Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scholarships Available to Victims of Domestic Violence

The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (http://www.wispinc.org/) in Wilmington , NC has received a $30 million dollar gift from Maryland philanthropist Doris Buffet for scholarships that help women go back to school after leaving abusive partners.

WISP will use the gift to establish its own foundation and continue its work for another 10 years.

Women who are domestic violence survivors can apply through WISP for scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, books, school fees, and related expenses such as child care and transportation. To date, the scholarships have helped 900 women nationwide graduate from school.

Applications and instructions can be found at http://www.wispinc.org/

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What’s Wrong With the ABA Booklet, 10 MYTHS…?

When not expending energy in attempting to prove that women are primary aggressors and men are the real victims of domestic violence, evangelical political activist Phyllis Schlafly, and men’s advocate groups such as Media RADAR (RADAR: Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Violence Reporting) and the American Coalition of Fathers and Children (ACFC), do a complete flip flop and go to great lengths in efforts to convince the American public that domestic violence is nearly non-existent, or at least not as prevalent as it really is. They make the fantastic , malicious, claim that millions of women are simply lying about the abuse in order to gain legal advantage in divorce and custody litigation. Their propaganda includes denouncing the booklet, 10 MYTHS ABOUT CUSTODY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HOW TO COUNTER THEM published by the American Bar Association (ABA). The booklet educates attorneys in how to best serve the interests of clients who are victims of domestic violence.

Media RADAR issued a special report debunking the booklet. Phyllis Schlafly made the false and absolutely ridiculous claim that representing clients who are victims of domestic violence is a cash cow for attorneys, and mimicking Media RADAR wrote that the booklet is full of false information aimed at enriching those in the legal profession. I not only disagree with them both, but I believe that neither Schlafly nor Media RADAR are the least bit interested in the real facts of the travesty that is taking place in this country as a result of domestic violence and custody litigation. Schlafy allows fear of radical feminism and an extremely narrow, fundamentalist, view of acceptable behavior for women, to color her entire perception of the issue.

The following is a listing of the 10 Myths. Following that are a few facts correcting each myth.

Myths:
1.) Domestic violence is rare among custody litigants
2.) ill effects of domestic violence on children are minimal and short term
3.) Mothers frequently invent allegations of child sexual abuse in order to win custody
4.) Domestic Violence has nothing to do with child abuse
5.) Abusive fathers don't get custody6.) Fit mothers don't lose custody
7.) Parental Alienation Syndrome is a scientifically sound phenomenon
8.) Children are in less danger from a batterer once the parents separate
9.) Parents who batter are mentally ill, or parents with no evidence of mental illness
cannot be batters.
10.) If a child demonstrates no fear or aversion to a parent, there is no reason not to award
custody or unsupervised visitation

Facts:
1.) According to the S. L. Keilitz National Center for State Courts, up to 50% of disputed custody cases involve domestic violence

2.) Even without myriads of studies proving the ill effects of domestic violence on children, common sense dictates that domestic violence would have devastating effects on the healthy development of any child

3.) There will always be those who lie and abuse the legal system in order to gain personal advantage, but evangelical political activist PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY in tandem with male supremist groups such as MEDIA RADAR (Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Violence Reporting), AMERICAN COALITION of FATHERS and CHILDREN (ACFC), men's advocates such as GLENN SACKS, and Abuser advocates such as DEAN TONG propogate the entirely unsubstantiated claim that millions of women lie about domestic violence and child sexual abuse in order to gain advantage in divorce/custody situations. The substantiated facts of the matter are these, that where false allegations are concerned, fathers are far more likely to make intentionally false accusations than mothers. The truth is that false allegations are no more common in divorce or custody disputes than at any other time.

4.) Domestic violence is child abuse! Anger and violence are terrifying to anyone subjected to them. Can anyone argue that it is abusive to create such an environment in a home where children are being raised? In addition to common sense, studies have shown a strong correlation between domestic violence and child abuse.

5.) Abusive fathers are far more likely to seek sole custody than non-abusive ones...and according to the American Judges Foundation, they are successful about 70% of the time.

6.) Mothers who are victims of domestic violence often are depressed and suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. As a result, they frequently present poorly at court and to custody evaluators and best interest attorneys.

7.) The Americnl Psychological Association rejects PAS as lacking data support. The official position of the APA on PAS is that it is an unscientific concept.

8.) Batterers are often more strongly motivated to control and abuse through the children after separation or divorce due to loss of other methods.

9.) Psychological testing cannot distinguish between a batter and a non-batterer. The sad truth is that men who are batters, often test normally in psychological testing--a case in point would be Darren Mack who tested normally in psychological evaluations during divorce proceedings between him and his wife, Charlotte. He was administered these tests on advice from abuser advocate DEAN TONG, because during the proceedings his wife claimed to be frightened of him. It turns out Charlotte Mack’s fears were more than justified. One year later, Darren stabbed her to death. Mack is also charged with shooting the Judge who was handling their case—so much for the validity of tests purporting to reveal propensity for domestic in men. In truth, mental illness is found in only a minority of batterers.

10.) Children of batterers or children who are being abused often show no outward fear or aversion to the offending parent. In fact, most of time they demonstrate just the opposite. Traumatic Bonding and Stockholm Syndrome are common but unhealthy survival techniques used by children of batters or child sexual abusers.

Visit the following link for more detailed research results
http://www.abanet.org/domviol/custody_myths.pdf

Thursday, July 17, 2008

FAMILY VIOLENCE STATISTICS FACT SHEET

Of roughly 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members in 2002, 49% of overall family violence were crimes against spouses.

  • Females constituted 58% of family murder victims
  • 63% of spouse murderers used fire arms
  • Males were 83% of spouse murderers
  • Males were 75% of murderers who killed a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Females were 84% of spouse abuse victims
  • 3/4 of victims of family violence were female
  • 3/4 of persons who committed family violence were male
  • Most family violence victims were white-74%
  • Most family violence offenders were white-79%...


Of the approx 60% of family violence victimizations reported during the period of 1998-2002:

  • The reporting rate among female victims was not significantly greater than the reporting rate among male victims
  • The FBI accounted for 72% of all interstate domestic violence referrals
  • Federal courts convicted 90% of defendants for interstate domestic violence offenses
  • 79% of convictions were the product of guilty pleas
  • 21% of convictions were the product of conviction following a trial
  • Most were male—96%


Family violence accounted for 33% of all violent crimes recorded by police in 18 states and the District of Columbia in the year 2000, of these, more than 270,000 family violence crimes, about half (53%) were crimes between spouses (110,000). About 49% of family crime recorded by police resulted in arrest. Males comprised 77% of suspected family violence offenders arrested in 2000

Police statistics show 33% of all violence is family violence, and that, 48% of family violence victims are spouses. 50% of offenders in state prisons for spousal abuse had killed their victims.


Of the crimes for which family violence offenders were in prison:

  • Most were against a female—78%
  • Local jail inmates convicted of family violence reported that their victims were predominantly female
  • Among family offenders who were in prison (both state and federal) in 1997, most were male—97%
  • Among jail inmates convicted of family violence, 55% injured their victim
  • Among family violence offenders in state prison in 1997, 93% were male
  • Among jail inmates convicted of family violence, 45% had been subjected to a restraining order in the past.
  • 18% were under an active restraining order at the time admission to jail


Demographic Characteristics of Family Violence Victims

  • Females are more likely than males to be victimized by family violence
  • Females were 84.3% of spouse abuse victims
  • Females were 85.9% of victims of violence between boyfriend and girlfriends
  • 73.5% of family violence occurs in the home


    Between 1998 and 2002:
    · Four out of five violent offenders were male
    · Among violent crimes against a spouse, 86.1% of offenders were male
    · Against a boyfriend or girlfriend, 82.4% were male
    · Females comprised 22.6% of family violence offenders.


The U.S. Department of Justice documents the flow of family violence through the justice system and issues statistics gathered and analyzed from the following sources:

  • Victim Surveys and Police Statistics, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS),
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)/ Crime Reported to Police
  • (FBI) Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR) / Crime Recorded by Police
    (FBI) National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) / Crime Recorded by Police / Arrests
  • (BJS)State Court Processing Statistics / Prosecution and Adjudication / Sentencing
  • (BJS) Federal Justice Statistics Program / Prosecution and Adjudication / Sentencing
  • (BJS) Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities / Corrections
  • (BJS) Survey of Inmates in Local Jails / Corrections
  • (SCPS) State Court Processing Statistics


There is some discrepancy between victim survey numbers and police statistics, the report explains methods used in determining statistics. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/welcome.html Family Violence Statistic page last revised June 12, 2005

According to the Dept of Justice, family violence has remained static for the 10 year period prior to this report, fluctuating only in concert with the ratios of violence [in our society] in general.

Family Court Crisis

Are "Good Enough" Parents Losing Custody to Abusive Ex-Partners?

By Stephanie Dallam -- updated 2008 for the Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence.


I. RESEARCH
II. GENDER BIAS REPORTS
a. Official State Reports
b. Reports by Testimony Projects
III. REPORTS BY PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

IV. SCHOLARLY COMMENTARIES

V. MEDIA REPORTS

High conflict families are disproportionately represented among the population of those contesting custody and visitation. These cases commonly involve domestic violence, child abuse, and substance abuse. Research indicates that that custody litigation can become a vehicle whereby batterers and child abusers attempt to extend or maintain their control and authority over their victims after separation. Although, research has not found a higher incidence of false allegations of child abuse and domestic violence in the context of custody/visitation, officers of the court tend to be unreasonably suspicious of such claims and that too often custody decisions are based on bad science, misinterpretation of fact, and evaluator bias. As a result, many abused women and their children find themselves re-victimized by the justice system after separation.

Read More at This Link: http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/pas/dv.html

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Truth Commission

While in Albany, N.Y. in December of 2008, I had opportunity to attend conference events and workshops led by Richard Ducote and Barry Goldstein. Both are attorneys, and members of the "Truth Commission," who advocate for abused children and their protective parents. I am convinced both of these men have a sincere concern for abused children and protective parents. I am also convinced that their experience in advocating for these more than qualifies them to present a clear picture of the travesty that is taking place on a daily basis within the family courts of this nation. Visit the link below for details.

http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/docs/Truth_Commission_2007.pdf

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Breaking The Silence; Children's Stories

Family Court Crisis - Our Children at Risk January 2008 Family Law Documentary. BREAKING THE SILENCE: Children's Stories: Excerpt from October 2005 PBS Documentary-

Thursday, January 24, 2008

OPEN LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE FATHER RIGHTS MOVEMENT

Anyone have any follow-up information on this?

NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR FAMILY COURT JUSTICE
OPEN LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE FATHER RIGHTS MOVEMENT
By Liz Richards

In response to questions and concerns from father rights leaders about complaints from myself and others representing litigating mothers and family abuse victim, I would like fathers rights movement principals to respond to the following:

A). Fathers Rights organizations have introduced into official proceedings inappropriate psychological standards meant to produce false negatives in child sex abuse litigation for the benefit of male sex offender. No professional body has endorsed the Gardner-PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) methodology as an appropriate standard in any family law forum.

B) In fact most professionals are highly critical of this and similar standards created to deliberately discredit female complaints about male family violence offenders, promoted by fathers rights allies such as Gardner, Underwager, Farrell and more recently Braver. These are contrived standards for protecting male offenders from the law, and allowing them to continue their unlawful injurious conduct.

C) Fathers rights leaders engage in a campaign of public disinformation about family law matters including child support enforcement standards, custody litigation, maternal conduct in domestic disputes and other issues. They do this for the sole purpose of confusing the public and lawmakers to achieve for themselves recognition as a "special class" on the grounds of acutevictimization by society and the legal system. Fathers’ rights literature discredits some of their own most widely disseminated claims, such as (i) widespread and extreme legal system bias against men in custody disputes (ii) automatic disenfranchisement of their parental relationships, (iii) frequent patterns of false allegations of child abuse made deliberately by vengeful women, and (iv) routinely blaming of men for family violence acts they disavow that they did not commit, and (v) routine assessment on men of child support beyond their ability to pay.

All of these above described fathers' claims can be easily discredited from a wide variety of published studies, some of which are sponsored by organizations closely associated with their own movement. The fact that the father rights spokespersons never mention these findings when making their outrageous and false public claims, are indicative of their lack of integrity. They have also obtained and misused federal program funds intended for the purpose of enforcing non-custodial parents visitations contact. Instead, these funds have been used to pay fathers rights attorneys and court professionals to compromise the litigation in favor of the fathers with the use of pro-offender psychological methods and other illicit and unethical tactics.

D) However, the best determinate of the movements’ lack of integrity, is their claim of widespread injustice against fathers in the face of hundreds of complaints by fit and normal mothers who have lost custody and most visitation contact, without due process or cause other than "interference" with the father-child relationship. I, along with other advocacy leaders and public policy organizations have learned of and verified of hundred of such victimized mothers - many of which were associated with the father rights organizations and federal programs.

Never have the fathers rights leaders made complaints similar to those made by these mothers. Never have they proffered an example case of a father who denied custody and NO NORMAL VISITATION CONTACT on grounds of intefering with the mother-child relationship. While all know that termination of maternal contact with the children is a leading principal of Dr. Richard Gardner’s methodology, none from mothers’ community has ever advocatedpaternal termination on grounds of parental alienation or false allegations.

But worse, all complaints from our community about these victimized mothers have resulted in an outpouring of hate mail, threats, and slut-or-nut crazy making. None from the fathers rights community have responded to one individual or collective complaint from the mothers community. NONE of the father rights leaders incorporate this factor when lobbying for public policy changes. All of their public policy advocacy has been based on the single notion that the system is biased against men and only men.

Clearly the Fathers Rights movement has an out-for-yourselves agenda, with no regard to the concerns, rights or injury to others, especially those less equipped to do legal battle. While they claim victimization from false allegations and parental alienation by mothers, they coach their own male members to engage in these very illicit activities of false charges and parental alienation against mothers. Also, our group members have information that some fathers rights members engage in custody retaliation against mothers who refuse to comply with demands for abortion by rejecting fathers; in addition to some cases of affiliated professionals who have trafficked in child pornography.

I will continue to contact and persuade public policy leaders and public official with my requests that Fathers Rights organizations be thoroughly investigated, and that the power of government be re-directed to stopping all the unethical and unlawful activities you have been engaging in - not the least of which is the proliferation of pro-pedophile/incest psychological material into the working methodologies of the courts and social services agencies of this country.

In the meantime, I would like you to provide answer to the following questions:

1) Since there appears to be confusion between "good" fathers' organizations who do not engage in the above described practices and those that do: please name all organization leaders, chapters and affiliated organizations working with or under the Fathers' Rights organization’s umbrella, keeping in mind several official reviews of Fatherhood movement officials have cited that as many as 200 differently named groups all work together.

2) Please detail your knowledge and reaction of Warren Farrell full multi-page 1977 Penthouse "Positive Incest" interview. What does he say when speaking before your organizations’(NCFC and CRC) events. Also can you comment on the connection Farrell has had with the Kinsey Institute.

3) What is the Fatherhood's organizations’ (NCFC and CRC) affiliation with Dr. Ralph Underwager. Comment on your knowledge and reaction to Underwager’s Paedika interview. Detail how your organization refers cases to Underwager, and how many cases he has testified as an expert witness for child sex abuse or child custody evaluations. Are you aware of Underwager’s involvement in a California seminar in which he positively presented child pornography under the false guise of research.

4) As all should know, Robert Hirschfeld has been permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Arizona. What does Bob Hirschfeld teach in his NCFC pro-se litigation courses? What does he advise men on how to handle their domestic litigation? Also, I would like a full copy of Hirschfeld’s disbarrment proceeding to better determine the legitimacy of the charges against him.

5) And lastly, please do attempt to prove me wrong about item (D) from above, by citing one case of a father being restricted to supervised visitation on account of Parental Alienation for making false allegations.

I think the most important change desired at this time from the organized fathers rights movement, is to respond to individual and collective complaints by mothers about system injustices against them, specifically, custody switches to proven and probably child abusers under the guise of protecting the child from the trauma of false allegation, and unjustified use of supervised visitation on mothers on the grounds of parental alienation. I also want your organizations to release to me public information on your organizations funding and expenditures.

Sincerely,
Liz Richards
National Alliance For Family Court Justice
Annandale, VA
November 23, 1999

note: bcc sent to 8 public policy organizations from a wide variety ofpersuasions, responses from fathers rights leaders will be distributed tothem.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fighting the "Hidden American Disgrace" of Court Abused Children

From the homepage of the Courageous Kids Network :

"We, the Courageous Kids Network, are a growing group of young people, whose childhood was shattered by biased and inhumane court rulings, which forced us to live with our abusive parent, while restricting or sometimes completely eliminating contact with our loving and protective parent.

Some of us, whose mothers tried to protect us from abuse, did not see our mothers for years, or were only allowed to see our mothers under oppressive supervised visitation orders. We were not allowed to hug our mothers, or talk about how we felt. Some of us were separated from siblings, grandparents and extended family. We lost our home, pets, toys, friends,… our childhood.

We lived in fear, depression, hopelessness and helplessness for years. Some of us ran away from our abusers. Some could not handle the trauma and committed suicide.We who survived, got older and stronger. Now we are telling the world how much we were hurt, first by our abusers and then by the court that refused to protect us. "

http://www.courageouskids.net/

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Let My Children Go!

Posted to this blog's sidebar is a link to Wendy Titelman's website, "Let My Children Go!." Please check it out. I had the privilege of meeting and speaking with Wendy at the Battered Mothers Custody Conference in Albany, New York.

If you are so inclined, visit the link below as well
http://jocelynandersen.blogspot.com/2008/01/non-custodial-protective-parents.html