The Genocide of Battered Mothers and their Children

Posts Tagged ‘criminal’

Beware Family Court: What Victims and Advocates Should Know

In domestic law on July 1, 2011 at 4:33 am
Amplify’d from
In Family Court a Victim Is on Her Own Against the Abuser.
In Criminal Court it’s the State That Takes On the Abuser.

This is why criminal
cases are named in the form of ‘The People (meaning the
state or society) versus John Doe’, whereas family court
cases are named in the form of ‘Jane Doe versus John Doe’.

The criminal court
system pits the immense powers of the state against the accused.
In marked contrast, family court is merely a stage set by the
state where two private individuals can come to battle out their
personal differences, using their own devices, with the state
acting more as a weak referee, and wielding very little power.

Family court and criminal
court are profoundly different in premise, structure, power, and
purpose. The moment a victim steps into family court, whether
to seek a restraining order, custody and visitation rulings, a
divorce, or any other family court order regarding her abuser,
she’s literally opening the door for her abuser to launch unchecked
counterattacks against her, in an arena that was never designed
to deal with criminal dynamics, with the very real possibility
that the abuser may end up turning the family court against her.
In family court, an unprepared victim of family violence can be
as vulnerable to the perpetrator’s abuse as she is in the home.

Most people mistakenly
think that the difference between family court and criminal court
consists mainly in the different issues these courts deal with.
It’s a mistake that can seriously endanger victims of family violence
who too often trust that the family court system is built to protect
her in much the same way as the criminal system. Nothing could
be further from reality.

In family court, the
family issue at hand – whether custody, divorce, visitation, or
restraining orders, etc. – is deemed a private matter of such
minor consequence to the community that the two individuals in
a family court case are on their own; each responsible for investigating,
preparing, conducting, and defending their own cases. To be sure,
they are each free to hire their own private attorney to help
them if they wish – or if they can. But this factor also generally
serves to further disadvantage a victim of family violence and
to further empower a violent abuser, since it’s usually the abuser
who controls the family funds and can hire a private attorney,
and the victim who cannot.

In Family Court an Abuser can Launch Free Ranging Counterattacks
against the Victim.
In Criminal Court, Counterattacks by the Abuser Are Forbidden
or Tightly Restricted.



End the Silence of Domestic Violence in Child Custody Cases

In domestic law on May 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Dr. Phil: Stats show that in Domestic Violence Families children are abused 50% times more often than non Domestic Violence Families. So Why Are We giving Abusers and Pedophiles and killer daddy’s custody of these same children?

Amplify’d from

Steve Burdo is the lead advocacy consultant for the Center for Judicial Excellence. “Women are just not being believed or listened to in family court, where the majority of these cases are being tried,” he says. “Oftentimes, they are being blamed and punished. Only in family court do we see a situation where the victim is the person who has to present the case against the abuser. If it’s in criminal court, it would be a DA or a prosecutor who would present the case for the victim, but if a woman is the victim of domestic violence, and can’t afford an attorney, then she has to go into court and present that case, and it’s extremely intimidating facing your abuser in the first place, but being able to go about the more technical or litigious aspects of presenting a case. In our criminal courts, we will make sure that our most heinous murderers have adequate legal representation. However, a mother who’s trying to protect herself or her child and can’t afford an attorney in family court, she’s thrown to the courts like a lamb to the slaughter.”

“How do we change that?” Dr. Phil asks.

“We need to completely rethink the way we handle domestic violence cases, and that means having all the right people involved, not just the legislators, not just the courts,” Steve says. “You need a domestic violence community, you need domestic violence victims at that table, talking about how to change the way we handle these cases, and it’s something that’s just not happening right now.”

“It doesn’t seem to me, from my involvement in this, that we have all the entities communicating,” Dr. Phil says. “If CPS is involved, a criminal court may not know that. If there’s a custody battle, CPS may assume that the family court is looking at this, so they’re not going to start an investigation, because they think it would be redundant, when in fact they might have resources that the family court doesn’t have, particularly with our budget cuts. Why do we not have family court, criminal court people talking to each other?”

“With the hundreds of calls we get each month at the Center for Judicial Excellence, our experience is that we see it’s more of an issue of CPS not communicating with the family courts,” Steve says. “When CPS is investigating allegations of abuse, and they see that there’s a custody dispute also, they will just close the case as inconclusive. It’ll then go to the family courts. The family courts will look at it and go, ‘Oh, this was closed as inconclusive. There’s no abuse,’ and they’ll just take that as a final verdict.”

Civil and family attorney Areva Martin and the National Network to End Domestic Violence have child custody precautions every mother needs to know before leaving an abusive relationship. See their tips here!



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