Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Batterers, Misogynists, Parental Alienation, (Perps Aligning) Courts Profits, Oppression, Research, Facts and Time Lines

From the BADASS’s: Bloggers Against Deprivation, Alienation Syndromes, & junk Science


Let's Get HonestVAW NewsDenom His Chaos TheoryChildren and Their Mothers RightsRights For Mothers NewsThe Truth About The Family CourtCustodial Justice - A Human Rights IssueRandi JamesBattered Mothers Lose CustodyKansas Family Court Reform CoalitionCold North WindIndiana Mothers For Custodial JusticeJustice For SurvivorsMama LibertyMama LibertyAnonymums

Issues, per authors
  • 000_Bancroft critiques Johnston 1998-Critical Analysis of Janet Johnston’s Typology of Batterers. Why you should care? AFCC (see site) are being trained by such types of understatements of these issues. Bancroft ran one of first batterer’s treatment programs for men, hands-on knowled 0
  • 000_Custody Switch Sample Case read after “Bait & Switch.” Classic case. Protective Mom jailed (for protecting, or trying to). 0
  • 000__Custody Bait ‘n Switch 101 Explore this Calif. site! (plus to the process — Why aren’t laws enforced? How can this be? ($$$ explained) 0
  • 1972-2009 Are Women Still Mad? (Phyllis C.) 1972ff (intelligent dialogues from Phyllis Chesler) 0
  • 1993-NAFCJ researching wider “web” (Liz R. asks Why)There’s a method to the madness of this system, and who’s funding what and why. 0
  • 2000 –HSLDA morphs to Patrick Henry College (Article) Where HSLDA meets Patrick Henry College, meets Washington DC (as recounted by a nonbeliever). Location, Location Location. 0
  • 2005- Calif NOW asks Congress to investigate Fathers Rights Funding Fatherhood programs operate on the false premise that there is a “crisis in fatherlessness,” which is 0
  • 2006 – State of American Manhood One of the more relevant pieces around, I blog on this June 2, 2009. Courtesy “ and — pls visit! 0
  • 2009 – David Blankenhorn writes Obama Father-to-Father, “More than half of all U.S. children today are likely to spend at least a significant portion of their childhoods living apart from their fathers. For African American children, tragically, that figure is at least 80 percent.” 0
  • Evangelical Christianity’s Catch-22 on Violence The practice of hiding, ignoring, and even perpetuating the emotional and physical abuse of women is … rampant within evangelical Christian fellowships and as slow as our legal systems have been in dealing with violence against women by their husbands, 0
  • JusticeWomen on-Govt/Corporate takeoversOver the last 15 years, the U.S. violence against women movement has become increasingly embedded in the very institutions we most need to change. The feminist rape and domestic violence centers of yesterday have become morphed into the quasi governmental 0
  • Kids in Distress in AustraliaWell written discussion, many links. Parallels US situation…”In 1975 the no fault divorce rules came into force. This meant that the normal tests of morality and behavior such as drug addiction, infidelity, gambling, and violence were irrelevant to a d 0
  • Richard Gardner says (er, said…) From StopFamilyViolence. Pro-PAS = Pro THIS. FYI, “Stop Family Violence does not agree with the views espoused by Gardner – we find them disgusting, offensive, and most importantly, they are not correct. Gardner’s views are based in his own perverse t 0
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Welcome to The Twenty First Century ‘Dark Ages’

No Mothers: The Twenty First Century Dark Ages

Blame and shame is what divorced dads have become professional at. At the centre of the media spotlight is a 12 year old girl who is pregnant from a 15 year old boy. The family of the fifteen year old boy is not apprehended, nor the centre of concerns. The mother however is viewed upon with contempt for a crime she never committed. The father publicly humiliated her by saying that

the mother had allowed the boyfriend to stay at the home. The grandmother cleared such speculation, "He's not in jail and he's never lived at the house," the grandmother toldThe Daily Telegraph. The underlying issues that condemned a 12 year old was hate of women's freedom.

The fact that her mother did not stay with the father, the fact that in separation, she is still tied to his accusations. In the political climate of post shared parenting bill, every women who leaves a husband is standing on egg shells whilst fathers groups wait for her to fall. The term, "kicking her whilst she is down" comes in mind here, but this father had to set this "fall" up and create the sensationalism. The question he was really asking DOCS was not of whether his child is protected, but why are they not punishing her.

In other news, a minister was humiliated by senator Hogg for taking her child into the chamber. The excuse was that the child was classed as a "stranger in the house". This was also applied to Kristie Marshall in 2003 when she breast-fed her baby.

it is no wonder there are few provisions for mothers in the legislation when mothers are made to choose between their children and their work on building a future for them. Any dirty trick to exclude a mother from law is used in these instances. The laws for men and fatherhood are ambiguous. They are built upon the remnants of what use to be a "men only" society. Over the past few decades, women's rights have worked away tirelessly upon removing what entrenches women. They have also opened the doors to the rights of children and rights of other groups that have been affected. New generations have emerged with the rights that were once fought for whilst the old begin to retire, unaware of the opposition and potential for such rights to be reversed. They are the loophole generation, naive and free with choices. The rise of those who oppose women's rights has reached its fruition within public domain. They have learned to abuse the same speeches, phrases and strategies that were used to liberate women. Their rhetoric is that women have "enough" rights and are abusing theirs. The manner of which is demonstrated is in the area of family law; a place that only those who have accessed such a place know fully of its true nature.

The Family Court still deals with children and property in one case. Their decisions, research and statistics are heavily guarded under the guise of "best interests", the same phrase used by Nazi social workers to abduct and adopt children out to German families because in their eyes, it was the child's "best interest" was to be german. The current climate, "shared parenting" and "best Interests" are used to reinforce a new marriage contract and punish disobedient mothers. "Disobedient mothers" are viewed to be those who do not encourage a relationship to the father and turn a blind eye to his actions. The worst treated in the realm of the family court are often the ones who have endured the most to stand against such treatment. According to practitioners, the reason for so many family violence cases being ignored is because they need to guard against false allegations. What they wont tell you is that these, "false allegations" are actually cases where there is not enough evidence provided. What is also not brought to light is the number of these, "False allegation" cases that are ordered not to access services that are equipped to investigate. This includes doctors, therapists and child protection workers. Even requests for contact to be done at a police station are barred. In a modern world, these traditions have managed to survive in isolation. Like the remnants of the black plague, the threat of women and children becoming property has never been so real.

Welcome to the twenty first century dark age, where the nightmare has only just begun.

It is...





12 year old girl, Allegations, Australia, best interests, child Custody, Children's Rights, False Allegations of Child Abuse, Family Court, Family Court of Australia, Family Law, Greens Party, Kristie Marshall, maternal deprivation, Mothers Rights, pregnant 12-year-old girl, Senate President John Hogg, Senator Bob Brown, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young |

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Maternal Deprivation Inflicted on Battered Women and Abused Children

Maternal Deprivation Inflicted on Battered Women and Abused Children


This site is devoted to exposing the re-victimization of women and children who are victims of domestic abuse and/or child abuse. The legal system is being used to inflict Maternal Deprivation on children and their mothers. Networks of unethical lawyers, Guardian Ad Litems, Psychologists, and other purveyors of  “Parental Alienation Syndrome” junk science will advocate for abusers and vilify protective parents FOR PROFIT. Evidence of abuse does not matter and is ignored when these unethical Parental Alienation accusing professionals show up in cases and use rhetoric to accuse the mother of being an “Alienator” then give visitation and/or custody to the abuser often removing the mother from the child’s life all together. Any mother who has been victimized by this fraudulent scheme needs to get the message out to the world and expose these people.

For details of this Maternal Deprivation as a form of Abuse click here: Maternal Deprivation Research

Maternal Deprivation was inflicted on monkeys by Harry Harlow with terrible consequences. Now this abuse is spreading to humans promulgated by unethical psychologists who are experimenting in social engineering on human children.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: abuse, anti-psychology, child abuse, custody, divorce, domestic abuse, domestic violence,evaluator, failure to protect, false allegations, Family Court, father's rights, fictitious syndromes, fraud, parental alienation,psychologist, Richard Gardner, scam, scandal, unethical, visitation, visitation refusal. 3 Comments »

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: abuse, anti-psychology, child abuse, custody, divorce, domestic abuse, domestic violence,evaluator, failure to protect, false allegations, Family Court, father's rights, fictitious syndromes, fraud, parental alienation,psychologist, Richard Gardner, scam, scandal, unethical, visitation, visitation refusal. 3 Comments »

Father Supremacist Glenn Sacks, caught with his pants down


Glenn Sacks Caught With His Pants Down

Filed under: Activism, Child Custody Issues, Child custody for fathers, Children and Domestic Violence, Children who witness abuse, Domestic Abuse, Domestic Relations,Domestic Violence, Dr. Richard Gardner, Family Court Reform, Family Courts, Family Rights, Financing Fathers, Glenn Sacks, Holly Collins, Jennifer Collins, Maternal Deprivation, Non-custodial Mothers, Noncustodial Mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, father custody, parental alienation — justice4mothers @ 7:54 pm

Actually the full title, which comes from Family Court Matters, is:

Male Supremacist Glenn Sacks, caught with his pants down, Re: Joyce Murphy case in San Diego, uses this occasion to backhand Shockome/Collins cases, and tries to regain his upright & righteous standing as expert on “false allegations”

Gotta love my friend, she is wordy sometimes but she speaks with great wisdom.  Most of us “feminists” as Glenn likes to call us, Feminazi’s to others, were taken aback by his column in Men’s Daily News.

As Glenn starts out: The Feminist Family Law Movement claims that abusive fathers often employ Parental Alienation as a way to wrest custody from protective mothers in family court. They push for reforms which will make it easier to deny fathers shared custody or visitation rights based on unsubstantiated abuse claims. They also push for laws to exclude evidence of Parental Alienation in family law proceedings.

Abusive fathers DO often employ this tactic…this is well know in the professional bodies that have come out against it, like the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the National District Attorneys Association.  This was testified to in Senate hearings byCatherine Pierce recently.  Personally I have had discussions with legislators and law professors on the subject.  I know it as an abused woman whose abuser has her children, and growing up as a child who was forced to be with my mother’s abuser until he got tired of taking care of us and put us in foster homes to keep us away from her.  I live it everyday as I wake up in my car to go to work to have my wages taken and given to my abuser who makes far, far more money than I do.   So I take it personally when someone goes on and on about “unsubstantiated abuse claims.”

Glenn’s spewing continues:  The FFLM has promoted several cause celebre cases in recent years as a way to garner public sympathy and political support for their agenda. I’ve investigated many of these cases and have found the FFLM’s claims about them to be very inaccurate. I detailed several of these, including the high-profile Genia Shockome and Sadia Loeliger cases, in a co-authored column here.

The most recent of the FFLM’s cause celebres cases is the Holly Collins case. Collins fled to Holland with her two children in 1993, claiming that her husband had abused the children and that she needed to flee to protect them. Last year I appeared on a Fox national TV show with Geraldo Rivera and Jennifer Collins, Holly’s 24-year-old daughter who supports her mother’s version of events. Jennifer Collins claims she’s a victim of her father’s false claims of Parental Alienation.

Yes, and it wasn’t one of your prouder moments, was it?  As you sat beside an “alienated father” with his supposedly alienated son who was smiling next to him (and one of the people brought up the fact he wasn’t paying child support then all hell broke loose).  You actually admitted to Dr. Silberg and Geraldo Rivera that some fathers probably do use so-called “parental alienation” as an excuse.  Then Jennifer spoke up, and the audience and moderators gasped when she told of her brother’s skull being broken by their custodial dad (who would violently beat their mother Holly).  After the show, you put out an All Points Bulletin to your cult to have people investigate Jennifer and Holly Collins, and even your supporters were sickened:

Lisa KS Says:

December 29th, 2008 at 8:05 pm
Okay, this is it. Eww! I’m sorry, Glenn, but this is so gross, I can’t do this anymore. At all! You’ve printed many stories since I first started reading your blog about kids who talk about how their mother unfairly alienated them from their father, etc., and never once have you suggested that your readers investigate any of them to ascertain whether or not they were telling the “truth.” And yes, Jennifer Collins has every right to be offended–you’re running right over her by saying you have “no idea” what happened between her and her father, because she’s clearly willing to say what did, and she is twenty-three years old…not three, not thirteen–twenty-three…and you are acting as if she doesn’t exist–you pointedly did not contact her at all. You take the word of any other twenty-three-year-old…as long as that twenty-three-year-old is claiming that he or she was abused, abducted or kidnapped wrongly by his or her mother. And if the father is asking you to do this, you’ve been remarkably silent about that–it really appears that you personally just hate the existence of this story and are determined to crush it underfoot–putting up some diatribe from someone who is only willing to identify him or herself by initials who claims that during supervised visits, they got the real idea of what was going on..

What the hell makes you an investigative expert?   What are your qualifications and methodology?  You are effectively calling people liars publicly, I hope you are insured against defamation.

You whore our tax dollars by the way of grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the organization you are with, Fathers & Families, that collects millions to spew your propaganda and fund fathers in custody battles.  There is financial incentive for you and Ned Holstein to whine about “false allegations” and your need to fight them.  Why do you ignore the statistics?

PAS Presupposes a High Rate of False Accusations in Custody Cases

The theory of PAS is based in part on the notion that, within custody disputes, there is a high incidence of false abuse allegations. Dr. Gardner theorized that allegations arising within the context of a custody dispute have a “high likelihood of being false,”5 and went so far as to state that he believed “the vast majority of allegations in this category [divorce cases with custody disputes] are false.” 6 To the contrary, the available research suggests that false allegation rates are not significantly high. For example, a 1990 study by Thoennes and Tjaden evaluated 9,000 divorces in 12 states7 and found that sexual abuse allegations were made in less than 2 percent of the contested divorces involving child custody. Within this group, it appears false allegations occurred in approximately 5% to 8% of cases.8This study is one of the most comprehensive and least subject to bias and sampling problems, since its sample is so large and representative of the population of those divorcing with custodys.9

5 Gardner, 1991, p. 4.
6 See Kathleen Coulborn Faller, The Parental Alienation Syndrome: What is it and What Data Support it? Child Maltreatment, Vol. 3, No. 2, May 1998.
7 Thoennes & Tjaden, The Extent, Nature and Validity of Sexual Abuse Allegation in Custody/Visitation Disputes, Child Abuse and Neglect 1990, 14:151-163.
8 Id.
9 Kathleen Coulborn Faller, David L. Corwin & Erna Olafson, Literature Review: Research on False Allegations of Sexual Abuse in Divorce, APSAC Advisor 1993, 6(3), page 9.

But wait…Glenn comes to the rescue:  Stop Family Violence, to their credit, did get it right on Joyce Murphy–here’s their write-up.

In Murphy’s recent testimony to California legislators, she said the problem in her case was her ex-husband’s repeated claims of Parental Alienation. The real problem is that, in part because there are so many false accusations and unnecessarily contentious custody cases, courts don’t have the time to properly investigate charges of abuse. Often they simply default against the accused (usually the father). At other times, they suspect the mother’s allegations but don’t thoroughly investigate them, instead defaulting against her claims.

Lorna Alksne, the supervising judge of the San Diego County Family Court, told the reporter writing about the Murphy case that “each judge must juggle between 200 and 300 cases every month. She said the judges read before work, after work and during breaks to be prepared for their full day of hearings.”

What’s needed is a system which properly and impartially investigates claims, so that children like Murphy’s daughter are protected, but women like Shockome and Collins are unable to use false claims to drive their ex-husbands out of their children’s lives.

Organizations like Stop Family Violence could play a positive role here by actively counseling women not to make false claims–claims which can lead courts to suspect or not act on the accusations made by legitimately protective mothers like Joyce Murphy. And one way for Stop Family Violence to start would be to publicly disavow false accusers such as Collins, Loeliger, and Shockome.

So, what he is doing in this release here, is actually posing as moderate and balanced — because he conceded a mistake (AFTER the Joyce Murphy case was hit), but then goes after two other cases, and throws in the word “false allegations” over and over again.

Guess why there are so many cases in family law?  Not because of false allegations, but because batterers know WHERE to go to hide.   And the organizations that will support them.

Sorry Glenn, we just don’t buy it…

Los Angeles Private Investigator Proves Child Neglect and Endangerment Issues Through Law Enforcement Intervention to Leverage Child Custody Disputes

Los Angeles Private Investigator Proves Child Neglect and Endangerment Issues Through Law Enforcement Intervention to Leverage Child Custody Disputes

California courts will generally award sole physical custody to a parent only if the other parent is deemed unfit or incapable of providing adequate care for the child. Lead Investigation Group, Inc., a Los Angeles based private investigation agency specializes in leveraging custody cases with great success rates.

Los Angeles, CA, July 29, 2009 --( Increasingly, allegations of child neglect and endangerment are viewed as “child custody disputes” within the jurisdiction of family law courts. Accordingly, it is becoming more common for a parent to levy allegations of abuse and report such claims to the Department of Social Services to initiate a formal investigation.

Many concerned parents get a rude awakening when Child Protective Services’ reports turn up “Unfounded” results and they learn no further action will be taken. This can be a nightmare to any parent who has intimate knowledge of the abusive parent’s potential to harm the child.

In reality, most such cases are treated as “Child Custody Disputes” by family court. A contested child custody dispute can be a financially and emotionally frustrating endeavor. Many times the case can be reduced to legal theatrics by ambitious attorneys prolonging the legal agony for profit. Most cases will be invariably predicated on unsubstantiated facts and the implied consequences on the child. These cases will lack direct evidence to support the allegations to materially implicate the bad parent.

The child custody experts at Lead Investigation Group, Inc. specialize in handling such custody cases by introducing direct and relevant evidence. The agency consults and investigates complex custody cases private clients and Certified Family Law Specialist attorneys. The agency employs all its resources including use of law enforcement assistance when necessary to properly document and investigate criminal offenses (ie: DUI arrests, narcotics possession, domestic violence, or money laundering and financial crimes.) The investigations supplement the routine investigation conducted by the agency (ie: documentation of alcohol or drug dependency, relationship with or cohabitation with a new partner who is unfit, or through documentation of any pattern of behavior indicative of emotional abuse or neglect.) These efforts generate overwhelming evidence that would otherwise remain undiscovered.

In a recent case, Lead Investigation Group's Orange County private investigators documented a subject's alcohol intake during a weekend visitation with the minor child. The investigators noted the mother's impaired motor functions, as she drove to the babysitter's house to pick up the child. While transporting the child, the mother was detained and arrested for DUI by the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The evidence of the mother's alcohol intake was presented by the investigators and a conviction for willfull child endangerment and a DUI was sustained. Accordingly, custody was turned over to the father of the child, as the mother was deemed a potential threat to the minor child.

Lead Investigation Group’s investigators are subject matter experts and testify to these findings and present legally admissible audio and video recorded evidence to bolster the case. The findings are usually the key to a favorable custody ruling or modification.

The agency’s private detectives have leveraged hundreds of cases in nearly every Family Court venue in California. Since October 2008, the agency has had a 100% success rate in Ex-Parte motions filed in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and San Francisco County.

The agency also specializes in investigating financial matters and asset checks affecting Child Support and Spousal Maintenance (alimony) by finding Hidden Assets, Bank Accounts, Brokerage Accounts and fraudulently transferred monies.

The agency operates 24 Hours a day.

Call for a free confidential consultation:(800) 530-2080

or visit

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Death of a child; Who failed to save Emma?

Death of a child

Who failed to save Emma?

By TERRI LANGFORD and PEGGY O'HARE Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
July 28, 2009, 11:13PM



James Nielsen Chronicle

Benjamin Thompson said his wife, Abigail Young, told him that his daughter Emma, 4, had a “childhood” version of herpes that turned into the sexual disease that adults contract.

Two weeks before a sexually abused 4-year-old Spring girl with a fractured skull died in a Woodlands emergency room, Texas Child Protective Services was notified the girl had a sexually transmitted disease, but the agency did not take her into custody because they had no other physical signs the girl was in danger.

The child's official cause of death has not yet been determined by the Southeast Texas Forensic Center in Conroe, but details of the prior CPS abuse investigation and the missed chances to save Emma Thompson's life were presented at a custody hearing Tuesday over the fate of the girl's two siblings. Both have been removed from the home they shared with their mother, Abigail Elizabeth Young.

Emma died June 27 at Memorial Hermann-The Woodlands Hospital after she became unconscious and stopped breathing as her mother was driving her to the emergency room.

Estella Olguin, CPS spokeswoman, said the child had a severed pancreas, a skull fracture and bruising at the time of her death.

Outlining the inquiry

CPS investigator Kimberly Clayton recounted how her office began investigating a complaint of neglect and possible abuse involving Emma on June 8. The girl was examined for CPS by the child's pediatrician who found no signs of sexual intercourse.

He did note to investigators that the child had a 102-degree fever and blisters on her fingers, inside her mouth and in her vaginal area and that he ran a series of tests. The child was referred to Texas Children's Hospital for a more extensive exam, and on June 11, the tests came back positive for genital herpes.

Clayton said she confronted the child's mother about her daughter's condition.

“She had no idea where it came from,” Clayton recalled, though Young, 33, is a registered nurse.

A lawyer representing the interests of Emma's 6-year-old sister and 11-year-old half-sister, pressed Clayton on why herpes wasn't enough to remove a child from a home, but the CPS worker said her agency needed more, a verification of the abuse from the mother or the child.

“There was no information stating where it came from,” Clayton said of the herpes. “We did not have enough information that the child suffered abuse and neglect in that home.”

Because genital herpes can be transmitted through other, nonsexual methods, CPS investigators cannot automatically remove a child who tests positive for it, agency officials said. Infection can be spread by touching an open blister, then another person.

Young had separated from her husband, Benjamin Thompson, 33, and was proceeding with a divorce. Both parents said the child had no other contact with adults, except maybe at a local swimming pool.

When asked if she had anything to do with the death, Young said, “absolutely not.”

Thompson said his wife told him that the type of herpes their daughter contracted had started out as a “childhood” version and had somehow developed into the sexual disease adults contract. He also said his wife told him that their daughter could have contracted the disease from a toilet seat.

The night of her death, Harris County Sheriff's Office homicide investigators were summoned to the emergency room.

No explanation

Homicide division Lt. Rolf Nelson said the child had bruises and cuts on her body.

He said investigators did not receive adequate explanations for how the girl had been injured.

“Either there were no explanations offered, or the explanations offered for the cause of the injuries were not plausible,” Nelson said Tuesday.

Some of the injuries also occurred before the day the child died, Nelson said.

Olguin, the CPS spokeswoman, said that a sexually transmitted disease alone is not enough to put a 4-year-old into protective custody. She said Emma shook her head, “no” when asked whether anyone had touched her inappropriately.

“We had a child without an outcry,” Olguin said. “We didn't know about any perpetrator.”

Harris County Sheriff's Investigator A.J. Kelly testified Tuesday that he believed Thompson, Emma's father, had nothing to do with her death but said Young and her boyfriend Lucas Coe, 27, of Magnolia, have not been ruled out as persons of interest. Coe has been indicted for injury to another child, a 7-year-old boy, in Montgomery County.

Mom is a ‘gifted' nurse

Texas Board of Nursing Examiners records show the child's mother has been licensed as a registered nurse since June 2001 and has no record of any disciplinary actions. Her license is set to expire Aug. 31. State board officials said their records show she works in the in-patient hospital field .

“From everyone's accounts, relatives and friends, she's a ‘gifted' nurse — this is a term they use,” Nelson said.

The mother called 911 at 7:30 p.m. while driving the girl to the hospital in The Woodlands. After the child became unconscious, the mother called for an ambulance while at the intersection of Gosling and West Rayford Road, Nelson said.

Two motorists stopped to help and found the child had stopped breathing, so they performed CPR until an ambulance arrived, Nelson said. The child was pronounced dead at the hospital.

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Neighbors shocked by murder-suicide in northern Alberta Violence 'out of character' for man suspected in murder-suicide: shocked by murder-suicide in northern Alberta



RCMP forensics investigate the home where four members of a family were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide on a northern Alberta farm near Smith on July 27, 2009.

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RCMP forensics investigate the home where four members of a family were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide on a northern Alberta farm near Smith on July 27, 2009.

Photograph by: Ryan Jackson, Edmonton Journal

A suspected triple-murder suicide has shocked neighbours in this tiny hamlet, where people meet for drinks at the Wildcat Saloon and shop at the general store, and some customers like to visit and talk on the front porch as long as there's daylight.

On Monday, while many residents went off to work at forestry or oilpatch jobs, or did chores on their farms, a police forensics identification team combed through a small blue house just off an unpaved road about 15 kilometres outside the hamlet.

It's in that house, just off that road, that a grandfather is believed to have killed his wife, his daughter, his school-aged granddaughter, then committed suicide this weekend.

Family identified the grandfather as Ian Paget, 58, and his wife as Joan.

"It's out of character for Ian to have done that," said Philomena Paget, whose husband is Ian Paget's uncle.

"We just can't fathom it at all. He never even as much as raised his voice. He would tolerate a whole lot of abuse verbally and otherwise and just never say anything. Who knows, if he didn't leave a

note or anything? It just seems odd that all of a sudden this happened."

"It's just a terrible thing. My husband is just totally devastated. Ian's niece just died of cancer a month ago. She was 26. That was quite a devastating thing."

Smith is normally a safe place, the kind of place people like Bill Stirling come to, hoping raise their children far from the bustle of the big city.

The Stirlings moved to the area almost 30 years ago, after a violent break-in next door to the family's house in Calgary convinced them to pack up and head north.

When Bill and Sandy Stirling first heard sirens and saw helicopters on Sunday, they assumed there was a fire in the dense woods surrounding the area. When the sirens kept coming, they thought there could be trouble with partygoers at the nearby lake, then guessed RCMP were doing a training exercise.

"It's a damn shame," Bill Stirling said after he learned the news.

The Stirlings said the family involved in the tragedy had lived in the area almost as long as they have.

The grandfather worked as foreman in the oilpatch and shared the house with his first wife and daughter, Bill Stirling said. The daughter was separated from her husband, who lived in a nearby house on the same road. The couple's school-aged children, a boy and girl, went back and forth between the two houses.

On Monday, a young boy straddled his bicycle about 20 metres from the property, where laundry hung from a cord in the yard and a large dog wandered loose. Two RCMP cruisers blocked the driveway.

Their neighbours had problems, like anyone, the Stirlings said. At least two neighbours said the older couple may have had problems with alcohol. There were also rumours of financial troubles, Bill Stirling said.

"They were never the type of people who would have had real knock-'em-down fights," said Sandy Stirling.

Joan was an animal lover who raised sheep and horses. She had stopped by the Stirlings' property on Saturday with some sheep's milk to feed to the goats.

"She'd bend over backward to help you," Sandy Stirling said. "She was good hearted."

A victim's services team from Slave Lake was in Smith on Sunday night, said Pastor Joe Mrak of the Bethany Christian Church.

Mrak has been working with the man who lost his young daughter and estranged wife. The man and his children were active members of the church, Mrak said, and the 50-person congregation will support the man and his son in the weeks ahead.

"He's hanging in there, but we don't know how his emotions will play out in the next few days," Mrak said of the man.

"It's devastating for the whole community. It's so small and everyone knows everybody."

The hamlet juts up against the winding Athabasca River and is surrounded by dense boreal forests that seem to stretch forever.

Most people in the area work in the forestry industry, the oil and gas sector, or in agriculture. Logging trucks lumber down the unpaved roads in winter, and, in summer, tourists brave the bumpy streets to reach Fawcett Lake.

The closest city is Slave Lake, where some residents drive for work, and where the RCMP are dispatched from when trouble happens.

The first hint of this latest trouble came around 6:30 a. m. Sunday, when Slave Lake RCMP surrounded a rural house after a call about a possible homicide on the property.

An RCMP Emergency Response Team arrived from Edmonton and Red Deer, and the four bodies were later discovered inside the house.

The Mounties have yet to confirm the details surrounding the deaths, but have said the suspect was among the dead. Slave Lake RCMP said they have no record of any family-related violence calls to the home.

Police have not yet released the names of the victims. Autopsies will be performed this week.

Smith is about 200 kilometres north of Edmonton.

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

Murder-Suicide: Is it the economy, really?

Promoting Hope, Preventing Suicide

Research and advice on preventing teen and adult suicide.

by Elana Premack Sandler, L.C.S.W., M.P.H.

Elana Premack Sandler, LCSW, MPH, is a public health social worker specializing in violence and injury prevention and adolescent health promotion. See full bio

July 28, 2009, Depression

Is it the economy, really?

An alternate explanation for familicide

As the summer began, a group of researchers and policy analysts gathered to discuss the growing problem termed "familicide" - cases involving a husband and father killing his family and then himself. Each report has been getting stored somewhere in the back of my mind, and I suppose it says something about the number of incidents that the details of each individual case have become quite blurry.

Up until now, I've noticed one angle of these stories, the suicide angle. In most of the publicized cases, a distraught husband has been pushed to his limits by financial turmoil. But, the group of experts convened by the National Institute of Justice to better understand this issue and plan for prevention identified another angle: domestic violence.

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It turns out that the greatest risk factor for familicide is a history of domestic violence.

"Of course," I thought as I read the article recounting the meeting of experts. I have worked in violence prevention for a number of years, with a good chunk of time spent specifically working in domestic and intimate partner violence programs. I know that someone who needs to have a lot of control in a relationship often needs to have a lot of control in other areas of life, and that the perception that one is losing control can be the tipping point leading to an act of violence. I know that, unfortunately, the partners and children of people who need to have control suffer when things feel out of control.

Yet, until now, I hadn't thought of these incidents as related to domestic violence -because they had been framed in the media as fallout from the economic downturn. So, I have to wonder, how do most people, who don't spend their days thinking about violence and injury, think about these incidents?

From a prevention standpoint, I wonder what effect media framing has on the solutions we perceive. What power does the story gain or lose when framed as an issue of domestic violence? What about if the media lens focused more intently on suicide? Would the stories still be front-page news if the angle was domestic violence or suicide?

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior, not one single incident. So, the outcome that we hear about with familicide - the murder of a family and the suicide of a husband and father - may have underneath it a long history of smaller events that are not newsworthy. Like suicide, which we hear about as an "event," there are multiple places along the way where prevention is a real possibility. But, if we just blame the economy for these events, we might gloss over the fact that not everyone who experiences a financial loss or sudden unemployment kills his family and himself. Covering the story as economic crisis fallout doesn't allow a reporter to ask what factors have been protective for those people who have experienced these kinds of losses and not resorted to violence.

The experts convened by the National Institute of Justice identified some strategies for familicide prevention that overlap with strategies for suicide prevention.

For one, access to means is critical. As this article states, "It is easier to be impulsive when a gun is nearby." Greater collaboration between agencies that may work with individuals or families who are at risk for suicide/familicide may help get supports in place that may prevent suicide/familicide, ranging from individual therapy, to creating a safety plan for escalating violence, to financial assistance. Bystanders (in domestic violence parlance), or gatekeepers (in suicide prevention lingo) are also an important! piece of the puzzle, as individuals who can notice the signs for suicide/familicide and provide personal support and referrals to those at risk.

Thanks to my friend and colleague Linda Sobottka for bringing my awareness to this side of the story.

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