Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Custody and Abuse Issue of Violence Against Women


by Joan Zorza and Leora Rosen, Editors

This issue reports the results of four studies—all funded by the National Institute of Justice—that, for the first time, present systematically collected empirical evidence on the custody crisis facing battered women in America.

The question as to how many battered women lose custody of their children cannot be answered simply because the custody laws and practices governing normal custody arrangements vary from state to state, with the result that there are many different standards of comparison among the different jurisdictions. For example, in Florida, joint custody is the preferred arrangement, but parents may petition the court for sole custody in special circumstances. In addition, the data collected from courts typically involve contested custody cases, in which men who batter their intimate partners are likely to be over represented because they more often contest custody (American Psychological Association, 1996). There are also the issues of legal custody versus physical custody and restricted or structured visitation, or conditions placed on visitation. The studies in this issue deal with some of these multiple issues, with data collection having occurred in 9 of the 50 states.

This is by no means the last word, but hopefully it is the first.

To read complete introduction (pdf) click here

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