Thursday, September 9, 2010

National Census of Domestic Violence Services

In the State of Florida alone, on September 15, 2009, 42 out of 42 (or 100%,) of identified local domestic violence programs in Florida participated in the 2009 National Census of Domestic Violence Services with 3,097 Victims Served in One Day . 1,824 domestic violence victims found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by local domestic violence programs. “One survivor wants to relocate to another state for more job opportunities but she can’t because of custody issues. Becoming economically secure is difficult.”

A complete report of the National Census of Domestic Violence Services can be viewed at : http://nnedv.org/resources/census/375-census-2009-report.html . The numbers are staggering.


United States: The National Network to End Domestic Violence released IN JUST ONE DAY:

  • 1,648 participating local domestic violence programs (83%)
  • Assisted 65,321 adults and children through shelter, transitional housing, and advocacy
  • Answered 23,045 hotline calls, over 16 calls every minute
  • Trained 30,735 attendees at 1,468 community education sessions
  • 9,280 requests for services went unmet because of a lack of resources or staffing. 60% of the unmet requests were for emergency shelter or transitional housing and 40% of the unmet requests were for non-residential services
  • 17,445 Children under 18 spent the night of September 15, 2009 in a domestic violence shelter or transitional housing program - far more than the approximately 11,000 children who are born every day across the U.S.

This year, 25 states and territories achieved a 100% participation rate! For the full 2009 report and state summaries please go to http://www.nnedv.org/census

Our Thanks to The National Network to End Domestic Violence for all of the above information to subscribe to action alerts go to: http://nnedv.org/

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Proposed Protective Parent Reform Act

All of the following is taken from author Talia Carner's site at http://www.taliacarner.com/proposedact.html . If you are an activist or a protective parent interested in presenting the Protective Parent Reform Act (PPRA) to a legislator, lawmaker or a group of activists, Talia Carner has prepared a Power Point presentation. This presentation includes important research that refutes the myths of PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) and other misconception about false allegations. View it here.  For the original Microsoft Power Point version, which you can edit, please write to AuthorTalia (AT) aol.com. It is Talia's public service, provided at no charge.

PROPOSED FEDERAL LEGISLATION
Conceived and Drafted by:
Richard Ducote, Esq.
1 Allegheny Sq # 455
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(412) 322-0750
Ducotelaw@aol.com


42 United States Code § 5105a. Protective Parent Reform Act

This Act shall be known as the "Protective Parent Reform Act." The purpose of this Act is to correct the trend in child custody and visitation cases wherein abused children, and children in homes where domestic violence exists, are placed by courts in the custody of the abusive or violent parent with the protective parent's custody, visitation, and contact with the child limited.

For any State or public agency to receive any assistance under the provisions of §§5106, 5106a, 5106(c), or 5116, for fiscal year 2005 and any year thereafter, the State or the State in which the public agency applicant is situated must demonstrate that effective June 1, 2005, the following safeguards have been effected and implemented either by statutory enactment or court rule promulgated by the highest court in the State, with such enactment or court rule applicable statewide in every court having jurisdiction over child custody, parental visitation, parenting time, parenting plans, conservatorship of children, or any other issue involving the residence of a child and the contact between the child and his or her parents, incidental to or following separation or divorce, or in connection with a paternity case where the parents have were not married, to ensure that a parent who reasonably believes that his or her child is threatened by child abuse or domestic violence, perpetrated or allowed by the other parent is not punished by the court, or otherwise penalized by loss or limitation of custody, contact, or visitation with his or her child, or the child denied the custody and contact with that parent, for that parent's having such reasonable belief and for acting lawfully in accordance with such belief:

(1) The prohibition against ex parte contacts with the judge hearing a child custody or child visitation case, as defined and controlled by state law, shall be specifically made applicable to child custody and child visitation cases, and shall, in addition to the general applicability of the prohibition, specifically include contacts between judges and guardians ad litem, minor’s counsel, custody evaluators, mental health professionals, mediators, screeners, and other such persons traditionally participating in child custody and visitation cases.

(2) The roles of guardians ad litem, minors' counsel, and children's attorneys shall be limited to advocating for the wishes of the child at issue, and to participating in the court proceedings by presentation of evidence and argument in the same manner as a parent's attorney. Such persons shall be prohibited from substituting their own opinions and judgments for the wishes of the child, submitting evidence which would be excluded under the applicable evidence law if tendered by any other party, and in no case shall such person be deemed a quasi-judicial officer or be granted any fact-finding role. This provision shall not require a State to mandate an attorney to represent any child in custody or visitation cases, but shall only be interpreted to the limit the role of such person when provided.

(3) Parents shall be provided full and timely access to all custody and mental health evaluations and reports which are to be considered in any custody or visitation proceeding, including all underlying data for such evaluations and reports, and shall be afforded the opportunity to depose prior to the trial and to cross examine at trial any and all mental health or custody evaluators who will testify in a custody or visitation proceeding.

(4) No expert opinion or expert evidence attempting to discredit a parent's motivation for asserting that his or her child is abused or at risk of the effects of domestic violence committed by the other parent, or attempting to discredit a child's report of such abuse or violence, shall be allowed in a custody or visitation case unless that opinion or evidence is based on concepts and theories generally accepted by the scientific community and supported by credible and admissible evidence of facts which can be established independently of that expert's opinion.

(5) Due process shall be afforded all parents in such custody and visitation cases, and such custody and visitation decisions removing custody, visitation, or contact from a parent who believes or asserts that his or her child is the victim of abuse or the effects of domestic violence perpetrated by the other parent shall not be made on the basis of written declarations or affidavits, or without adequate written advance notice and the opportunity to be heard as defined by state and federal constitutional law, even on a purportedly emergency basis, simply because that parent holds that belief. Furthermore, no such parent shall lose custody, visitation, or contact with a child based only on the opinion of a mental health professional that such parent is at risk of unlawfully fleeing with the child, unless credible and admissible evidence independent of the professional's opinion establishes that parent's plan or intent to flee.

(6) Court sponsored mediation, conciliation, and intake screening programs shall not make recommendations or fact-finding reports to the judge regarding child custody, visitation, or contact unless all parties freely agree in advance of the transmittal of such report, and any parent shall have the right to contest the report.

(7) No findings by any child protection agency shall be considered res judicata or collateral estoppel, and shall not be considered by the court unless all parents are afforded the opportunity to challenge any such determination.

(8) Whenever child abuse or domestic violence is an issue in a child custody or visitation case, no mental health professional or child custody evaluator who lacks specialized training and experience in child abuse or domestic violence relevant to the specific allegations shall be appointed by the court to conduct any evaluation in the case.

(9) Admissible evidence of child abuse or domestic violence shall be considered in any child custody or visitation case.

(10) No parent shall be deprived of custody, visitation, or contact with his or her child, nor restricted in such custody, visitation, or contact, nor shall such a child be placed in foster care, simply because that parent reasonably believes that his or her child is the victim of child abuse or the effects of domestic violence, and acts lawfully in response to such reasonable belief to protect the child or to obtain treatment for the child.

(11) No valid final order of protection or domestic violence restraining order rendered pursuant to the State's domestic violence or family violence protection statutes and filed with the State's protective order registry shall be violated by the award of custody or visitation to the perpetrator of domestic violence where such is prohibited by the domestic violence order of protection then in effect.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Conservative Christian Candidates

The sacred beliefs of many conservative, Christian, politicians pose a danger to human rights due to strongly held convictions about gender roles. In order to understand how this can be true, Woman this is WAR! Gender, Slavery and the Evangelical Caste System  is the book to read and recommend. 

Many conservative Christian politicians live and die by much of what is exposed and refuted in Woman this is WAR! . The book is a valuable resource for anyone who desires to educate others about where a candidate may really be coming from, for anyone who just wants to make an informed decision, or for concerned citizens to send to the candidates themselves. The author of Woman this is WAR!   recently received confirmation that a copy of her book had been recieved by the office of Sarah Palin.  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

March On DC Rally

March on Dc/

Date: Saturday, September 11th

Please join us on the afternoon of September 11th as we unite together on the National Mall and rededicate our lives to liberty, to the Constitution, and to the preservation of the values our nation was founded on. This is not a protest against our government. It is a rally FOR America!

Theme: I Will!
Pre March Gathering: 11:00am-11:45am

Where to Meet: Crowd will assemble between 11:00am and 11:45am in the area of the mall at Madison Dr NW and 4th St NW across the street from the National Gallery of Art (between the National Gallery of Art and the National Air and Space Museum) The March will begin at 12:00pm as the crowd proceeds to the Rally location down Constitution Ave and entering the Mall at the northeast corner of 15th street.

March Time: 12:00pm
March Location: 7th Constitution Ave
Rally Time: 1:00-4:00pm
Rally Location: Washington Monument Stage at 15th & Constitution Ave

This is not a protest against our government. It is a rally FOR America! We encourage you to bring signs but this year our signs need to be different. This year our signs need to display messages of hope, pride, and gratitude. We need signs that thank the troops and all those who are fighting to defend our liberty; signs that reverence God and the providential history of our nation; signs that pay tribute to our Founding Fathers; and signs that simply say I WILL!

  • I will dedicate my life to freedom 
  • I will read, honor, and respect the U.S. Constitution
  • I will stand united with my fellow patriots to preserve liberty
  • I will pay any price, I will make any sacrifice, I will do whatever it takes to ensure that America remains free for us, for our children and all those who will come after us.

 We are the people we’ve been waiting for! This is our nation. It is our freedom at stake. It is time to Unite as one nation under God to preserve the liberty that He gave us! It is time to heal our land!

Unite in Action! Be a part of history and preserve Liberty for the future. Join us September 9th through 12th as we MARCH ON D.C.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Child Custody Sessions at NCADV's Conference

FROM DISGRUNTLED LITIGANTS TO THE CANARIES OF THE CUSTODY COURT SYSTEM: Protective Mothers Were Right-They Are Being Mistreated by the Courts

Opening remarks from Ms. Joye E. Frost, Director, Office on Victims of Crime. The new book, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY establishes that the routine use of outdated and discredited practices has resulted in thousands of children being sent to live with abusers. The research is now readily available to challenge and prevent the common mistakes that so often harm children. The success of the abuser tactic seeking custody to maintain control over their victims and failure of the courts to recognize this tactic undermine the work of our movement and have led to an increase in domestic violence homicides after many years of declines.
  • Mo Therese Hannah will discuss the research available to help protective mothers.
  • Judge Mike Brigner will explain how judges are getting it wrong so often.
  • Garland Waller exposes the failure of the media to report this scandal.
  • Barry Goldstein will explain how to use this information in your home communities as we use the research in the book to reform the broken custody court system, prevent the unfair attacks on protective mothers and make sure no child has to cry herself to sleep because a court separated her from her safe, courageous, protective mother. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Annihilate Family Court

Family court reforms are urgently needed, but this monster doesn't just need to be reformed, it needs to die altogether. Is anybody pushing to get rid of family court entirely? If they are, can anyone tell me who?


Phyllis Schlafly, who wrote the Father's Day article,  "The Awesome Power of Family Courts"  is a powerful evangelical who is an enemy of women, but she is right about family court (I just wish she would advocate for "parents" instead of "fathers" She is very much in bed with the father supremist camp).

Schlafly's article is one reason I invited Janice Levinson, co-founder with Lundy Bancroft of the   Protective Mother's Alliance International to speak at the  Seneca Falls 2 Evangelical Woman's Rights Convention to be held in Orlando, FL later this month. It is a rotten shame that Phyllis Schlafly's voice is so loud and respected among evangelicals, and protective and/or non-custodial parents are not getting the support they need within that group. I want to see all of the above changed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Judge Mike Brigner on batterers, stats, and other Judges

Battered Mothers Custody Conference 2010


“Batters do not deserve First Offender status even if it is the first time they are in court. It is well documented that police are not called until the victim has been assaulted 5 to 6 times. And even then, it can be another 5 to 6 more assaults before he is called into court. Abusers are not first offenders.” So says Judge Mike Brigner, and he ought to know. He informs conference attendees that “batterers are notorious for battering while out on bail or probation. He stressed that, “We need to take these dangerous offenders seriously.”


Judge Brigner underscored the need for Judges and family court workers to be educated about the facts of domestic violence as so many judges continue to make decisions based on myth-understanding. One common misconception is that batterers are simply “good men” who are stressed out by divorce or separation. That could not be further from the truth.


Brigner was adamant that batterers do not just “suddenly snap” and beat their wives. “No,” he says, “They are in complete control. Their anger is not mismanaged…it is very well managed and focused—towards their wives. These guys don’t need anger management,” he said, “These guys could teach anger management.”


After blasting the myths of the “good man” under stress and the non-existent need for anger management, Judge Brigner addressed the fact that batterers are notorious dead beat dads, “Batterers are twice as likely to be in arrears on child support than non-batterers.” Some other statistics provided by Judge Brigner (citing sources as he went) was that 30% of Batterers will physically or sexually abuse their children. More recent studies show up to 70% with the newest citing up to 80%. The numbers are even more staggering if the mother has been battered 50 or more times during the relationship, the likelihood of the children being physically abused or molested increases to 99%.


Batterers are twice as likely to seek custody. Brigner says it is a “No Lose” situation for the abuser. Why? “Because they really don’t want the kids anyway.” While the mother stands to lose everything and often does, voluntarily giving up one thing after another in her negotiations with the abuser in efforts to protect her children. Joan Zorza, Esq., added that fear of losing her children often keeps a woman in an abusive situation much longer that she would choose to stay otherwise. Abusers use the children as weapons against the mother and property and pension rights (only a few of many examples) as bargaining chips.


Why do Judges typically hand down bad decisions in custody matters relating to domestic violence? Brigner says it is a combination of many things including the fact that most judges are overworked, and mistakenly believe that separation will end the violence. Some judges pigeonhole domestic violence as a criminal matter, falsely believing the criminal courts will handle the matter, therefore feel they should not have to deal with it. Some believe women are lying to them and are gender biased. Judges are misled by mental health professionals. In short, Judge Brigner says, “They are simply uninformed. Judges are required to have zero hours of domestic violence training, whereas one thousand or more hours of training is required before you can pick up a comb and be a hair dresser!”


Clearly, the efforts going on to educate Judges and family court workers about abusers and custody issues are not misplaced, and the need for these efforts is not underestimated.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What's the Next Court a Protective Parent will Find Themselves in After Family Court?

The Battered Mothers Custody Conference 2010 Day One & Two - part two

This country was built on the free enterprise system, but is family court taking things too far? This will vary from state to state, but for the poor and indigent, says Renee Beeker, a protective parent and long-time veteran of the family court holocaust, "family court will cost approximately $40 per hour with about 3 to 4 hours total in getting the case resolved." But…hold onto your hat folks…if a protective parent is not poor or indigent here is approximately what she (or he) can expect:


  • $250+ pr hr Attorney for the mother 
  • $200+ pr hr for Guardian Ad Litum (or more for attorney for the child) 
  • $240 pr hr for private negotiations 
  • $125 pr hr for counseling for the child 
  • $125 pr hr for counseling for the mother 
  • $125 pr hr for counseling for the father 
  • $125 pr hr for parenting coordinator 
  • $200 pr hr for mediation if parties can agree (-Vs- 15,000 if they can’t) 
  • $75++ pr hr for a visitation supervisor 
  • $75++ Child Therapist
 In some states add:
  • Psychological Evaluation (up to $20,000) 
  • Re-unification therapy (125+ pr hr)
  • Sexual Abuse Evaluation ( $200 pr hr)
“What’s the next court a protective mom is going to find herself in after family court?” says Beeker, “Bankruptcy Court!”

2010 Battered Mothers Custody ConferenceDay One & Two - part one

"Since "Christ," she wrote the word and underlined it twice. This has been happening since "Christ." Most of these women have been molested and raped and they all say the same thing, "Once your virginity has been stolen it doesn't matter, 10 men, 100 men, it is all the same."

I am trying to understand what I am hearing, so I ask for clarification, "You mean that many of these women are not selling their bodies to support a drug habit or otherwise extravagant lifestyle?


"None of them are." She was emphatic. “They are paying lawyer fees and court costs associated with protecting their children from abusers in custody hearings. They are just trying to keep their kids. They call me every day. I'm out on the streets working with these women, trying to help them. This is my story. This is my message. This is the seedy side of this issue that no one wants to deal with.”


Nicky, of course was not speaking of all prostitutes, nor of all mothers involved in prolonged custody battles, but rather about a special group of those she is personally in contact with on a daily basis.  I thought I had heard the worst at the 2008 Battered Mothers Custody Conference, but this on-the-side conversation with Nicky, attending the conference as an advocate, did me in. The tears I thought I had dried two years ago in a resolved effort to do something about the horror that is family court began flowing anew.


Garland Waller, creator of the film, “Small Justice,” talked about the “Yuck Factor,” and why the media refuses to cover the national shame and scandal of child molestation and custody injustice. “Children being molested and raped by their fathers is simply not something anyone wants to hear about when they come home from a long day at work and listen to the news during supper.” The subject is simply too distasteful to the American pallet. So it is with “Nicky’s” story. Even those who understand the multifaceted “Yucky” abuser/molester custody issue don’t want to delve too deeply into the “seedy” side of it—at least not yet.


Do all mothers who have to come up with attorney’s fees and court costs in order to protect their children end up like the mothers Nicky is talking about? The vast majority do not, but does that mean we ignore the plight of what Nicky claims is becoming epidemic,. "Especially since the recession, thousands,” she says, “they are in every state, every city.”


Wendy Murphy, attorney and author of the book, And Justice for Some, shared a tragic story of a mother ordered by the court to surrender her two children into harm’s way, within easy reach of a father who was sexually molesting them. The day came to surrender the children, but the children did not show up. The police went to the mother’s home to forcibly take the children from her. They found bodies—both Mother and children were dead, victims of murder suicide. Who is guilty of murder here? The dead mother? or the judge who ordered her to do the unthinkable?


What will a desperate mother do to protect her children?


Almost anything it seems.


Author, workshop leader, and activist, Lundy Bancroft says it is a cruel injustice to harm children by removing them from the home of a caring parent—either mother or father—but it is especially cruel when that parent is a mother.” He went on to say, “I am a great father. I adore my kids—but I am not a mother. I believe fathers should have 50% custody…as soon as they are taking 50% of the responsibility for the child, including 50% of the pregnancy…and 50% of the breast feeding.”


Attorney Barry Goldstein, the first male to become involved with the annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference, talked about the broken system and gender bias which places a higher burden of proof on women than on men in custody proceedings. He cited two cases in which there was a “100% certainty” standard of evidence given for mothers and a “50% probability” standard of evidence given for fathers. 15-20 different judges looked at these cases and saw nothing wrong with placing a “certainty” standard on the testimony of a woman and only a “probability” standard on the testimony of a man, yet, as Goldstein pointed out, “This is a blatant rights violation.”


Were these judges bribed? Do they hate women? “No,” Goldstein says, the system is broken…misinformation is so deeply ingrained that even when presented with overwhelming evidence, they (the judges) cannot see it.”


In relating the issue of custody to the issue of domestic violence, Goldstein asserts that the broken system that supports abusers in the family courts undermines 30 years of progress in the domestic violence arena.