.

When courts blame victims and fail to hold abusers accountable, they reinforce abuser behavior, subvert justice, disempower the victims, teach children that abusive behavior is permissible and may even be rewarded, and reinforce the cycle of violence.

1.    ABA Center on Children and the Law & State Justice Institute, A Judge’s Guide: Making Child-Centered Decisions in Custody Cases, 4 (Chicago, IL: ABA,  2001).

2.    James Ptacek, Battered Women in the Courtroom: The Power of Judicial Responses, 89 (Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 1999).

3.    Donald Cochran, Sandra Adams & Patrice O’Brien, From Chaps to Clarity in Understanding Domestic Violence, 3 Domestic Violence Report 65, 77-78 (1998). ).

4.    American Psychological Association , Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family, 37 (Washington, DC: Author, 1996). [Hereinafter, APA.] ).

5.    Evan Stark & Anne H. Flitcraft, Spouse Abuse. In Violence in America: A Public Health Approach, 123, 132-33 (Mark L. Rosenberg & Mary Ann Fenley, eds., New York: Oxford Press, 1991); Ola W.  Barnett & Alyce D. LaViolette, It Could Happen to Anyone, 63 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1993). ).

6.   Stark & Flitcraft, supra note 6, at 140-44. ).

7.    Id., at 134. ).

8.    Joan Zorza, Battered Women Behave Like Other Threatened Victims, 1(6) Domestic Violence Report 5 (August/September 1996). ).

9.    APA, supra note 4, at 37. ).

10.   Id., at 81-82. ).

11.   Barnett & LaViolette, supra note 5, at 77. ).

12.   Felicia Cohn, Marla E. Salmon, & John D. Stobo, Confronting Chronic Neglect: The Education and Training of Health Professionals on Family Violence, 3-5 to 3-8 and 4-5 (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001). ).

13.   Id., entire book; APA, supra note 3, at 13. ).

14.   APA, supra note 4, at 102. ).

15 .  John E.B. Myers, A Mother’s Nightmare  Incest: A Practical Guide for Parents and Professional, 104 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1997). ).

16.   Edward W. Gondolf & Ellen W. Fisher, Battered Women as Survivors, 133-34 (New York: MacMillan, 1998). ).

17.   Id, at 132. ).

18.   Id., at 81. ).

19.   Barnett & LaViolette, supra note 5, at 9-10. ).

20   Joan Zorza, Domestic Violence Seldom Considered in Psychologists’ Custody Recommendations, 2 Domestic Violence Report, 65 and 68 (1997).

21.   Myers, supra note 15.  Mothers of abused children are themselves blamed for the abuse and traumatized by it and other’s reactions. See, e.g., Betty Joyce Carter, Who’s to Blame? Child Sexual Abuse and Non-Offending Mothers, 188 (Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press, 1999). ).

22.   Linda D. Elrod & Robert G. Spector, A Review of the Year in Family Law: Redefining Families, Reforming Custody Jurisdiction, and Refining Support Issues, 34 Family Law Quarterly 607, 652 Chart 2 (2001).).

23.   A Typical Week of Restraining Orders in Massachusetts,1(4) Domestic Violence Report 3, 4 (April/May 1996). ).

24.  APA, supra note 4, at 12. ).

25.  Id.

26.   Myers, supra note 15, at 46-48.

27.   Edward W. Gondolf, Addressing Woman Battering in Mental Health Services, 81 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1989). ).

28.   Barnett & LaViolette, supra note 5, at 74; Gondolf, supra, note 16, at 81. ).

29.   Ruth I. Abrams & John M. Greaney, Report of the Gender Bias Study of the Supreme Judicial Court [of Massachusetts],  62-63 (1989), also citing similar findings from California and the entire nation. ).

30.   APA, supra note 4, at 40. ).

31.   David Adams, Identifying, Assaultive Husbands in Court: You Be the Judge, 33 Boston Bar Jounal, 23-24 (July/August, 1989). ).

32.   Id.; Barnett & LaViolette, supra note 5, at 50.

33.  Donald Dutton & Susan K. Golant, The Batterers: A Psychological Profile, 49 (New York: BasicBooks, 1995). ).

34.   Caroline Wolf Harlow, Female Victims of Violent Crime, 5, Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Statistics, NCJ-126826 (January 1991). ).

35.   Ptacek, supra note 2, at 74; Lenore E. Walker, The Battered Woman Syndrome, 48 (New York: Springer Publishing Co., 1984); Jacquelyn Campbell, Community Nursing Department, Wayne State University College of Nursing, Nursing Assessment for Risk of Homicide with Battered Women (1986). ).

36.   Barnett & LaViolette, supra, note 5, at 50; APA, supra note 4, at 100; Marsha .B. Liss & Geraldine Butts Stahly, Domestic Violence and Child Custody, in Battering and Family Therapy: A Feminist Perspective, 175, 179 & 181 (Marsali Hansen & Michèle Harway, eds., Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1993) ).

37.   Catherine Kirkwood, Leaving Abusive Partners, 54-55 (1993); Einat Peled & Duane Davis, Groupwork with Children of Battered Women: A Practitioners’ Manual, 8 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1995). ).

38.   Liss & Stahly, supra note 36, at 179. ).

39.   Id., at 181; Mildred Daley Pagelow, Family Violence, 311 (1984). ).

40.   Harlow, supra note 35. ).

41.   Geoffrey L. Grief & Rebecca L. Hager, When Parents Kidnap 4 (1992). ).

42.   Id., at 205-206. ).

43.   530 U.S. 57 (2000). ).

44.   Zorza, supra note 21, at 68 & 75. ).

45.   Dutton & Golant, supra note 34, at 105. ).

46.   David Schuldenberg & Shan Guisinger, Divorced Fathers Describe Their Former Wives: Devaluation and Contrast, Women and Divorce/Men in Divorce: Gender Differences. In Separation, Divorce and Remarriage, 61-87 (Haworth Press, 1991). ).

47.   Jeffrey L. Edleson & Richard M. Tolman, Intervention for Men Who Batter: An Ecological Approach, 31 & 34 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1992). ).

48.   Joan Zorza, Woman Battering: A Major Source of Homelessness, 25 Clearinghouse Review, 421 (!991). ).

49.   Ptacek, supra note 2, at 63. ).

50.   Id. ).

51.   Joan Zorza, Why Courts Are Reluctant to Believe and Respond to Allegations of Incest. In The Sex Offender: Theoretical Advances, Treating Special Populations and Legal Developments, Vol. III, 33-8 (Barbara K. Schwartz, Ed., Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute, 1999).

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Fundamental review of the family justice system announced

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Fundamental review of the family justice system announced

20 January 2010


An expert panel will examine reform of the current family justice system in England and Wales so that it better supports children and parents under a wide-ranging review announced by the Ministry of Justice today.

The review will look at the best methods for avoiding confrontational court hearings, and encouraging the use of mediation to deliver fairer and less acrimonious settlements that place the needs and interests of children at the heart of the system.

The announcement today is part of the cross-government Families and Relationships Green Paper, published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, which looks at how to reduce conflict when relationships break down as part of wider government support for the family. The paper also contains proposals which would make it compulsory for privately-funded clients of the family justice system to consider using mediation before having child access disputes are heard in court – bringing it into line with the current system covering families represented by legal aid.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said:

‘We know that for many families the current family justice system is proving far too complicated, and its adversarial nature can lead to bitter, lengthy court hearings, prolonging what is already a stressful and emotionally draining experience.

‘While the vast majority of separating parents settle their disputes privately, for those who do need to access to the system we need to find a better, fairer way to forge lasting agreements for the care of children. Research shows that children adjust to family breakdown better when a couple manages to maintain working relations following a separation – the review is about making sure the justice system helps parents to achieve this.’

The government will also continue its work on ensuring people involved in family proceedings know about the availability and benefits of mediation, through providing online information on mediation and exploring ways to reach families with the information they need before their case comes to court. It will also work with the Family Mediation Council to build on existing accreditation schemes for mediators.

Additionally we are asking for peoples’ views on whether making family mediation assessment sessions compulsory for privately-funded court users, bringing them into a similar regime as legally aided court users, will increase awareness and take up of family mediation.

A Review Panel, made up of independent and government representatives, will be appointed in the coming weeks, and will consider wider perspectives from a range of people involved in or experiencing the family justice system and will include possible calls for evidence, focus groups and formal consultation as part of its work.

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families said:

‘Children are often caught up in the middle when parents decide to separate and this can have a devastating impact on their lives and their future relationships. Whilst family relationships are very private matters, there is a role for government to help families find ways to resolve conflict faster in order to limit the negative impact on children’s wellbeing.

‘The majority of parents have their children’s best interests at heart and are committed to making the separation process as easy as possible for their family. However, this is a difficult time and that many separating parents struggle to establish contact agreements, to communicate effectively with one another and to continue to parent cooperatively. That is why we are giving parents better information about mediation earlier on in the separation process so that we can help families, especially children, through this difficult time.’

Family Justice Review terms of reference

Notes to editors

  1. For more information, please contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3536.
  2. For more information on the wider Green Paper on Families and Relationships please call the DCSF Press office on 020 7340 8188.

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In Uncategorized on February 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm


Family Court Corruption, Part 2: Fathers’ Rights and Conciliation Court Law: Federally funded misogyny and pedophile protection  by Cindy Ross ©

Numerous reports have identified bias against women and corruption in family courts across the country. In bizarre and illegal rulings, family court judges ignore or deliberately suppress evidence of male perpetrated family violence and child molest. Fathers who are batterers and sex offenders are routinely granted visitation and custody, while mothers and children trying to escape abuse are punished through financial sanctions, loss of custody,  supervised visitation, jail and institutionalization. [1]

Very occasionally, men reporting abuse of their children have also been targeted for retaliation through family court. [2] However, the systematic mishandling of domestic violence and child molest cases as “custody disputes”  is based in a financial corruption scheme that calls for diverting grant program funding through “high conflict” cases, in the guise of promoting “fatherhood” and “shared parenting” post-divorce. [3]

Rather than assisting men become responsible parents, “Responsible Fatherhood”, “Access to Visitation Enforcement” (supervised visitation for noncustodial parents), “Child Support Enforcement” and similar federal programs perpetuate abuse of women and children through the legal system. [4] Abusive men striving to maintain control over their victims are provided an array of benefits, not only to get custody and get out of paying child support, but to terrorize the mothers of their children and society in general. [5] Government programs are not producing responsible fathers, but motherless children, in order to advance the agenda of the so-called “fathers’ rights” movement.

“Fathers’ rights” as a political agenda, has nothing to do with actual parenting rights or responsibilities. Fathers’ rights organizations are misogynist anarchy and militia groups that define fatherhood in terms of male ownership of children in male-headed households. In order to maintain control over “families”, fathers’ groups promote violence, advocating the use of “domestic discipline”. [6] Their membership is comprised of virulent men “fighting feminism” and affirmative action, establishing “patriarchy under God” and even trying to repeal the 19th Amendment. [7]

There are women affiliated with fatherhood groups, primarily second wives who support their husbands in denying ex-wives and biological mothers the right to parent their own children. Identifying themselves as “independent feminists”, they also join sociopathic men in fighting obscenity laws and identifying sex and access to pornography as primary fathers’ “rights”. [8]

Fathers’ rights groups have devised strategies that normalize deviant male behavior, while pathologizing normal motherhood. When mothers report domestic violence or child sexual abuse, their complaints are dismissed as a matter of  “radical feminists” making malicious and false allegations to turn children against fathers. “False allegations” is the primary tactic used to provide assistance with litigation against women trying to maintain custody of their children in divorces from abusive men. [9]

Criminalizing mothers’ attempts to protect their children, legalizing corporal punishment and normalizing father-child sex, are all necessary in order to legitimize court rulings granting pedophiles, batterers and other abusive men visitation rights and custody of children. In family court, this is accomplished through the “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS) legal strategy. [10]

PAS is a fabricated mental disorder, originally coined by Dr. Richard Gardner as a legal defense of child molesters. PAS calls for covering up evidence of abuse by shifting blame to mothers. PAS was crafted into the means for any man to get custody — no matter how violent or unfit — through the “umbrella” fathers’ rights organization, the Children’s Rights Council (CRC, formerly called National Council for Children’s Rights). [11] CRC is cross-affiliated with the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). [12]

While CRC claims to promote “shared parenting” and AFCC represents itself as “an association of family, court and community professionals” dedicated to the “constructive resolution of family disputes”, these groups conceal their role in a perverse fathers’ rights pedophile “ring” operating through family court. Richard Gardner is only one of numerous “experts” connected to CRC/AFCC, who not only promote pedophilia, but seek to destroy children’s relationships with their mothers in the name of fatherhood. [13]

Steering cases to AFCC court allies, CRC (and other fathers’ group) members get their cases “fixed” using PAS methodology. CRC devised custody switching programs are used to procure federal Access to Visitation Enforcement Program grants for supervised visitation and “Child Access Transfer Centers”. [14] Through these centers, evidence of sexual (and physical) abuse is suppressed and mothers are prevented from having normal contact with their children. Mothers are forced to stop complaining about “sharing” the children, or to give up their children altogether, losing all parental rights.

AFCC was originally established in California as the means to enact Conciliation Court Law (CA Family Codes 1800-1852), an obscure set of codes used to prevent divorce in counties where the court itself deems it necessary to “promote the public welfare by preserving, promoting, and protecting family life and the institution of matrimony”. [15]  While the Conciliation Court identifies children’s rights to “both parents”, it is used only to assist fathers take custody away from mothers and/or to otherwise gain inappropriate or illegal “access” to children.

Enacting Conciliation Court Law gives the family court jurisdiction over domestic violence cases, in violation of appropriate family codes and “child’s best interests” laws. For example, in California, while Family Code §3044 establishes a presumption that sole or joint custody for a parent convicted of domestic violence is not in the best interests of children,  Conciliation Court codes are used not only to assist abusive men get custody, but to help them avoid criminal prosecution. [16] Because blame is shifted to mothers by concealing evidence of paternal crimes against women and children, in the Conciliation Court, victims of abuse (not perpetrators) get convicted in accordance with PAS “threat therapy”. [17]

PAS court-ordered threats include jail terms for mothers and institutionalization of children to convince them that the abuse never occurred, but their mothers are crazy. [18] PAS threats have been linked to the death of at least one child. When forced to “choose” between visiting his violent father in a positive frame of mind, or having his mother jailed for his refusal, Nathan Grieco chose suicide instead. [19]

The Conciliation Court uses PAS methodology to give abusive men the legal upper hand. However, “shared parenting” has become the rallying cry of the fathers’ rights movement, primarily because joint custody also means no child support obligations. When AFCC affiliates assist fathers get custody and get out of paying child support, they instigate frivolous litigation for their own financial gain. They take kickbacks and other improper payments to rig the outcomes of the cases.

Judicial slush funds, such as the “hearts and flowers” fund exposed in Los Angeles Superior Court, are established using fees charged for child custody “training” seminars. [20] Because Conciliation Court codes specify how funding is dispersed to the court itself, huge sums of money are diverted out of federal and state block grants by AFCC affiliates, in the guise of “amicable settlement of domestic and family controversies”. [15] (See Codes 1800-1852).

The National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) was founded in 1994, to “lead a society-wide movement to confront the problem of father absence”, i.e., to embed the fathers’ rights agenda into government policies and programs. [21] In 1995, former President Clinton issued executive orders that directed federal agencies to review and “modify” all family programs and initiatives serving primarily mothers and children, to include fathers and “strengthen their involvement” with children. [22]

President George W. Bush, has appointed NFI founding officials to high level positions in the present Administration; Wade Horn is Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services and Don Eberly is in the White House Office of  Faith Based Initiatives. Under the control of these and other fathers’ rights allies — especially former OCSE Commissioner David Gray Ross (a frequent presenter for CRC) — the federal Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child Support Enforcement has been turned into a men’s custody agency. While publicly touted as “responsible fatherhood programs” official federal documents say the purpose of their programs is to provide noncustodial fathers with free attorneys to litigate for custody. [4]

AFCC affiliated experts who have established federal “model custody” programs using PAS methodology, include Joan Kelly, a founding official of CRC, and Judith Wallerstein of the Center for the Family in Transition. Richard Gardner originally based his PAS theory on Wallerstein’s and Kelly’s research. [23]

Joan Kelly sets up family court services programs and trains judges and “special masters” (mediators with quasi-judicial authority), using Access to Visitation grant funding. She is also connected — primarily through CRC — to Michael Lamb, of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Kelly and Lamb promote materials developed by Richard Gardner (and other pedophiliac experts), in conferences and seminars regarding “parenting time” and “alienation”. [8]

Judith Wallerstein, is an advisor to NFI. According to CA NOW’s “Family Court Report 2002″, in 1986, Wallerstein provided testimony — along with David Levy of CRC — to the House committee on Children, Youth and Families. regarding the “problems of single female parent families”. [24]

Members of Wallerstein’s Center for the Family in Transition and Kelly’s  Northern CA Mediation Center, have “reformulated” PAS as “alienated children”, possibly to distance themselves from Richard Gardner. However, in addition to being connected to some of the most egregious local (Marin County, CA) PAS cases, as the “Northern CA Task Force on the Alienated Child”, their group promotes PAS custody switching methods and “threat therapy” at AFCC conferences around the country and the world. [25]

Wallerstein, Horn, Eberly and others connected to NFI, CRC and AFCC have expanded the Conciliation Court agenda to include not only divorce prevention, but marriage promotion. By merging conciliation court and fathers’ rights agendas with a “faith based” marriage “movement”, they call for even more federal programs promoting “two-parent” families, through “marriage initiatives” funded by TANF/Welfare grants. [26]

In the guise of reducing poverty and promoting child welfare, women are forced to stay married and mothers are punished for seeking divorces. In the guise of amicable custody resolution, federal programs enforce the systematic abuse of women and children. The pretense is that government programs produce responsible fathers and healthy families. The reality is that federally funded misogyny and pedophile protection programs are lining the pockets of corrupted court officials and appointees.

For further information, visit the website of the National Alliance for  Family Court Justice at’>’>”>

Cindy Ross

California Director

National Alliance for Family Court Justice







6.  and

7. and






13. Pedophiliac experts:

a. Richard Gardner:

b. Ralph Underwager, Hollida Wakefield:

c. John Money:

d. Warren Farrell:


15. Conciliation Court Law:

California Family Law Code Sections 1800-1802:

California Family Law Code Sections 1910-1820

California Family Law Code Sections 1830-1842

California Family Law Coe Section 1850-1852


17. and










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