Child Abuse


June 10, 2010:

A horrific story of murder committed by the Taliban that  has sent shockwaves of grief across the world..

Taliban militants kidnap a 7-year old boy from the Sangin district of the southern province of Helmand in Afghanistan. The boy was kidnapped while playing in his garden then put on “trial” and convicted of spying for the government and foreign forces in the region. The child was hanged, his lifeless body was found swinging from a tree near his village.

 
The boy’s grandfather had been organizing a local villagers to take a stand against the Taliban. The boy’s murder is believed to be an act of retaliation. The Taliban have ruthlessly terrorized the people of Sangin with acts of violence and oppression, including executing countless innocent civillians.  Please keep the people of Sangin in your prayers <3 

 
My thoughts and prayers go out to this boy, there really is a God who loves you, may you rest peacefully in His arms. To his friends and family, and all the people of Sangin–I can’t imagine what kind of justice demands the death of an innocent child, I pray for your freedom and your safety.

A verse for you, have hope & stay strong:

Isaiah 31:12-14, “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, And declare it in the isles afar off, and say, 
      … Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden,
      And they shall sorrow no more at all. 
      “ Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance,
      And the young men and the old, together;
      For I will turn their mourning to joy,
      Will comfort them,
      And make them rejoice rather than sorrow. 
       I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance,
      And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD.”

______________

Sources:

Thaiindian News, Retrieved 6/13/2010, “7-year-old boy killed by Taliban for Spying” by Pen Men At Work.
 
The Journal of the Turkish Weekly, Retrieved 6/13/2010. “Taliban Execute 7-year-old Afghan Boy Accused of Spying”: http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/103131/taliban-execute-7-year-old-afghan-boy-accused-of-spying.html

http://www.watton.org

I had a redaer request faith based domestic violence resources, this is what I could find online. Please check the source for accuracy.

If anyone knows of any church or spiritual resources, please post!

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) 1.800.787.3224 (TTY)
Anonymous & Confidential Help 24/7.http://www.ndvh.org/

CALIFORNIA:
Shalom Bayit: Ending Domestic Violence in Jewish Homes (for teens & adults). Oakland, CA:http://www.shalom-bayit.org/

FLORIDA:
St. Rita Ministry, (Domestic Violence Resource Ministry at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando FL:http://saintritaministry.catholicweb.com/

Vida Nueva Christian Reformed Church of Miami Lakes, Fla offers domestic violence support group:http://www.thebanner.org/magazine/article.cfm?article_id=2238

ILLINOIS: Focus Ministries, Elmhurst. Support Groups, Prayer, Education/Training, Newsletter, Resources. :http://www.focusministries1.org/

MICHIGAN: Looking For My Sister, Oak Park. Spiritual Counseling, Support Groups, Transitional Housing, Education/Training, Youth Programs. http://www.lookingformysister.org

MINNESOTA:

The Dwelling Place St. Paul: Christian-Based Transitional Housing, Support Groups, Counseling & Bible Studies/Prayer Ministry: :http://www.thedwellingplaceshelter.org/

Hiding, Hurt Healing, Biblically based support group for women who have been abused and are seeking to rebuild their lives: http://www.hidinghurtinghealing.com/

MONTANA: Blackfeet Domestic Abuse Program, Browning. Reduce domestic violence on Blackfeet reservation includes a 13-week structured program for abusers that will be provided in lieu of jail, with a major focus on developing participants’ cultural identity and tribal values.
Blackfeet Domestic Abuse Program
Blackfeet Tribe
Browning, MT 59417
406-338-2933

VIRGINIA: Bethany House, Alexandria (Shelter and Support).
Domestic Violence Helpline: 703-658-9500: http://www.bhnv.org/index.html

WASHINGTON D.C. METRO AREA: Ayuda (for children and adults) offers holistic, multi-lingual legal and social assistance for low-income immigrants in the areas of immigration, human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault: http://www.ayudainc.org

OTHER RESOURCES:

Domestic Violence Prevention & Education in Faith-Based Communities (Interfaith, Islam, Christianity and Judiasm included)::http://new.vawnet.org/category/Main_Doc.php?docid=837

Spiritual Sude of Domestic Violence, Biblical Perspective on Domestic Violence: http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org//

How to Start a Christian Support Group in Your Community: :

http://heartshealing.org/startagroup.html/

“churches can make the goal of ending domestic abuse a prominent part of their ministry…Standing together, churches can become powerful first-responder networks that help create zero tolerance for intimate partner and dating violence throughout the communities they serve. First, pastors and their teams must learn to recognize the signs and, then, how to address domestic abuse without jeopardizing the abused person’s safety.” Domestic Violence and the Church (What churches can to stop domestic violence & support families):http://www.eagles-wings-ministry.com/dv-church.html

http://i64.photobucket.comif
 
 
Family justice reform in England and Wales to promote the use of mediation, in hopes the parents can work it out between themselves before engaging in custody proceedings, as a bonus it will save some money (especially for those needing a public defender). No mention of domestic abuse in this article, and I am not familiar with the justice system in England and Wales. Can anyone provide any more info, please post below.

The problem with mediation is that it does not enforce a system of justice or fair rules–and it may lead to further trauma for the children, and prolonged litigation. For victims of domestic violence, mediation may put their lives at risk or force a partner to agree just because they are afraid. Mediation does not address the serious issues, and conflicts that arise in custody proceedings and it cannot ensure the safety of children. And in certain cases, it can actually prevent a parent from the protection of the law.

I went through a form of mediation myself, and so I may be biased… After two years of family court litigation, I was beaten down by the system and had all my rights taken away. An abusive, wanted fugitive with a serious mental illness known to cause violence was granted temporary custody of my two children. Temporary lasted for a year and a half and was just an excuse to create just cause so the children would remain with my ex. The system completely failed my family, I had no protection under the law–and no one was listening to my concerns. I was caught between more abuse in family court or just putting up with one abuser–my ex.

My case involves allegations of abuse against myself and my children at the hands of my ex. We became homeless after he physically attacked me. Then he threatened to make up stories that I am crazy and take the kids from me. I did not believe such a thing was possible until it actually happened. After two years of litigation, I went into an informal mediation for permanent custody.

During the process, I was being threatened by my Guardian ad Litem that if I don’t come to an agreement with my abuser “Things could get much worse” and “I have seen how custody trials go, you are lucky to get as much time with your kids as you have”. She told me this just after I spent most the year in supervised visitation for bogus, made up charges–and all my visits went extremely well, and they could find nothing wrong with my parenting.

Anyways, my ex spent “mediation” threatening me, and using my kids as a bargaining chip to get his way. He was making bizarre religious comments to me and saying stuff like “God tells me when the kids can have time with you” and telling me I need to “forgive” him, and coming up with bits of Bible verse to support whatever agenda he has. Like a dummy, I thought we came to an agreement. I have spent at least 6 months trying to get my life together, my ex has refused to comply with the terms of our mediation, He admitted to sabotaging the agreement because he is angry with me, and feels I do not deserve rights to my children. Both my children have suffered. My son’s mental health has gotten so bad, I fear he will have a nervous breakdown and he is 9 years old. And we are going back to court because mediation failed, and I am demanding something more be done…

So my advise, be careful. You want the best. You want a compromise, and things to get back to normal. But you also need your rights, and to be heard and respected for any agreement to happen. If mediation works–great! But in high conflict situations, you may need more help, and more reinforcement to get issues resolved. DO NOT COMPROMISE YOUR SAFETY OR THAT OF YOUR CHILDREN. Seek legal advise before entering into any agreement.

Evanlee Perth, 2010

PS- Post your tips or thoughts below

Website: http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/newsrelease200110a.htm

ARTICLE:

TITLE: Fundamental review of the family justice system announced

DATE:  20 January 2010

An expert panel will examine reform of the current family justice system in England and Wales so that it better supports children and parents under a wide-ranging review announced by the Ministry of Justice today. The review will look at the best methods for avoiding confrontational court hearings, and encouraging the use of mediation to deliver fairer and less acrimonious settlements that place the needs and interests of children at the heart of the system.

The announcement today is part of the cross-government Families and Relationships Green Paper, published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, which looks at how to reduce conflict when relationships break down as part of wider government support for the family. The paper also contains proposals which would make it compulsory for privately-funded clients of the family justice system to consider using mediation before having child access disputes are heard in court – bringing it into line with the current system covering families represented by legal aid. Justice Secretary Jack Straw said: ‘We know that for many families the current family justice system is proving far too complicated, and its adversarial nature can lead to bitter, lengthy court hearings, prolonging what is already a stressful and emotionally draining experience. ‘While the vast majority of separating parents settle their disputes privately, for those who do need to access to the system we need to find a better, fairer way to forge lasting agreements for the care of children.

Research shows that children adjust to family breakdown better when a couple manages to maintain working relations following a separation – the review is about making sure the justice system helps parents to achieve this.’ The government will also continue its work on ensuring people involved in family proceedings know about the availability and benefits of mediation, through providing online information on mediation and exploring ways to reach families with the information they need before their case comes to court. It will also work with the Family Mediation Council to build on existing accreditation schemes for mediators. Additionally we are asking for peoples’ views on whether making family mediation assessment sessions compulsory for privately-funded court users, bringing them into a similar regime as legally aided court users, will increase awareness and take up of family mediation. A Review Panel, made up of independent and government representatives, will be appointed in the coming weeks, and will consider wider perspectives from a range of people involved in or experiencing the family justice system and will include possible calls for evidence, focus groups and formal consultation as part of its work.

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families said: ‘Children are often caught up in the middle when parents decide to separate and this can have a devastating impact on their lives and their future relationships. Whilst family relationships are very private matters, there is a role for government to help families find ways to resolve conflict faster in order to limit the negative impact on children’s wellbeing. ‘The majority of parents have their children’s best interests at heart and are committed to making the separation process as easy as possible for their family. However, this is a difficult time and that many separating parents struggle to establish contact agreements, to communicate effectively with one another and to continue to parent cooperatively. That is why we are giving parents better information about mediation earlier on in the separation process so that we can help families, especially children, through this difficult time.’

Family Justice Review terms of reference Family Justice Review terms of reference (PDF 0.02mb 2 pages)

Notes to editors For more information, please contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3536. For more information on the wider Green Paper on Families and Relationships please call the DCSF Press office on 020 7340 8188.

____________

A related article: Vulnerable women and children bear brunt of cuts in family justice system, The Bar Council, 3/9/2009: http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/news/press/671.html

“When she finally left him and tried to take her girls with her, she encountered a new monster — family court..”

Title: Custody Crisis: Why Moms Are Punished in Court

Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Written for Mom Logic, posted on United Angels Against Domestic Violence, UAADV, News Blog at: http://uaadvnewsblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/national-child-custody-crisis-why-are.html

My Thoughts: I highly recommend this article. It is  very informative and gives voice to so many mothers who are victimized then forced into silence. For those just learning about Family Court Abuse, this article is very insightful and offers both sides of the argument while remaining focused on advocating for vulnerable children.

Summary :

“..fathers are more likely than mothers to intentionally lie (21 percent, compared to 1.3 percent). In fact, abusive parents are more likely to seek sole custody than nonviolent ones, and are successful about 70 percent of the time.”

This article includes several true-life horror stories from Family Court and includes insights into why Family Court so often fails to protect victims of domestic violence and their children. It also touches on the highly controversial “Parental Alienation Syndrome” or PAS.

Some of the Stories:

When Gina Kaysen Fernandes gains the strength to leave her abusive husband, and seek help for her two daughters, both victims of sexual abuse, she encounters a new form of abuse in family court. Gina bravely fights to keep her children safe only to loose custody.

 Linda Marie Sacks, another mother, shares a similar story. She says the judge “legally kidnapped my daughters”. After 11 years of marriage, Linda Marie files for divorce with concerns that her husband had been molesting her two daughters–who were sexually acting out and one, reportedly drew a picture in therapy “that depicted her father as an erect penis on legs”. Not only did Linda Marie loose her legal rights to her children but she was forced into supervised visitation after being falsely accused of Parental Alienation Syndrome, “Linda Marie has only seen her children during supervised visits for a total of 54 hours over the past two and a half years.” Linda Marie Sacks will never stop fighting for her children.

Another mother, Lorraine Tipton of Oconto Falls, WI, was jailed for 30 days after she refused to force her daughter to visit every other week with her allegedly abusive ex-husband. The Court found no concerns with the father despite his arrest record “Her ex, Craig Hensberger, was arrested three times for domestic violence and once for child abuse. His criminal record also includes two DUI arrests, one of which happened while driving with his daughter.” Hensberger admitted in Court that he is still drinking, and the daughter has also reported that she has seen her father drunk on numerous occasions.

Joyce Murphy, of San Diego, took off with her daughter after the Court granted custody to her allegedly abusive ex husband. The father, Henry Parson, was accused of child molestation. He countered the allegations by accusing Joyce of Parental Alienation, and won custody. Six years later, Parson was caught in the act of child rape, “pleaded guilty to six counts of child abuse, which included oral sex with a child, molestation, possessing child porn, and using a child to make porn.” It is sickening to think Parson only got 6 years in prison while the children involved will suffer for a lifetime! Joyce Murphy was able to win full, permanent custody of her daughter after the conviction. It is unclear if any member of Family Court was investigated or penalized for their role in returning a child to an abusive home.

These stories are unbelievable but true–and are just the tip of the iceburg. Family Court does not conduct criminal investigations when allegations of abuse arise–even when children are involved, instead they rely on their own court-appointed experts (guardian ad litem, psychologist, evaluators, mediators, etc) for counsel and direction. These court-appointed experts usually do not have the training to deal with abuse allegations, and without a jury or other form of representation, most mothers are at the mercy of these experts–who hold the esteem of judges and have nearly invincible power. Most women cannot afford an attorney and will end up bankrupt after lengthy legal proceedings, or will attempt to represent herself.

At the same time, most women don’t want to go to criminal court or don’t have a strong enough case for criminal charges. And Child Protective Services will usually shy away from investigating custody cases or refer to the findings of the court experts already appointed.

Another weapon used against mothers is Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS, “There’s no doubt fathers play a critical role in a child’s life, and in most cases, are equally loving and capable parents who deserve custody. However, studies find when a wife accuses her husband of abuse, more than half the time, she faces a counter-accusation of “parental alienation syndrome,” or PAS. ” PAS is not a certified medical condition–it seemingly only afflicts women at the onset of divorce (not at any other time in life) and has no recognized cure or course of treatment. PAS has on main symptom–a mother becomes so angry at her ex that she will make up stories of abuse in order to denigrate him, and turn the children against him, which is “alienation”. PAS means the very act of divorce creates cause for suspicion of “alienation“. This article does balance the debate and includes opinions by Dean Tong, author and forensic consultant, who supports PAS.

When you are finished reading, go check out the UAADV link to your state!

Sending my support and encouragement to UAADV and to all mothers fighting to protect their children, Evanlee

“When people have tremendous power,
it’s real easy to abuse that power.” — Dr. Phil, 2007.

Official site of Dr. Phil McGraw: http://www.drphil.com/

The Cycle of Abuse

Title: (Opinion) Child abuse: when family courts get it wrong  

Author: Kathleen Russell, cofounder and staff consultant to the Center for Judicial Excellence in Marin County, CA

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

Retrieved: 12/30/2009 http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2009/1014/p09s02-coop.html

Summary: Family Courts are awarding custody to dangerous, abusive parents, “according to one conservative estimate, more than 58,000 children per year are ordered by family courts into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following divorce in the United States…”. Victims of domestic violence seeking protection for their children in Family Court are often punished for speaking out against abuse, the effects of this are devastating–especially for vulnerable children placed in the custody of alleged abusers.

The injustice and bias victims of domestic violence face in Family Court can seem beyond belief–we want to believe the courts uphold the laws, that everyone is guaranteed equal justice. Sadly, that is not the case. Some of the most horrendous stories of abuse and injustice come from Family Court. In her article “Child abuse, when family courts get it wrong”, Kathleen Russell provides an overview about the breakdown of justice in Family Court, when abuse victims are ignored or punished for seeking help and children are placed in the custody of abusers.

Russell also discusses the infamous Parental Alienation Syndrome “PAS” which is used to take children from protective parents by claiming the allegations of abuser are not valid, but are signs the parent is attempting to “alienate” the child from the other parent. The court’s attention then moves away from abuse and instead begins to focus on the “uncooperative” parent, who is causing distraction to avoid sharing custody. Actual statistics prove the opposite, “Though rare, false allegations of abuse do occur. Research on child sexual abuse indicates that close to 98 percent of children who claim sexual abuse in the context of a high conflict divorce are telling the truth, yet family courts routinely proceed as if the opposite were true…” And yet, protective parents are losing custody at alarming numbers, and for many have their contact with children is limited to costly supervised visitation centers, monitored phone calls or other types of brief exchanges.

Russell emphasizes there is a real need for Family Court reform, and highlights some of the initiatives to do so. This was a very informative article, and a great place to start for those new to the topic. Russell takes a difficult subject and breaks it down in an easy to read format.

Evanlee Perth, 2009.

Center for Judicial Excellence Online: http://www.centerforjudicialexcellence.org

Article: Tell Your Children the Truth

Author: Dr. Sam Vaknin

Source: Online, http://samvak.tripod.com/abuse13.html (Retrieved 12/22/2009)

Summary: Should you tell your child about domestic abuse that occurred in your family or just move on with your life? What are the repercussions for not talking to your child about domestic abuse that occurred in the home?

“Most victims attempt to present to their children a “balanced” picture of the relationship and of the abusive spouse. In a vain attempt to avoid the notorious (and controversial) Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), they do not besmirch the abusive parent and, on the contrary, encourage the semblance of a normal, functional, liaison. This is the wrong approach. Not only is it counterproductive – it sometimes proves outright dangerous…” — Dr. Vaknin

According to Dr. Vaknin, children have a right to know the truth about abuse in the family, and to know the relationship between the parents is over. Children will tend to blame themselves for the break-up of their parents. Dicussing the issues honestly, and in a straight forward manner will not only relieve some of the child’s guilt and anxiety but also help in the healing process.

Dr. Vaknin warns that when talking to children, avoid blame or bad mouthing the other parent. It is important that the parent teach the child appropriate behaviors, and how to develop healthy boundaries. The best example is the one a parents models for a child. Dr. Vaknin recommends explaining what abuse is and that abusive or hurtful behavior is not okay. “Teach your children to avoid your paranoid ex and to report to you immediately any contact he has made with them. Abusive bullies often strike where it hurts most – at one’s kids. Explain the danger without being unduly alarming. Make a distinction between adults they can trust – and your abusive former spouse, whom they should avoid.”  He goes on to elaborate that children should be taught to identify warning signs of abuse, and how to be assertive so they can vocalize their needs, and get help if necessary.

Dr. Vaknin also discusses the abuser’s personality and their parenting style (ie: treating the child as an object, incest, and different types of conflict). He offers a lot of experience and insight on this topic, which is not comforting but may answer some questions for the victim, and will educate others on abuse. This site also offers alot of articles and information.

 Finally. Dr. Vaknin offers some advise for victims to survive their abuser and ongoing methods of abuse and/or intimidation (http://samvak.tripod.com/abuse15.html). His advise is to ignore the abuser but also to follow the guidelines set by the court, if there is any court involvement.

Do NOT contravene the decisions of the system. Work from the inside to change judgments, evaluations, or rulings – but NEVER rebel against them or ignore them. You will only turn the system against you and your interests..” There is about 15-20 suggestions which may be helpful, including not to react blindly when triggered by your abuser–think things through before acting. You may be walking into a trap, by which your abuser will manipulate, humiliate or further undermine you by causing you to react out of emotion.

I really like what Dr. Vaknin has to offer, he is very thorough and clearly is very experienced. The article is a bit lengthy, and tend to drift away from the initial subject. But it is worth a look, and has a lot to offer.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE….

What really hit home about Tell Your Children the Truth is that Family Court personnel advised just the opposite–I was told not to talk about abuse, I was told I could not “prove” it happened and I was criticized for efforts to seek help for myself.

 I can understand if court personnel needed to weigh the issues, and at times they, for whatever reason, chose to side with my abuser…the problem is family court ignored glaring evidence of ongoing abuse towards my children, and held my abuser to a very different standard than what was expected of me. My abuser has a history of violence, including getting into a bar fight which resulted in him being stabbed. He was also diagnosed with personality disorder, and his statements were found to be unreliable. Yet, under the guise of “the best interests of the child” I was told to lie about abuse in my family , and basically smile and act like everything is fine.

Dr. Vankin is right when he says this is dangerous for the children. I have seen my children suffer tremendously and my son is now becoming abusive towards his sister and I. To lie is to enable the abuser–it does not resolve problems, and encourages further violence.

On so many levels, Dr. Vaknin described my abuser exactly. It was as if Dr. Vaknin knew my abuser better than I do! My abuser has a history of having relations with vulnerable young girls barely out of their teenage years, including a female cousin… “Minors pose little danger of criticizing the abuser or confronting him….The narcissistic parent derives gratification from having incestuous relations with adulating, physically and mentally inferior, inexperienced and dependent “bodies”….” And when the abuser perceives the victim as a threat, “He wants to get away, to abandon his commitments to people who have become totally useless (or even damaging) to him. He does not understand why he has to support them, or to suffer their company and he believes himself to have been deliberately and ruthlessly trapped...” The abuser then may escalate the violence, he may also become paranoid and begins to push his family away (and will justify this by taking the victim role).

It does not make me feel better to read articles like this. Often I will become more fearful for my children. What does help is having the information, and knowing that I am not crazy or making this up…my concerns are valid. And sometimes that bit of information will give the strength needed to keep fighting for justice, and to keep fighting for my children.

E.J. Perth, 2009

Thank-You, Dr, Vaknin for posting your articles online, and offering your advise and thoughts to us all!

An Angel for all the little ones…

How do you get through the holidays remaining safe and sane, especially in situations that
a) trigger memories of trauma or abuse?
b) involve dealing with people who have hurt or abused you?
c) have to transition your kids to an abuser OR won’t have your kids on the holidays?

Post your tips, strategies and encouragements here.

_________________________________
Dealing with Painful Memories:

*The holidays are what YOU make it–don’t worry about making elaborate meals or spending the last of your money on gifts or other stressors, take care of yourself and your priorities. Be creative and willing to try new things
* Join a support group or have a plan to call a trusted friend or family member
* Anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress will grip you and then it’s hard to rebound. Make a plan for difficult times–this may includ ways to lift your mood, support systems, ways to cope with stressors and emergency numbers
* If the holidays are difficult, don’t push yorself or make changes at this time. Don’t work longer hours or force yourself to endure hectic shopping. Give yourself some TLC
*Take time to do something you enjoy

Dealing with People Who Have Hurt or Abused You:

*Choose not to be around certain people OR if you have to be around them, make a plan (ie: having someone there for support, setting a time limit or being firm with boundaries are some ideas)
*What do you want for the holidays? What do you cherish about your family time? Focus on what is important to you, and stand for it. Nasty people don’t have to ruin your holidays!
*Find a support group or make plans to be with friends or family members who offer love and encouragement
* Set very clear boundaries. You have the power to say “yes” or “no” to what feels right to you
* One book I found that was helpful is “Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy & Reclaiming Your Life” by Dr. Susan Forward

Transferring Children to an Abuser:

* Have someone with you OR If you can’t have someone come with, maintan contact with another person on a cell phone so you can confirm you arrived safely
* Conduct exchanges in a public location or police station. Stand near a location with at least 2 exits. Stand in front of security cameras. Stand as close as possible to a receptionist, cashier, security guard or other safe person
* Keep a notebook to record the dates and times the exchange happened, note anything unusual or if the other party is late (etc)
* Get the kids in/out as quick as possible (My abuser would manipulate the kids at exchanges. One time he promised to take my son to a toy store so my son cried and threw a fit bc he didn’t want to go home with me. My abuser later went to court and said I am a bad mom, and my kids don’t want to be with me…that’s part if the reason the notebook is important)
Say your good-byes to your kids BEFORE getting to the exchange location

K wrote a previous post on how to cope with holidays when you don’t have your kids:

http://parentingabusedkids.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/holidays-without-your-child/

Blessings, Evanlee, 2009.

This is just some ideas rolling around in my head about Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). If you actually worked for Family Court Services, and were hearing PAS allegations—how do you approach PAS while being fair and impartial???

These are my ideas…

The Allegation: Parental Alienation Sydrome “PAS”/Malicious Mom Syndrome

  • Require regular (yearly) mandatory training for Family Court Staff including topics such as ethics, domestic violence, children and trauma and state regulations. This training should be certified and all providers should be thoroughly checked to ensure it is from a credible institution (not some organization with an agenda).

      This can be done! Professions like teaching and mortgage origination have mandatory training…

  • Conduct routine audits, performance reviews and satisfaction surveys (anonymously) of Family Court Services as well as follow up on resolved cases
  • In order to be fair and impartial, I believe Family Courts should not use the term “Malicious Mom Syndrome” because it is biased, and creates an accusation that is almost irreversible
  • Family court personnel should remain independent and neutral while also working together. It should not be that one staff member is just agreeing with another staff member just because—this creates division, and unnecessary strain on the family
  • There should be a way to reprimand, punish or even terminate employment for family court staff who act inappropriately (and clear guidelines should be set for conduct, behavior, ethics and job expectations)
  • Assess who is making the allegations of PAS, assess also allegations of domestic violence and child abuse (including allegations the child may have witnessed acts of violence). BOTH parties should be held to the same standards.
  • Similarly, if PAS is indeed a real syndrome, then both fathers and mothers—as well as other caretakers should be considered for it.

      Family court staff  should also be suspect for creating alienation against one favored parent, if needed, should be investigated and reprimanded. There should be red flags for certain types of behavior—several one sided reports that seem to condemn or denigrate one parent over the other, staff giving legal advise to one parent, serious or ongoing allegations of child abuse ignored, complaints against staff (past and present) etc…

  • Consider the origin of symptoms—was PAS present before the custody proceedings were initiated? Has anyone other than the accusing party witnessed any concerns? Is there any medical or forensic documentation to support PAS OR disprove it?
  • Consider whether there is any other explanation for the suspect behavior—and investigate. Example: Parent hesitant and/or fearful but claiming domestic violence…before blindly slapping the parent with the label PAS, investigate these claims and gather more information
  • Gather collateral information: Doctor reports, Court psych evals, Visitation logs, Family studies, School reports, Parent history, etc
  • Consider behavior by parent making allegations that may be abusive, threatening, or alienating.

      Here is a good example: My abusive ex ctells the Guardian ad Litem that I am  “alienating” the children from him.  As “proof” he claims that he gave my child a birthday card and that I ripped it up & threw it away.  GAL believes these allegations without investigating the claims, and never spoke to me. She writes a       report, which is handed in to the Court, claiming I am “alienating” the children  from their father, and using this incident to support her claims. It NEVER  happened! I actually have the birthday card, and saved it for my child. I even produced the card for the GAL—but by then it was too late. The GAL report had been issued to the Court, I have been negatively portrayed and the GAL  refused to retract her remarks.

Parents should have a means to defend themselves in court, and to correct false or misleading statements with truth and fact. When a parent is silenced, threatened      and their voice is ignored that is alienation!

  • Consider factual evidence, research, data and statistics concerning PAS—is this even a valid syndrome? What are the risks to the family? Are there other theories or information available that would better explain the situation OR support credible facts?
  • Would you consider Dr. Richard Garnder a reliable witness? If you were to hold Dr. Gardner to the same standards as a parent sitting in front of you….what would your recommendation be? Seriously, think about it before adopting PAS.

 I am just getting started here….please feel free to add your thoughts and other ideas…

 Evanlee, 2009

Parental Alienation Syndrome: What Professionals Need To Know Part 1 of 2 By Erika Rivera Ragland 1 & Hope Fields 2 (American Prosecutors Research Institute,Update – Volume 16, Number 6, 2003) : http://www.ndaa.org/publications/newsletters/update_volume_16_number_6_2003.html

Parental Alienation Syndrome Information on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), SMART Ritual Abuse Pages: http://ritualabuse.us/research/parental-alienation-syndrome/

 

A rally of more than 50 people gathered in Newwark to protect bias, abuse and injustice in the family court system. The protestors argued that there is a crisis in family court that perpetuates abuse, and puts children in harm’s way by denying mothers of their legal rights and awarding custody to violent, abusive fathers

Source: New Jersey Real Time News, http://www.nj.com/

Paul Brubacker/The Star Ledger

Web Address: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/newark_protesters_rally_agains.html#post

Date: April 27, 2009

A rally of more than 50 people gathered in front of the Wilentz Justice Complex on Washington Street (Newark) to protect bias, abuse and injustice in the family court system. The protestors argued that there is a crisis in family court that perpetuates abuse, and puts children in harm’s way by denying mothers of their legal rights and awarding custody to violent, abusive fathers. The protestors further argued that the custody decisions are based on bias, and often ignore or dismiss entirely allegations of abuse.

  Evan Stark, a professor at Rutgers University’s School of Public Affairs and Administration comments that, “In the last 30 years, every institution in this society has changed its views toward domestic violence…Only in the family court do the obsolete beliefs that were discredited everywhere else in society still prevail.”

Supporters of the family court system contend the system is fair, and that judges do their best to make fair rulings, often involving tough decisions, when parents cannot agree on who will raise the children.

Personally, I believe the truth is evident within the court proceedings themselves. The treatment of both parties by family court staff, the way the evidence is handled, and the logic behind the court’s conclusions speak volumes about what is really happening.

Take Action! Leave a comment about your experiences with famiy court, or your concerns for your children, at the bottom of this article

FACT (Families Against Court Travesties):The parent with the most money, power, and influence is somehow able to convince judges that only their side need be heard in order to make a decision…To make matters worse, throughout the country, women are losing custody of their children to men with histories of child abuse and domestic violence. These men know how to manipulate the judicial system.”

NOW developed FACTS, a Court Watch system with volunteers who observe courtroom proceedings, review the behavior of the judges and attorneys, and plan actions to address this crisis.  Visit online to see how you can help: http://www.factscourtwatch.org/

 

“In family court, the standard of proof is on a balance of probabilities, which means that one person’s story is more likely to be true than the other person’s story…Unfortunately many of the people involved in family law and court — judges, lawyers, court clerks, mediators and others — have no appropriate training in violence against women, so they do not always recognize it or know the best way to respond. The law and processes also do not reflect the realities and needs of women from marginalized communities as well.”,  Family Law Overview by Pamela Cross LLB.  Springtide Resources Legal Fact Sheet: http://www.springtideresources.org/resources/show.cfm?id=218

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