Lundy Bancroft will be speaking in Minnesota at the upcoming conference “Behind Closed Doors: A Deeper Look Into Domestic Abuse, Sexual Assault, and the Effects of Trauma”.

The conference hosted by Saving Grace, a local non-profit, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For more info, visit: Saving Grace Facebook

For more information, and registration, please visitBehind Closed Doors Conference – St. Paul, MN – 10/27/2017

DATE AND TIME

Fri, October 27, 2017

7:30 AM – 4:30 PM

 

LOCATION

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation

451 Lexington Parkway North

Saint Paul, MN 55104

 

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE:

Through plenary presentation and breakout sessions, participants will gain in-depth knowledge of the multiple and complex factors associated with abuse and trauma.

“Behind Closed Doors” will provide education and training:

  • To understand the effects of verbal/emotional, physical, sexual, and interpersonal violence; trauma and recovery in adults and children.
  • To identify the short and long-term impact of domestic violence and sexual assault; emotional, mental, physical, economical, financial, and legal.
  • To understand the effects of trauma on the brain, in adults and children, and utilize Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview techniques.
  • To increase professional collaboration efforts of community partners in being able to identify, interrupt, and influence a positive change in the outcomes of batterers and victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking.

    Lundy Bancroft

Lundy Bancroft will be presenting as a keynote speaker on “Why Does He Do That?: The Profile and Tactics of Men Who Abuse Women“. Lundy will also host 3 break out sessions in a smaller group setting on the following: “Meeting the Post-Separation Needs of Women and Children”, “Assessing Risk to Children from Men Who Batter” and “Advocacy and Legal Representation for Women in Custody Disputes.”

Behind Closed Doors” will then be followed by several break out sessions, so participants can chose the subjects they want to learn more about and customize the conference to their interests and/or needs.

The break out sessions are conducted by a wide variety of experts including therapists, nurses, law enforcement, child protection worker, victim advocates, legal professionals and other community professionals.

Topics Include: 

*Understanding Trauma

*Effects of Violence and Trauma on Children

*Documentation and Care of the Patient

*Family Court and Legal Issues

*Best Practices in Sex Trafficking Investigations

*Challenging Bias, Beliefs and Assumptions

*Understanding Multi-Cultural Issues in Domestic Violence Situations

And more…

Public and professionals are invited to attend what will be an interesting, and informational event!

“Behind Closed Doors” is specifically designed for Social Workers, Child Protection Workers, Teachers, School Counselors, Lawyers, Law Students, Child Custody Evaluators, Guardians Ad Litem, Parenting Consultants, Judges, Law Enforcement, Investigators, Probation Officers, Health Care and Mental Health Professionals, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Advocates, Physicians, Nurses, and Forensic Nurses. *CEU’s, CLE’s, & POST credits are being applied for*

 

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“How are you, what terrors are you going through? Hiding it from the Abuser, the One you ran from, and are now imprisoned in his home..”

A YouTube video with absolutely no sound leaves an impression even more powerful than the mighty roar of a lion… “Silent Child” by Family Court Abuse is a narrative/poem about the pain, grief and fear a parent experiences after their child has been placed in the custody of an abuser by an unjust order of the family court.  As a result of the ruling, the parent has been forced out of the life of their child, and can only speak through the stark black and white images of this silent video. 

The video description reads: “This is about Family Court decisions to seperate children and mothers who are victims of domestic abuse/violence, giving custody to an abusive father, how they are broken and silenced by courtroom tactics, and the painful silent space left in the home of the child and heart of the mother (and child). The lack of training in domestic abuse for Judges and Cafcass is a strong influence on decisions to force children into damaging and traumatic situations with an abuser.

What is portrayed in “Silent Child” is REAL and happening to parents in the United States, U.K. and all over the world…. family courts are awarding custody to abusive or unfit parents at alarming rates, and punishing the parent who is trying to protect the child from harm.

Studies have been conducted on the intersection of family court and domestic violence and revealed a consistent pattern in the court’s failure to protect children from harm by granting custody and/or unsupervised visitation with abusive parents:

** The Committee for Justice for Women studied custody awards in Orange County, North Carolina over a five year period between 1983 and 1987. They reported that: “…in all contested custody cases, 84% of the fathers in the study were granted sole or mandated joint custody. In all cases where sole custody was awarded, fathers were awarded custody in 79% of the cases. In 26% of the cases fathers were either proven or alleged to have physically and sexually abused their children.” Are “Good Enough” Parents Losing Custody to Abusive Ex-Partners? (Leadership Council)

** “Only 10% of children alleging incest are adequately protected from their identified perpetrators by family courts through long-term supervised visitation orders or no-contact orders. The remaining 90% of children disclosing abuse receive no protection, with 70% continuing in shared custody and visitation arrangements without any supervision, and 20% being placed in the custody of the parent they accused of the sexual abuse, and losing unsupervised or all contact with the parent who sought to protect them.” FACT SHEET CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IN CUSTODY DISPUTES (Child Abuse Solutions, Inc.)

** “… A history of violence does not stop batterers from obtaining custody. In fact, a history of abuse seems to increase the likelihood that the batterer will seek custody…In one recent study in Massachusetts, fifteen of the forty fathers (approximately 38 percent) who sought custody received sole or joint custody of the children, despite the fact that each and every one of these men were reportLosed to have abused both the mother and the child/children prior to separation and continued to do so after separation..” “One More Battleground: Domestic Violence, Child Custody, and the Batterers’ Relentless Pursuit of their Victims Through the Courts” by Mary Przekop

** “My own survey of the case law in 2001 identified 38 appellate state court decisions concerning custody and domestic violence. The survey found that 36 of the 38 trial courts had awarded joint or sole custody to alleged and adjudicated batterers. Two-thirds of these decisions were reversed on appeal. –  Joan S. Meier, Esq., Domestic Violence, Child Custody, and Child Protection: RATES AT WHICH ACCUSED AND ADJUDICATED BATTERERS RECEIVE SOLE OR JOINT CUSTODY (Compiled by Joan S. Meier, Esq).

The tragic result of family court failures is that children are being abused and have absolutely no avenue for help or legal protection because the abuser is being protected by the legal system (not the child), and the child has become silenced. As parents and professionals we have a responsibility to protect our children.. and when systems fail, it is our responsibility to fight for justice so these silenced children can finally have a voice. 

 

 

 

Cincinnati, Ohio – Model and YouTuber, Natalia Taylor, revealed in a video that she “experience things a child should never experience in life” (she says her father, Rod, did not abuse her, only her mother) and witnessed domestic abuse her father perpetrated against her mother. Natalia also recalls that Rod threatened to kill her mother.

At age 6, her mother divorced Rod due to his severe mental illness and abusive behavior. Natalia says her father “was never willing to get any help, and never willing to let anyone help him“.

During the divorce proceedings, Natalia’s mother begged the courts to protect her child from Rod, and revoke visitation. Natalia herself begged to be kept away from Rod but says her cries for help were ignored,”basically there was no way of getting out of it. I had to have visitation with my dad, the law prevented me from not seeing him.” 

Natalia was traumatized by being forced to visit Rod – she was neglected in his care, and forced to spend time in a home that was filthy and contaminated with fecal matter. Rod continued to exhibit frightening behavior. Several reports were filed with police and caseworkers. She says Rod was “very defiant” and rejected help. It is unclear why visits continued after so many reports or if CPS was ever involved.

After the divorce, Rod kidnaps Natalia from a relative’s home. She said that during her ordeal Rod “terrified” her and demonstrated bizarre behavior due to his schizophrenia. Rod also threatened to kill Natalia and himself. An Amber Alert was issued, the second ever issued in Northwest Ohio.

After 17 hours, Natalia was recovered. Natalia is thankful that she survived. Rod was charged with kidnapping, and held in jail for 6 months, but later found not guilty by a jury. Rod is now thought to be living in Florida, and is homeless.  He is believed to be “highly dangerous” and has a lengthy criminal record and is registered sex offender with active arrest warrants against him. Rod has attempted to contact Natalia and sends her bizarre letters and packages.

Natalia says about speaking publicly about her experiences,”I’ve come to terms with a lot since I’ve talked about it online and it has been a little bit therapeutic and it has changed my mind a little bit on how I see this story…

I guess what it comes down to is that I am not afraid of Rod anymore. Call me stupid, call me naive once again, but I’m not scared of you.

Thank you Natalia for sharing your story and giving voice to so many children who have survived living in abusive or dysfunctional homes, and giving voice to those court ordered into visitation or custody with an abuser. You have raised awareness to the voice of the children, and shown an inspiring example of a survivor. Thank you for sharing this story – you are in my thoughts & prayers.

My second thought – When courts fail to recognize abuse, and minimize or ignore the dangerous behavior or potential risk one parent poses, children are placed in visitation or custody arrangements that endanger their lives – and often cause lasting trauma. This is unacceptable – the priority of the Courts should be to protect children from abuse, and ensure their well-being. 
Read more: Daily Mail: Come and find me – I’m not scared of you!’ Model who was ‘kidnapped’ by her mentally-ill dad dares him to ‘come forward’ after revealing her identity in viral video seen by MILLIONS

 

 

Commentary on Botched 60 Minutes Child Rescue Also Says Alot About Abusive, and Alienating Parents. 

Amy Stockwell’s commentary offers background information about the non-custodial kidnapping of the el-Amien children and offers deeper insight into parents who use children as a pawn in custody disputes. 

“But here’s the thing: Even if you disagree with your ex-partner about how to raise your kids, you don’t get to steal them.

You don’t get to arrange an access visit and keep them.

You do not get to use the misogynistic laws of another country to get around the fact that you’re not entitled to permanent custody of your children.

You do not get to keep your ex-partner in prison in order to get the child custody you want.

You do not own your kids…”

Commentary written by Amy Stockwell: 60 Minutes: Ali el-Amine now has everything he wants. Because this case was all about him.

Abusive and alienating parents will lie, manipulate, triangulate and create havoc because their feelings of entitlement or feelings of being right are placed higher than the well-being of their own children.

Children should NOT be used as a pawn, or as a weapon, to wield against a former partner or to be used to further one parent’s agenda or interests.

BACKGROUND: MOTHER SALLY FAULKNER ATTEMPTS TO RESCUE KIDNAPPED CHILDREN IN LEBANON

Sally Faulkner and Children. Source: News Talk ZB http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz

April 2016: Australian mother, Sally Faulkner, was given sole custody of her two children (6 year old Lahela and 3 year old Noah) by an Australian court. Their Lebanese-born father, Ali el-Amien, took the children to a holiday in his home country and never returned – that is kidnapping. However, Lebanon is not a signatory to The Hague Convention, so it does not have to enforce or acknowledge  the Court’s orders to return the children to Australia.

Ali el-Amien took the children because he was jealous that Faulkner had moved on from their relationship, and was dating another man.

In a desperate attempt to get her children back, Faulkner and a four-member crew from 60 Minutes went to Beirut to attempt to rescue the children, and were arrested in the process.  They faced up to a 20 year sentence in jail.

60 Minutes Team. Clockwise from top left: Tara Brown, David “Tangles” Ballment, Stephen Rice and Ben Williamson. Source: Facebook Source: Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au

Ali el-Amien’s family has strong political connections in Lebanon’s parliament, and was given custody of the children by a religious court.

After being detained, a deal was struck where no criminal charges would be filed if Faulkner were to relinquish custody of the children, and co-operate in obtaining a religious divorce from el-Amien. The deal was struck after a closed-doors meeting between lawyers representing the parties and the judge.

Faulkner was pregnant at the time, likely agreed to the deal in order to save her unborn child. 

Everybody is happy,” said Nine Network lawyer, Kamal Aboudaher. It is hard to imagine a mother being “happy” to lose custody of her children who will be raised in another country by the father who kidnapped them, and now has total control over both the children and is restricting her access to them.

Channel Nine will also pay a financial settlement, of an undisclosed amount, as a settlement to el-Amien to drop his civil claim. News Corp reports the settlement may be as high as several million dollars. el-Amien says he did not receive financial compensation, and he may be willing to allow a visit between the children and their mother at some time in the future; however he will not allow the children to return to Australia because he is afraid they will not come home (the custody order would be enforced).

Faulkner’s legal rights in Australia mean nothing in Lebanon. Faulkner’s Lebanese lawyer Ghassan Moghabghab said El-Amien will get everything he wants because he has the legal rights in Lebanon. 

Faulkner was allowed a short visit with her children before leaving Lebanon. Her daughter gave her mother a Barbie ring “so you won’t forget me”.  Faulkner reports that she is overwhelmed with grief due to the loss of her children, and has not had any contact with them. 

Ali el-Amien admitted that the children ask to return to their mother. 

Read More: 

60 Minutes crew face jail term over attempted child ’rescue’ in Lebanon by Janet Fife-Yeomans

60 Minutes: Sally Faulkner’s estranged husband admits children want to be with mum by Latika Bourke, Ruth Pollard and Suzan Haidamous

Deal struck in 60 Minutes ‘child-abduction’ case by Latika Bourke

The heartbreaking moment Sally Faulkner had to say goodbye to her now estranged children by Holly Byrnes, with staff writers News Corp Australia Network

‘I call this injustice’: Adam Whittington refused bail with three other men accused over 60 Minutes botched child abduction attempt by Daily Mail

Judge Matthew Myers (Wikipedia Commons)

Don’t breastfeed any more. Seriously don’t. It’s not in the best interests of the child…I don’t care if it makes the front page and it probably will.” Federal Circuit Judge Matthew Myers banning a mother from breastfeeding during an interim hearing on June 3-5, 2015. Judge Myers ruled that because the mother has a tattoo she poses a health risk when breastfeeding her child.

June 2015, New South Wales, Australia – “Judges must not mistake their own views for being facts” Australian Family Court Justice Murray Aldridge made this strong statement after an appellate court overturned a ruling from a Federal judge who issued a court order prohibiting a mother from breastfeeding her 11 month old son. There was no motion before the court to restrain the mother from breastfeeding when the ruling was made. The order was unanimously thrown out on appeal because the Federal judge based his decision entirely on his own opinion.

The case came to court after the child’s father, known as, Mr. Macek, refused to return the child at the end of his parenting time, and the mother fought for return of the child.

Judge Matthew Myers heard the case in Federal Circuit Court and set aside issues raised to ban the mother, known as, Ms. Jackson from breastfeeding because she recently had a tattoo placed on her finger and another on her toe. Judge Myers said the tattoo put the baby at risk of contracting HIV, and based his ruling on articles he read on the internet – which is bias. The father, Mr. Macek, was also given increased parenting time.

Ms. Jackson filed an urgent appeal heard by a full bench of the Family Court in Sydney. The Family Court overturned the ruling of Judge Myers because they felt there was no evidence to support that Ms. Jackson presented a risk to the baby should she continue to breastfeed.

Another questionable aspect of this case is that the father Mr. Macek has a domestic violence order issued against him, but is allowed to have extensive visits with the child, unsupervised. Mr. Macek also pleaded guilty to assaulting Ms. Jackson. The original order granted the father to spend 6 hours a day, 4 days per week, with the child. In coming to its determination, the Family Court (who heard the appeal) determined Judge Meyers erred by failing to consider s 60CC of the Family Law Act when making orders about the time the child is to spend with the father and specifically,”The orders provide for an 11 month old child to spend six hours with his father every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Quite simply, how such an arrangement is in the best interests of an 11 month old baby is beyond me. Such an arrangement is of its very nature unsettling to the child and likely to lead to instability. It requires a constant change of households and, in this case, would require eight changeovers per week between parents who accuse each other of violence and drug taking and have difficulties with the other members of each other’s family. Such orders are likely to be productive of conflict.” The Family Court temporarily changed parenting time with father to 2 days per week for five hours per day pending the conclusion of another hearing.

Judge Myers’ focus on breastfeeding as being the sole concern about the safety of the child is misplaced.

That Mr. Macek, refused to return the child after his parenting time, should be considered non-custodial kidnapping and that act alone, is harmful to the child.  The child has primarily been cared for by the mother, Ms. Jackson, since birth. According to court records, “It was common ground that the father had only seen the child on four occasions since separation. To put this in context, it is common ground that prior to separation the mother was primarily responsible for the care of the child and the father was involved to the extent that his full time employment permitted. Of particular relevance to the challenge to his Honour’s order concerning the child’s time with the father is the fact that prior to separation the longest period of time the child spent in the father’s sole care was one hour.

That combined with the Mr. Macek’s history of domestic violence, creates a real risk of harm for this child. Yet, the response of Judge Myers to ignore these issues and award Mr. Macek with additional parenting time; makes no sense. The family court should recognize the need for sensitivity, and not exacerbate an already tense situation by issuing a court order that unfairly punishes one parent and ignores the real safety risks.

— EJ Perth, 2015

Sources:

“Australian Court Orders Mother to Stop Breastfeeding After She Had Tattoos” by Jonathon Pearlman, The Telegraph, 6/18/2015:

“Breastfeeding Ban on Tattooed Mother Overturned by Family Court” by ABC News, 6/19/2015:

“Mother asks court to let her breastfeed her son after ban by judge for getting tattoos” by Louise Hall, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6/18/2015:

Jackson & Macek [2015] FamCAFC 114 (19 June 2015) – Family Court of Australia

In 2004, Genevieve Kelley, along with her second husband, Scott Kelley, and daughter 8 year old Mary Nunes, went into hiding in Central America. Genevieve claims her daughter was being sexually abused by her ex-husband, Mark Nunes, and that she fled with her daughter in order to protect her.

Genevieve Kelly (US Marshals)

Wayne Rioux, who was then the police chief of Whitefield, New Hampshire claims Genevieve was brainwashing her daughter to believe abuse had occurred. There were concerns over a video Genevieve made, questioning Mary about the alleged abuse. Genevieve says a therapist told her to make the video, that her intentions were to help not to harm. Guardian ad litem on the case, Abbie Teachout, says Genevieve was alienating Mary from her father, “She (Genevieve) appeared to be really, almost obsessed in her concern over Mary and that Mark had done something to harm the child…Out of all the families I’ve worked with, this was a case where parent alienation was 100 percent evident – that Genevieve was doing everything she could to alienate this child from her father, from the beginning.

In 2004, the Kelley family moved to Colorado. The child custody order said that Genevieve was not to remove Mary from the state, and in 2005 the court would award Mark sole custody. By then, the family had fled the country.

In Colorado, Mary was evaluated by two doctors, one who diagnosed trauma in the child but did not state what caused it. The family also sought help from a noted attorney. Attorney Alan Rosenfeld specializes in child advocacy and domestic violence cases, says that Genevieve had no other option than to run away with her daughter, after a court-appointed guardian and social service agencies didn’t believe the abuse allegations.

The abuse allegations against Mark Nunes were investigated then dismissed, no charges were filed due to lack of evidence. It is worth noting that before their divorce, Genevieve filed for, and received, a restraining order against Mark (who claims he never abused her).

(March 2015) In a recent court motion, Mary states that she was being abused by her father, and that she begged her mother and step-father to protect her, ” “and I asked them to do it.” Mary also refers to herself as a “rape victim” and her father as the perpetrator.

Now the family is back in the United States, with both Genevieve and Scott Kelly facing criminal charges in Coos County Superior Court for noncustodial kidnapping and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Scott Kelly (wanted poster)

The Kelley family emerged from hiding when U.S. Marshals were alerted by officials at the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica that Mary, Scott and their attorney, Alan Rosenfeld, had asked the embassy to help them get US passports.

In November 2014, Genevieve returned to the US to seek medical treatment for a son born to her and Scott, while in hiding. She refused to reveal the whereabouts of Scott and Mary when arrested in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Genevieve has since been released on bail and is barred from having any contact with either Scott or Mary.

In April 2015, Scott was told that he could come back into the US without facing charges, a lie. So Scott and step-daughter Mary boarded a plane for the US, not knowing they were being tricked in order to get them to return to US soil.

On April 14, 2015 Scott was taken into custody as soon as he stepped off the plane at Atlanta International Airport. Scott was arrested on a kidnapping warrant. Mary was questioned then released.

Father, Mark Nunes, has expressed that he is concerned about Mary, and wishes to reunite with her. Markhad hired a private investigator to find Mary but had not been successful. Mr. Nunes says (The Associated Press): “It’s very hard for us to reconcile our mental image of her as a 7-year-old girl with the reality that she’s a gawky, beautiful, 18-year-old teenager that we could pass on the street and might not even recognize. We love Mary and are overjoyed that she is alive and back in the U.S. Our hearts and home are open to her, and we will do everything we can to insure she remains safe and healthy. We look forward to the day our family is finally reunited.”

Mary Nunes is expected to testify on behalf of her mother, and shows no indication of wanting to reconnect with her father.

Sources:

For updated related to Genevieve Kelley: “Friends of Genevieve Kelley” https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Genevieve-Kelly/370039133164287

“Missing girl taken by mom in custody battle found after 11 years; stepdad arrested” by Dave Solomon, New Hampshire Union Leader, 4/15/2015: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150415/NEWS03/150419409/1006/NEWS03&template=mobileart

“Search for girl reveals bitter family split” by Associated Press, AZ Central, 5/10/2009: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/05/10/20090510mary.html

“Scott Kelley, fugitive featured on ‘The Hunt’ surrenders” by Stephanie Gallman and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, 4/15/2015:

  • http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/15/us/hunt-fugitive-scott-kelley-arrested/
  • “Teen in high profile custody case pleads for her mom – Mary Nunes breaks an 11 year silence as mom faces trial” by Newser Editors and Wire Services, 4/28/2015: http://www.newser.com/story/206053/teen-in-high-profile-custody-case-pleads-for-her-mom.html

    “In the 1970’s when the Khmer Rouge came through Cambodia, they wiped out the entire educated class.

    They wanted to destroy the family structure. Mother and women were slaughtered. That’s a whole generation that was taken out.

    And now you have women raising children who’ve never had grandmothers teaching them, mothers to teach them how to raise children, how to be a mom. And these women have felt the effect for years.” — Sissy Samaritan’s Purse

    I was really struck by this quote because it reminds me of how –injustice in family court destroys the family structure, and destroys the bond between parents and children. A whole generation is being taken out due to the failures in family court.

    Fit, loving parents are being forcibly separated from their children. This causes real trauma, and often leaves life long scars. I wonder what the effect will be on the future generation of children… who have been forced to live in an abusive, dysfunctional home and deprived of a healthy, nurturing relationship with a parent.

    How will these child survivors parent their own children? How will they function in the real world? What will the effect be?

    – EJ, 2015

    “Crossing the River: Motherhood in Cambodia” is a short film created by Samaritan’s Purse who is doing missionary work in Cambodia, providing maternal and child health programs and offering support.

    The video explores the challenges and experiences of mothers in Cambodia, a country with one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. Samaritan’s Purse is working to reverse that trend by building health clinics, teaching mother’s needed skills, and offering support to build their confidence in raising their children.