Friday, October 30, 2009

On child abuse and the Court; The Christian Science Monitor - Letters to the editor

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Family 'Lawless' Court Whores.


On child abuse and the Court The Christian Science Monitor - Letters to the editor

from the October 28, 2009 edition

On child abuse and the court

Thank you for publishing, "Child abuse: when family courts get it wrong," in the Oct. 11 issue. For years, distraught mothers who complained about unfair custody decisions were dismissed as "disgruntled litigants." The up-to-date research has now established that custody courts are failing to protect battered mothers and their children because they are using outdated and discredited practices.

When domestic violence first became a public issue in the mid to late 1970s, professionals involved with such cases developed practices without the benefit of useful research.

Police departments, for instance, had a standard approach of having the alleged abuser walk around the block to cool off before returning to the house. This practice was changed after research demonstrated that when a man killed his partner, the vast majority of the time the police had already been called to the house and used this approach, and often, police had gone to the home already up to five times.

As police developed a policy of arresting abusers and attempting to hold them accountable, the domestic violence homicide rate went down. It is time we reform the system so that the safety and well-being of children and domestic-violence victims becomes the first priority.

Barry Goldstein

Domestic violence speaker, author, consultant, and advocate

Teaneck, N.J.

I was heartened to see the opinion essay bring attention to the serious problem of family courts getting it wrong in child abuse cases.

Far too many children end up being ordered by the court to live with their abuser. When the protective parent seeks help from the court, the abuser files for custody and claims that the child's statements are false allegations made by a vindictive parent, and the facts get turned on their head.

Sadly, as an attorney, I often have to advise protective parents that their child might suffer even greater harm if the abuse is brought to the attention of a family court. This should not be.

Charles R. Hofheimer

Virginia Beach, Va.

Parental alienation is dangerous, harmful, and abusive to the child. A growing body of research points to the long-term damage done by unjustifiably breaking a previously loving child-parent bond. What we need now is to focus on finding and choosing the most effective remedies.

Writer Kathleen Russell should look at the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization website to see the biographies written by the victims of parental alienation. Many describe the exact scenario Ms. Russell uses to support her claim, but show a much different perspective of who their abuser is.

Robert Samery

Vice president, Parental Alienation Awareness Organization


The California Protective Parents Association works with nonabusive parents in custody disputes. Our research of 362 cases shows that 81 percent of protective parents (mostly battered mothers) had primary custody when they asked family courts for safety for their children. Each mother spent an average of $100,000 on her case. The outcomes are horrifying. In the end, a scant 5 percent of mothers retained custody while the abuser had supervised visits. Most children who were ripped from their protective mothers continue to report abuse. Their desperate cries, present-day echoes of the "lost children" of Francoism, go unheard by family court.

Connie Valentine

Policy director, California Protective Parents Association

Davis, Calif.

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dadzrites said...

When mothers make false abuse charges, they are trying to game the system at the expense of the safety and welfare of the children and their relationship with their father. Mothers should be losing custody for doing this. False allegations of domestic violence and child abuse are rampant in divorce custody cases, and more than 75% are brought by mothers against fathers. These are statistics that can be found in state statistical documents, empirical studies, reports, etc.

There is an epidemic of false domestic violence charges and abuse charges being made nationwide, and it is being initiated by unscrupulous attorneys and their female clients. Attorneys are admitting they "coach" their female clients to bring domestic violence charges whether true or not. This is not only unethical, but criminal as well.

Custody awards should be increasing in favor of fathers because of this. States must begin to take proactive roles in stopping women from gaming the system at the expense of the children.

woman have courage said...

"Mothers should be losing custody for doing this." You are wrong, in my humble opinion this is what causes many parents to lose custudy period. No parents should be losing custudy, they should be able to be around their children if and when and as much as they want to, we shouldn't be pitting them against each other, the truth is that some dad's are good dad's some mom's are lousy moms, they don't or do want their kids and are willing to do anything to anyone because they think that their children's parents have harmed them in some way. That is no, absolutely no, excuse to harm other parents of either gender by promoting that children should be taken away. Parents should work petty bickering out among themselves and do what is best for their children the way they see fit. I don't agree with you.