Crisis In The Family Courts

Quebec woman dead, husband in hospital in suspected murder-suicide attempt

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on March 25, 2010

CP) – 2 hours ago

MERCIER, Que. — A 68-year-old Montreal-area woman is dead and her husband is in hospital after what police suspect was an attempted murder-suicide.

Police in Mercier, just south of Montreal, were called Wednesday by a man who said he was the couple’s son and had found the bodies. The woman, Ginette Lavallee, was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Her husband is in hospital in serious condition.

Quebec provincial police say both bodies bore knife wounds.

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Murder Suicide in Rapides Parish

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on March 25, 2010

Posted: March 24, 2010 10:51 PM

Murder Suicide in Rapides Parish

Investigators are still trying to figure out why a man killed his friend, stuffed the body in a suitcase, and then shot himself.

It happened this week in Rapides Parish.  Authorities say the two men had been friends since childhood…until some type of fight tore them apart.

One had reportedly moved in with the other man and his girlfriend about two weeks ago.

A neighbor reported the sound of a gunshot coming from a property on River Road.

When deputies arrived, another shot was fired. They found 28 year old Tommy Evans fatally shot, his body stuffed into a suitcase.

Alongside the driveway, deputies say they found 28 year old Johnny Clark, who turned a gun on himself.

No word yet on a motive.

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20-year-old Jessica Casalvera was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, 18-year-old Ramiro Benitez (NEWARK)

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on March 25, 2010

Murder-suicide in Glasgow, Delaware

NEWARK, Del. – March 24, 2010 (WPVI) — New Castle County police say a woman and man are dead in a murder-suicide inside a trailer home in Newark, Delaware.

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Police were called to the home in the Glasgow Court Trailer Park around 9:40 p.m. Tuesday, where they found the man and woman dead.

According to investigators, 20-year-old Jessica Casalvera was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, 18-year-old Ramiro Benitez.

After the shooting, police say Benitez then turned the gun on himself.

Police say an investigation into this case continues.

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Domestic Violence (DV) by Proxy: Why Terrorist Tactics Employed by Batterers Are Not "PAS"

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on March 25, 2010

September 16, 2009

As more and more abused women lose custody to batterers in family courts, they are wrongly embracing the very ideas that enabled their abusers to gain custody in the first place. False accusations of “parental alienation" are often used by batterers to gain custody and to defend against accusations of abuse.

Some unfortunate women after years of enduring domestic violence have lost custody to the batterers who abused them. In these cases, batterers have made good on their threat to attack their ex-partner in the place she is the most vulnerable—by taking her children away from her. After separation, these batterers continue to wage their campaign of manipulation and abuse by attempting to convince involved children that their mothers never loved them. Looking for a way to describe their batterers’ behavior, some mothers have called what their batterer is doing "parental alienation syndrome."

In reality, what these women are describing from their ex-partners is better termed Domestic Violence by Proxy (DV by Proxy), a term first used by Alina Patterson, author of Health and Healing. DV by Proxy refers to a pattern of behavior which is a parent with a history of using domestic violence or intimidation, uses a child as a substitute when he no longer has access to his former partner. Calling this behavior “parental alienation” is not strong enough to convey the criminal pattern of terroristic behaviors employed by batterers.

When his victim leaves him, batterers often recognize that the most expedient way to continue to hurt his partner is to assert his legal rights to control her access to their children. By gaining control of the children, an abusive male now has a powerful tool which allows him to continue to stalk, harass and batter an ex-partner even when he has no direct access to her. Moreover, by emotionally torturing the child and severing the bond between children and their mother, he is able to hurt his intended victim — the mother — in a way she cannot resist.

DV by Proxy includes tactics such as: threats of harm to children if they display a positive bond to the mother, destroying favored possessions given by the mother, and emotional torture (for example, telling the child the mother hates them, wanted an abortion, and is not coming to get them because they are unloved).

DV by Proxy may also include coaching the child to make false allegations regarding their mother’s behavior and harming or punishing the child for not complying. DV by Proxy perpetrators may also create fraudulent documents to defraud the court in order to prevent the mother from gaining custody. Whether or not the child is biologically related to them is irrelevant to perpetrators of DV by Proxy. The perpetrator’s main motivation is to hurt his ex; whether or not his own child is harmed in the process is irrelevant to him.

This is very different from "parental alienation syndrome" as described by the late Richard A. Gardner. Dr. Gardner described PAS as an internal process by which a child aligns themselves with a preferred parent to protect themselves from the divorce conflict. “PAS” is conceptualized as a psychological process of identification with a parent who, according to the theory, encourages this identification at the expense of the other parent.

PAS inducing parents, according to Gardner, are often unconscious of what they are doing to encourage the identification. In contrast, perpetrators of DV by Proxy are very conscious of what they are doing. Controlling, coercive, illegal acts often done by abusive and controlling people, usually men, are not subtle, and do not encourage an identification with a parent. Criminal, fraudulent, coercive acts are visible and obvious. These behaviors encourage compliance by threats and fear. Behaviors involved in DV by Proxy are deliberate and often illegal. These behaviors include: battery, destruction of property, locking children in rooms to prevent them from calling parents, falsifying documents, along with other similar overt behaviors.

The most dangerous aspect of Gardner’s PAS theory is that that the alienating parent’s behavior is theorized to be so subtle as to be unobservable. In other words, the behaviors that are supposed to cause the alienation are assumed to be happening without any proof that they have actually occured. As many women have discovered this makes a charge of "alienation" almost impossible to defend against.

While Gardner’s theories regarding PAS have been shown to be overly general and have not been supported by careful research, behaviors seen in DV by Proxy can be readily observed. Behaviors involved in DV by Proxy are deliberate and planned; many are illegal, and if the child is given the freedom to talk, will be described in great detail by the child.

If the child’s formerly favorable view of the victimized parent changes when exposed to tactics like this over time then it is more likely a form of "Stockholm Syndrome" or traumatic attachment to the abuser, rather than the alignment with one parent and negative reaction to the other that Gardner described as "alienation".

A recent and comprehensive article on PAS and its use in the court system, by Jennifer Hoult can be downloaded here.

For further information:

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    Human remains found on I-75 identified as missing teen: Lisa Ann Mowrey

    Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on March 25, 2010


    Human remains found on I-75 identified as missing teen: Lisa Ann Mowrey

    March 24, 10:59 PMTampa Crime ExaminerCharisse Van Horn

    Human remains found on I-75 identified as missing teen: Lisa Ann Mowrey

    Lisa Ann Mowrey has been missing since February 6, 2004 and has been featured on missing persons websites nationwide as well as on Tampa’s Crime Stoppers. Yesterday, the search for Lisa Ann Mowrey came to a chilling end as the human remains found along I-75 were positively identified through dental records to be Lisa Ann Mowrey.

    What hasn’t ended, however, is the mystery into how she died, and the tragic final moments of the 18-year-old Manhattan Hairstyling Academy student’s life.

    Lisa Mowrey was born on March 18, 1985 and was last seen at approximately 6:30 a.m., the morning of February 6, 2004. She had left her home near Tampa Shores Boulevard to attend school on Fletcher Avenue. Lisa never made it to school and was never seen from again.

    On September 22, 2004, there was a possible sighting of a young woman believed to have possibly been Lisa. The sighting was a videotape from Lakeland, Florida showing residents as they applied for food stamps after a hurricane. Though some thought Lisa was possibly in line, there was no conclusive evidence to show that she was the woman in the video.

    Lisa Ann Mowrey was listed as endangered missing as the circumstances surrounding her disappearance were unclear and she had vanished without taking her medications. Now, the investigation will focus on Lisa’s cause of death and the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner joined by an University of South Florida Anthropologist will try to establish a timeline for the date of death as well.

    Tampa Police are conducting the investigation and will provide updates as they become available.

    Photo of Lisa Ann Mowrey credited family

    Click here to find out more!

    More About: human remains found · Lisa Ann Mowrey

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    OH: Wood County tracks deadly domestic abuse

    Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on March 25, 2010


    Article published March 18, 2010

    Wood County tracks deadly domestic abuse

    Report analyzes risk factors, gaps in system


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    BOWLING GREEN – Of the eight men who killed a wife or girlfriend in Wood County between 1991 and the first half of 2007, all had substance abuse problems, all had been jealous and controlling, and all but one had a known history of violence with the victim.

    As for their nine victims – one man killed his wife and his girlfriend – all but one was employed, and all had left or were in the process of leaving the man who ultimately took their life.

    Those and other statistics are contained in a report to be released today by the Wood County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team. The team, which started its work in January, 2006, was asked to analyze the cases in an attempt to find gaps in the system, identify high-risk factors, and make recommendations that might help prevent homicides.

    "We reviewed each case in depth, which is why it’s taken us so long to get to this point," said Kathy Mull, who headed the team. "We tried to go back as far as we could in the victim’s life and the perpetrator’s life, look at what was going on separately and together, and then take a step back to see where we see some gaps."

    The review team, in its report, listed five things the county could do better:

    •Increase interagency communication and collaboration.

    •Increase community education.

    •Hold abusers accountable.

    •Increase outreach and support for victims.

    •More clearly define risk factors.

    Before making its recommendations, the team noted that several programs have been implemented since four Wood County women were murdered by their husbands or boyfriends between 2002 and 2005.

    Among them, the Cocoon Shelter opened in 2005 in Bowling Green to provide safe emergency housing. And, in 2008, the Center for Access to Safety and Justice opened in Bowling Green to give abuse victims a "one-stop" location where they could get help.

    "We have come together as a community in response to these tragedies … but I agree we have more work to do," said Ms. Mull, victims services program coordinator for Victims Services of Behavioral Connections.

    The Center for Access to Safety and Justice was created through the efforts of Alicia’s Voice, an organization that grew out of the 2007 murder of Alicia Castillon by her ex-boyfriend.

    Ms. Castillon’s mother, Kathy Newlove, said the center has served 200 women and their children, and she knows it is helping to save lives because women who have been helped there have told her that in no uncertain terms.

    "Before, they had to go up to 18 different agencies to get the help they needed and most of them were there with kids and the clothes on their backs and no money or transportation," Ms. Newlove said. "It was too overwhelming so they would go home and hope for the best."

    In Wood County, 12 of the 27 homicides that occurred between June, 1991, and June, 2007, were domestic violence homicides, which translates to 44 percent compared to a national average of 9 percent. In addition to the nine wives or girlfriends who were killed, two of the victims were children, and one was the boyfriend of a victim.

    Ms. Mull said she was taken aback by the number of children who lost their mothers because of domestic violence. In Wood County, 20 children were impacted, 12 of whom were present in the home when their mothers were killed. "That was really startling to us," she said.

    Committee member Dan Schaefer, who runs a therapy group for abusive partners at Person to Person Resources in Perrysburg, said he took note of the role that substance abuse and other factors "inside" the perpetrator played in the homicides – possessive and controlling behavior, jealousy, and a history of violence with the victim.

    "That’s disturbing," he said.

    Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

    or 419-724-6129.

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    “ This isn’t justice. This is court-directed sadism.”

    JUDGE KEVIN CRONIN, is  a sadistic pig Judge- and  he has only been on the bench for two years.  This Judge is being called out for the swine that he is.

    This Judge has decades left to sadistically maul and mutilate women and children. Be OUTRAGED! Be very outraged.

    INMATE Visitors:

    Please email call and show your OUTRAGE

    Contact info for this Judge:

      48th Judicial Circuit Court

      113 Chestnut St.

      Allegan, MI 49010

      Phone: (269) 673-0300

    Also see:

    • Custodial dad has mom thrown in jail for no child support; she can’t work because of injuries HE inflicted (Allegan County, Michigan)

      • and:

        I’d say this case was freaking unbelievable, but this sort of judicial craziness just seems to be getting more and more common everyday. A custodial UNNAMED DAD had the the non-custodial mother thrown in jail for failure to pay child support, even though this mother had a medically diagnosed disability that has kept her from obtaining employment.A disability that was in fact CAUSED by the father when he assaulted her and broke her back. Not only that, the judge refused any accommodations for this woman in court (contrary to the requirements of the Americans with Disability act) and has not let her have access to her pain medication while in jail.

        This isn’t justice. This is court-directed sadism.


        Allegan County, Michigan – February 27th 2010.

        A Family court judge in Allegan County, Michigan sentenced disabled protective mother Maria Melinn to jail for 21 days in response to non payment of child support. Maria has been unable to work and thus pay child support due to her medically diagnosed disability. Maria’s ex-husband broke her back during a rage of anger. The judge chose to ignore the physician’s report that Maria is disabled and cannot work. The judge refused to acknowledge legal documentation that Karin Huffer M.S. Marriage Family Therapist. author of "Legal Abuse Syndrome" helped Maria fill out under the American Disabilities Act (A.D.A.). In addition, this judge also chose not to provide accommodations for Maria’s disability, which he’s required to do under the ADA. On November 6th 2009, Maria was sentenced and served 10 days in jail. This was for buying a pack of cigarettes in the last six months. The judge reasoned that if Maria can buy cigarettes, she can pay child support. Maria was unable to inform the judge that her cigarettes were bought by a family member, because she was so shocked. Currently, this judge has put Maria in jail again without accommodations, and without being permitted to use her prescription pain medication. Please help this disabled mother.

        If you would like more information please contact Protective Mothers Alliance International: 941-822-5592.

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        Family Court Corruption: Federally Funded Misogyny And Pedophile Protection

        Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on March 24, 2010


        Family Court Corruption, Part 2: Fathers’ Rights and Conciliation Court Law: Federally funded misogyny and pedophile protection  by Cindy Ross

        Numerous reports have identified bias against women and corruption in family courts across the country. In bizarre and illegal rulings, family court judges ignore or deliberately suppress evidence of male perpetrated family violence and child molest. Fathers who are batterers and sex offenders are routinely granted visitation and custody, while mothers and children trying to escape abuse are punished through financial sanctions, loss of custody,  supervised visitation, jail and institutionalization. [1]

        Very occasionally, men reporting abuse of their children have also been targeted for retaliation through family court. [2] However, the systematic mishandling of domestic violence and child molest cases as “custody disputes”  is based in a financial corruption scheme that calls for diverting grant program funding through “high conflict” cases, in the guise of promoting “fatherhood” and “shared parenting” post-divorce. [3]

        Rather than assisting men become responsible parents, “Responsible Fatherhood”, “Access to Visitation Enforcement” (supervised visitation for noncustodial parents), “Child Support Enforcement” and similar federal programs perpetuate abuse of women and children through the legal system. [4] Abusive men striving to maintain control over their victims are provided an array of benefits, not only to get custody and get out of paying child support, but to terrorize the mothers of their children and society in general. [5] Government programs are not producing responsible fathers, but motherless children, in order to advance the agenda of the so-called “fathers’ rights” movement.

        “Fathers’ rights” as a political agenda, has nothing to do with actual parenting rights or responsibilities. Fathers’ rights organizations are misogynist anarchy and militia groups that define fatherhood in terms of male ownership of children in male-headed households. In order to maintain control over “families”, fathers’ groups promote violence, advocating the use of “domestic discipline”. [6] Their membership is comprised of virulent men “fighting feminism” and affirmative action, establishing “patriarchy under God” and even trying to repeal the 19th Amendment. [7]

        There are women affiliated with fatherhood groups, primarily second wives who support their husbands in denying ex-wives and biological mothers the right to parent their own children. Identifying themselves as “independent feminists”, they also join sociopathic men in fighting obscenity laws and identifying sex and access to pornography as primary fathers’ “rights”. [8]

        Fathers’ rights groups have devised strategies that normalize deviant male behavior, while pathologizing normal motherhood. When mothers report domestic violence or child sexual abuse, their complaints are dismissed as a matter of  “radical feminists” making malicious and false allegations to turn children against fathers. “False allegations” is the primary tactic used to provide assistance with litigation against women trying to maintain custody of their children in divorces from abusive men. [9]

        Criminalizing mothers’ attempts to protect their children, legalizing corporal punishment and normalizing father-child sex, are all necessary in order to legitimize court rulings granting pedophiles, batterers and other abusive men visitation rights and custody of children. In family court, this is accomplished through the “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS) legal strategy. [10]

        PAS is a fabricated mental disorder, originally coined by Dr. Richard Gardner as a legal defense of child molesters. PAS calls for covering up evidence of abuse by shifting blame to mothers. PAS was crafted into the means for any man to get custody — no matter how violent or unfit — through the “umbrella” fathers’ rights organization, the Children’s Rights Council (CRC, formerly called National Council for Children’s Rights). [11] CRC is cross-affiliated with the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). [12]

        While CRC claims to promote “shared parenting” and AFCC represents itself as “an association of family, court and community professionals” dedicated to the “constructive resolution of family disputes”, these groups conceal their role in a perverse fathers’ rights pedophile “ring” operating through family court. Richard Gardner is only one of numerous “experts” connected to CRC/AFCC, who not only promote pedophilia, but seek to destroy children’s relationships with their mothers in the name of fatherhood. [13]

        Steering cases to AFCC court allies, CRC (and other fathers’ group) members get their cases “fixed” using PAS methodology. CRC devised custody switching programs are used to procure federal Access to Visitation Enforcement Program grants for supervised visitation and “Child Access Transfer Centers”. [14] Through these centers, evidence of sexual (and physical) abuse is suppressed and mothers are prevented from having normal contact with their children. Mothers are forced to stop complaining about “sharing” the children, or to give up their children altogether, losing all parental rights.

        AFCC was originally established in California as the means to enact Conciliation Court Law (CA Family Codes 1800-1852), an obscure set of codes used to prevent divorce in counties where the court itself deems it necessary to “promote the public welfare by preserving, promoting, and protecting family life and the institution of matrimony”. [15]  While the Conciliation Court identifies children’s rights to “both parents”, it is used only to assist fathers take custody away from mothers and/or to otherwise gain inappropriate or illegal “access” to children.

        Enacting Conciliation Court Law gives the family court jurisdiction over domestic violence cases, in violation of appropriate family codes and “child’s best interests” laws. For example, in California, while Family Code §3044 establishes a presumption that sole or joint custody for a parent convicted of domestic violence is not in the best interests of children,  Conciliation Court codes are used not only to assist abusive men get custody, but to help them avoid criminal prosecution. [16] Because blame is shifted to mothers by concealing evidence of paternal crimes against women and children, in the Conciliation Court, victims of abuse (not perpetrators) get convicted in accordance with PAS “threat therapy”. [17]

        PAS court-ordered threats include jail terms for mothers and institutionalization of children to convince them that the abuse never occurred, but their mothers are crazy. [18] PAS threats have been linked to the death of at least one child. When forced to “choose” between visiting his violent father in a positive frame of mind, or having his mother jailed for his refusal, Nathan Grieco chose suicide instead. [19]

        The Conciliation Court uses PAS methodology to give abusive men the legal upper hand. However, “shared parenting” has become the rallying cry of the fathers’ rights movement, primarily because joint custody also means no child support obligations. When AFCC affiliates assist fathers get custody and get out of paying child support, they instigate frivolous litigation for their own financial gain. They take kickbacks and other improper payments to rig the outcomes of the cases.

        Judicial slush funds, such as the “hearts and flowers” fund exposed in Los Angeles Superior Court, are established using fees charged for child custody “training” seminars. [20] Because Conciliation Court codes specify how funding is dispersed to th
        e court itself, huge sums of money are diverted out of federal and state block grants by AFCC affiliates, in the guise of “amicable settlement of domestic and family controversies”. [15] (See Codes 1800-1852).

        The National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) was founded in 1994, to “lead a society-wide movement to confront the problem of father absence”, i.e., to embed the fathers’ rights agenda into government policies and programs. [21] In 1995, former President Clinton issued executive orders that directed federal agencies to review and “modify” all family programs and initiatives serving primarily mothers and children, to include fathers and “strengthen their involvement” with children. [22]

        President George W. Bush, has appointed NFI founding officials to high level positions in the present Administration; Wade Horn is Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services and Don Eberly is in the White House Office of  Faith Based Initiatives. Under the control of these and other fathers’ rights allies — especially former OCSE Commissioner David Gray Ross (a frequent presenter for CRC) — the federal Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child Support Enforcement has been turned into a men’s custody agency. While publicly touted as “responsible fatherhood programs” official federal documents say the purpose of their programs is to provide noncustodial fathers with free attorneys to litigate for custody. [4]

        AFCC affiliated experts who have established federal “model custody” programs using PAS methodology, include Joan Kelly, a founding official of CRC, and Judith Wallerstein of the Center for the Family in Transition. Richard Gardner originally based his PAS theory on Wallerstein’s and Kelly’s research. [23]

        Joan Kelly sets up family court services programs and trains judges and “special masters” (mediators with quasi-judicial authority), using Access to Visitation grant funding. She is also connected — primarily through CRC — to Michael Lamb, of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Kelly and Lamb promote materials developed by Richard Gardner (and other pedophiliac experts), in conferences and seminars regarding “parenting time” and “alienation”. [8]

        Judith Wallerstein, is an advisor to NFI. According to CA NOW’s “Family Court Report 2002″, in 1986, Wallerstein provided testimony — along with David Levy of CRC — to the House committee on Children, Youth and Families. regarding the “problems of single female parent families”. [24]

        Members of Wallerstein’s Center for the Family in Transition and Kelly’s  Northern CA Mediation Center, have “reformulated” PAS as “alienated children”, possibly to distance themselves from Richard Gardner. However, in addition to being connected to some of the most egregious local (Marin County, CA) PAS cases, as the “Northern CA Task Force on the Alienated Child”, their group promotes PAS custody switching methods and “threat therapy” at AFCC conferences around the country and the world. [25]

        Wallerstein, Horn, Eberly and others connected to NFI, CRC and AFCC have expanded the Conciliation Court agenda to include not only divorce prevention, but marriage promotion. By merging conciliation court and fathers’ rights agendas with a “faith based” marriage “movement”, they call for even more federal programs promoting “two-parent” families, through “marriage initiatives” funded by TANF/Welfare grants. [26]

        In the guise of reducing poverty and promoting child welfare, women are forced to stay married and mothers are punished for seeking divorces. In the guise of amicable custody resolution, federal programs enforce the systematic abuse of women and children. The pretense is that government programs produce responsible fathers and healthy families. The reality is that federally funded misogyny and pedophile protection programs are lining the pockets of corrupted court officials and appointees.

        For further information, visit the website of the National Alliance for  Family Court Justice at’>”>

        Cindy Ross

        California Director

        National Alliance for Family Court Justice

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        Batterer Manipulation and Retaliation Denial and Complicity In The Family Courts

        Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on March 24, 2010


        Batterer Manipulation and Retaliation Denial and Complicity In the Family Courts

        by Joan Zorza, Esq

        Family Courts Excuse Male Misbehavior, But Blame Women

        Most family and divorce (hereinafter, “family”) court judges insist that people going through custody and divorce cases are good people, but that they often behave very badly because they are so stressed out by the pressures of the separation and court dispute. 1 The reality, as Massachusetts has found, is that nothing could be further from the truth for the men who abuse their female intimate partners and children (called either “abusers” or “batterers”).

        Massachusetts, which has since 1978 allowed its criminal court judges to issue restraining orders against abusers, and which now requires all judges–even the family ones, to consult offender probation records whenever a petition for protection in an abuse case is filed, keeps very careful records which it periodically analyses.  It has found that almost 80% of the male abusers have criminal records,2  46% for violent offenses, and 39% have prior restraining orders entered against them and 15% for violating of those orders within the first 6 months.  The men with prior orders are almost equally divided between those who have repeatedly abused one victim and those who have abusing multiple victims.3 Massachusetts also was the first state in the county to create a statewide registry for orders of protection, and it also enters orders of protection onto the defendants’ probation records, so that judges automatically become aware of the defendants’ prior record, even his juvenile one or cases which were later continued without any finding.  This is not to say that all abusive men have records or are abnormal,4  or that no female partners of abusers ever have records.  However, abusive men, although they tend to be considerably older, better educated and are more likely to be white than other criminals, and hence to have been given far more breaks in the criminal justice system, are simply not the stressed out good guys as the family courts assume.  Men who abuse do so as a matter of choice, as a way to assert power and control over their female partners, punish them, to be sexually aroused, or less often because they enjoy causing pain.5

        In contrast, although the family courts assign at least equal blame to the men’s victims, the victims are generally no different than other women, except for having been abused and suffering the effects of that abuse. Prior to being abused, battered women are no different from other women.6 It is the effects of the abuse makes them frightened and show other effects, often making them appear less credible as witnesses.7 Courts, police and prosecutors often refuse to help battered women and discourage them from pursuing cases, but then blame them for dropping their cases.  In fact, battered women are no more likely to drop cases than are other victims of violent crimes who are being threatened by their abusers.  What is different is that most violent criminals never reassault or even contact their victims, but the average battered woman is beaten up three times by her batterer during the pendency of a criminal domestic violence case.8 All victims threatened with further assault want to drop their cases; battered women are actually more willing than other threatened victims to pursue their cases.9

        Batterers are believed in blaming victims.

        Men who batter are not only adept at minimizing and denying their own abusive behaviors and their responsibility for it,  they are also adept at blaming circumstances or their victims, thereby shifting responsibility and projecting their own behavior onto their victims.10 Yet while alcohol,11 poverty, and other circumstances may aggravate a situation, they do not cause violence, as most people in such circumstances do not abuse.  Similarly, victims are not to blame for the violence. Unfortunately, abusive men have been very successful in convincing courts and juries that their own behavior is their female victims’ fault, or that their partners provoked them, or wanted the abuse, or that bad circumstances caused the abuse.

        Mental health experts lack expertise in family violence.

        Complicating the problem is that the courts often rely on mental health experts to evaluate the parties, yet overwhelmingly those experts have never received adequate training in domestic violence or child sexual abuse; indeed, their professional schools seldom teach the subjects and 40% of those working in mental health fields in the U.S. admit they have never received any training about intimate partner violence and even fewer received training about child sexual abuse.12 The content of what little training exists in schools in continuing education programs is often questionable or outright misleading, or so short (one hour is not that uncommon over the course of a career)13 that is clearly inadequate.  Guardians ad litem, who are supposed to represent the children’s best interests to the court, generally lack training in any aspects of family violence or even child development.14  Only 10% of custody evaluators know enough about incest to not be dangerous in these cases.15 Without the training and sensitivity to abuse issues, few therapists and custody evaluators even screen for it or follow up when told about it. 16 When they do follow up, batterers are adept at manipulating mental health professionals, appearing very together and, if he admits the abuse, contrite and regretful, justifying his abuse or making it appear part of a substance abuse or depression problem or caused by his partner.17 All this convinces the professional that the abuse was an aberration that will be controlled in the future, although this is most unlikely.18 Mental health evaluators and guardians ad litem, having been trained in a system that blames mothers for most problems that people have,19 are particularly vulnerable to being persuaded by fathers who deny their abuse and blame their partners, with the result being that they discredit the mother’s accusations and fears, and recommend that custody to go to fathers, even when the men are abusive.  The result is that domestic violence is seldom considered in the vast majority of  child custody determinations,20 particularly when there are allegations of physical or sexual abuse against a child.21 This is an amazing omission, given that at least 47 states and the District of Columbia require courts to consider domestic violence when making child custody determinations. (The three states which do not are Connecticut, Mississippi and Utah.)22

        Judges, like mental health professionals, make the gender biased and inaccurate assumption that most domestic violence or child abuse accusations made in custody cases are falsely made for tactical gain, so take these cases far less seriously than they should.23 In fact, incest allegations are only made in 2-3% of custody cases, and mothers make few false accusations either of domestic violence24  or of child sexual abuse.25 Although no psychological test can definitively prove that someone has battered or sexually abused someone,26 many family courts require women to conclusively prove the abuse–a virtually impossible burden–or they refuse to believe that any abuse happened.

        Furthermore, because most assessment tools used in custody evaluations were never developed to take into account the effects of domestic violence on victims, the tools distort the results to incorrectly show that most frightened victims are paranoid or have other psychiatric disorders, such as major depression, paranoid schizophrenia, dependent personality disorder, or borderline personality disorder
        ,27diagnoses that will hurt her in any custody fight.28 Without experts able to refute the faulty diagnoses (and few battered women have the money to pay for such experts, even if any are available who are willing to criticize their colleagues), battered women and mothers of children who have been abused risk being assessed as incompetent mothers, and so lose custody.  Despite myths put out by fathers that mothers always win custody cases, fathers actually win custody in 70% of custody disputes,29 and this is true even though most men who abuse women and children are far more likely than other fathers to fight for custody and engage in prolonged litigation.30

        Batterers Retaliate

        Batterers do not only manipulate mental health professionals.  When batterers feel that their authority is being threatened, they escalate their violent and terroristic tactics, often threatening to kill or seriously injure their victims,31 their families, children or loved ones,32 and even themselves.33 After separation they often carry out these threats, hurting their partners 14 times as often after separation as when they were together.34 Most of these men also rape their female partners, and these rapes are more brutal than stranger rapes, and 10% of the rapes occur in from of the children.35 Batterers retaliate in many other ways as well, often being extremely imaginative and unpredictable.  They are notorious in fighting for custody,36 even though most of them never paid much attention to the children while then they were together with the children’s mother.37 Most batterers seek the children knowing that depriving the mother of custody is the best way to punish and hurt her.38 Batterers, who are notoriously poor at paying child support,39 also know that winning custody not only absolves them from having to pay child support, it may obligate the mothers to pay them child support, which they see as another way to hurt the women.

        Batterers also retaliate by threatening their former partners and her children during visitation, or by shifting their abuse onto the children. It is quite common for batterers to begin abusing the child physically or sexually after the separation, or for such abuse to escalate, just as their violence tends to escalate after separation against their former partners.40 Many threaten to and actually abduct the children,41 and these abductions are as harmful to the children as when strangers kidnap them.42

        Even when batterers have custody, they often refuse to make let the mothers to see their children.  The same courts that are outraged when a mother fails to make the children available to the father seldom punish a father who denies visitation to the mother.

        Some of these problems exist because of gender bias of individual judges, but other problems exist because the legislature has enacted laws that favor men.  While most states (Washington State is the exception) encourage courts to consider in granting custody which parent will encourage a better relationship and frequent contact between the children and the other parent, courts consider only behaviors that mothers are more likely to do under this criteria, leaving out behaviors that men primarily do.  Thus failing to pay spousal or child support, or failing when one could do so to legitimate the other parent’s immigration status are not seen as hurtful.  Yet what could be more harmful to a relationship with the children than depriving the other parent of adequate support or even the right to remain in the U.S.  Indeed, changing custody because a parent has not paid child support is illegal in most states, yet custody is changed all the time when mothers do not give father access to their children.

        Another way that some men retaliate is by having their parents join in the fight for custody or visitation (of course, some grandparents, often the ones from whom their son learned to be abusive in the first place, do this spontaneously).  Fortunately, this was made much harder by Troxel v. Granville43,  the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision which struck down Washington State’s grandparent visitation statute that permitted visitation against the wishes of the parents.  Both batterers and paternal grandparents and batterers also often file false or trumped up charges against their daughters-in-law or sons’ girlfriends to get them in trouble and discredit them, most often with child protection agencies, but also alleging welfare or immigration fraud or criminal activity, but also in court.44

        Another reason that courts have not been quicker to catch on about men’s projecting their own behaviors onto their victims45 and vindictiveness against their former female partners is that while they speak very negatively about their former partners, they generally speak very positively about their current ones.46 This is typical of men, but few courts or mental health practitioners are aware of it, and are fooled into thinking the men must be  objective, and thus what they say about their former partners must be accurate.  Yet once the men break up with their current partners they will start publicly devaluing.

        Some courts are wising up to men’s retaliatory tactics, because many involve abusing the courts. Many abusers learn that cross or counterclaims often cancel out their victims; prior claims, and that filing contempts shifts the focus to their victims.47 Most batterers know they can bring criminal and contempt charges at no expense to the abusers, but they take an enormous financial and emotional cost on their victims.  The result is that many abusive men drag on the litigation and file spurious claims openly acknowledging they are trying to drive their victims onto welfare or into homelessness; half of all homeless women and children in the U.S. are homeless because of domestic violence.48 Occasionally it is only when the abuser accuses the judge or other court players of impropriety or attacks them or those helping their partners, such as shelter workers,49 that the court catches on to their tactics. Unfortunately, some judges (and other court players, including mental health experts) become too frightened50 or vicariously traumatized51 to act sufficiently to believe or act to protect battered women. However, most abusers are far too savvy to make such accusations, attacking only their former partners.

        When courts blame victims and fail to hold abusers accountable, they reinforce abuser behavior, subvert justice, disempower the victims, teach children that abusive behavior is permissible and may even be rewarded, and reinforce the cycle of violence.


        1.    ABA Center on Children and the Law & State Justice Institute, A Judge’s Guide: Making Child-Centered Decisions in Custody Cases, 4 (Chicago, IL: ABA,  2001).

        2.    James Ptacek, Battered Women in the Courtroom: The Power of Judicial Responses, 89 (Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 1999).

        3.    Donald Cochran, Sandra Adams & Patrice O’Brien, From Chaps to Clarity in Understanding Domestic Violence, 3 Domestic Violence Report 65, 77-78 (1998). ).

        4.    American Psychological Association , Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family, 37 (Washington, DC: Author, 1996). [Hereinafter, APA.] ).

        5.    Evan Stark & Anne H. Flitcraft, Spouse Abuse. In Violence in America: A Public Health Approach, 123, 132-33 (Mark L. Rosenberg & Mary Ann Fenley, eds., New York: Oxford Press, 1991); Ola W.  Barnett & Alyce D. LaViolette, It Could Happen to Anyone, 63 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1993). ).

        6.   Stark & Flitcraft, supra note 6, at 140-44. ).

        7.    Id., at 134. ).

        8.    Joan Zorza, Battered Women Behave Like Other Threatened Victims, 1(6) Domestic Vio
        lence Report 5 (August/September 1996). ).

        9.    APA, supra note 4, at 37. ).

        10.   Id., at 81-82. ).

        11.   Barnett & LaViolette, supra note 5, at 77. ).

        12.   Felicia Cohn, Marla E. Salmon, & John D. Stobo, Confronting Chronic Neglect: The Education and Training of Health Professionals on Family Violence, 3-5 to 3-8 and 4-5 (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001). ).

        13.   Id., entire book; APA, supra note 3, at 13. ).

        14.   APA, supra note 4, at 102. ).

        15 .  John E.B. Myers, A Mother’s Nightmare  Incest: A Practical Guide for Parents and Professional, 104 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1997). ).

        16.   Edward W. Gondolf & Ellen W. Fisher, Battered Women as Survivors, 133-34 (New York: MacMillan, 1998). ).

        17.   Id, at 132. ).

        18.   Id., at 81. ).

        19.   Barnett & LaViolette, supra note 5, at 9-10. ).

        20   Joan Zorza, Domestic Violence Seldom Considered in Psychologists’ Custody Recommendations, 2 Domestic Violence Report, 65 and 68 (1997).

        21.   Myers, supra note 15.  Mothers of abused children are themselves blamed for the abuse and traumatized by it and other’s reactions. See, e.g., Betty Joyce Carter, Who’s to Blame? Child Sexual Abuse and Non-Offending Mothers, 188 (Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press, 1999). ).

        22.   Linda D. Elrod & Robert G. Spector, A Review of the Year in Family Law: Redefining Families, Reforming Custody Jurisdiction, and Refining Support Issues, 34 Family Law Quarterly 607, 652 Chart 2 (2001).).

        23.   A Typical Week of Restraining Orders in Massachusetts,1(4) Domestic Violence Report 3, 4 (April/May 1996). ).

        24.  APA, supra note 4, at 12. ).

        25.  Id.

        26.   Myers, supra note 15, at 46-48.

        27.   Edward W. Gondolf, Addressing Woman Battering in Mental Health Services, 81 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1989). ).

        28.   Barnett & LaViolette, supra note 5, at 74; Gondolf, supra, note 16, at 81. ).

        29.   Ruth I. Abrams & John M. Greaney, Report of the Gender Bias Study of the Supreme Judicial Court [of Massachusetts],  62-63 (1989), also citing similar findings from California and the entire nation. ).

        30.   APA, supra note 4, at 40. ).

        31.   David Adams, Identifying, Assaultive Husbands in Court: You Be the Judge, 33 Boston Bar Jounal, 23-24 (July/August, 1989). ).

        32.   Id.; Barnett & LaViolette, supra note 5, at 50.

        33.  Donald Dutton & Susan K. Golant, The Batterers: A Psychological Profile, 49 (New York: BasicBooks, 1995). ).

        34.   Caroline Wolf Harlow, Female Victims of Violent Crime, 5, Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Statistics, NCJ-126826 (January 1991). ).

        35.   Ptacek, supra note 2, at 74; Lenore E. Walker, The Battered Woman Syndrome, 48 (New York: Springer Publishing Co., 1984); Jacquelyn Campbell, Community Nursing Department, Wayne State University College of Nursing, Nursing Assessment for Risk of Homicide with Battered Women (1986). ).

        36.   Barnett & LaViolette, supra, note 5, at 50; APA, supra note 4, at 100; Marsha .B. Liss & Geraldine Butts Stahly, Domestic Violence and Child Custody, in Battering and Family Therapy: A Feminist Perspective, 175, 179 & 181 (Marsali Hansen & Michèle Harway, eds., Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1993) ).

        37.   Catherine Kirkwood, Leaving Abusive Partners, 54-55 (1993); Einat Peled & Duane Davis, Groupwork with Children of Battered Women: A Practitioners’ Manual, 8 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1995). ).

        38.   Liss & Stahly, supra note 36, at 179. ).

        39.   Id., at 181; Mildred Daley Pagelow, Family Violence, 311 (1984). ).

        40.   Harlow, supra note 35. ).

        41.   Geoffrey L. Grief & Rebecca L. Hager, When Parents Kidnap 4 (1992). ).

        42.   Id., at 205-206. ).

        43.   530 U.S. 57 (2000). ).

        44.   Zorza, supra note 21, at 68 & 75. ).

        45.   Dutton & Golant, supra note 34, at 105. ).

        46.   David Schuldenberg & Shan Guisinger, Divorced Fathers Describe Their Former Wives: Devaluation and Contrast, Women and Divorce/Men in Divorce: Gender Differences. In Separation, Divorce and Remarriage, 61-87 (Haworth Press, 1991). ).

        47.   Jeffrey L. Edleson & Richard M. Tolman, Intervention for Men Who Batter: An Ecological Approach, 31 & 34 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1992). ).

        48.   Joan Zorza, Woman Battering: A Major Source of Homelessness, 25 Clearinghouse Review, 421 (!991). ).

        49.   Ptacek, supra note 2, at 63. ).

        50.   Id. ).

        51.   Joan Zorza, Why Courts Are Reluctant to Believe and Respond to Allegations of Incest. In The Sex Offender: Theoretical Advances, Treating Special Populations and Legal Developments, Vol. III, 33-8 (Barbara K. Schwartz, Ed., Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute, 1999).

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        The “Whores of the Court” Want Protection

        Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on March 24, 2010 Filed In: Canada, Child Custody Battle, Child Custody Issues, Corrupt Custody Evaluators, Corrupt bastards, Corrupt psychologists, Custody Evaluators, Getting Screwed by the Whores of the Court, Legal abuse, Nick Bala, Ontario, Ontario Medical Association, Psychologists, The National Post, Tom Blackwell, Whores of the court, custody evaluations

        From The National Postfirst off, Nick Bala is listed as a psychologist.  He is actually a law professor (The National Post is going to issue a correction on this).

        They need to do a lot more than this though.  These suggestions are absolutely ridiculous. Who in the world would imagine a parent, who just paid his court whore lots of money to drag the other parent through the mud and “crazy-make” would ever agree to jointly file a complaint against a custody evaluator.  Oh, sometimes the compensation for the court whore isn’t in money, but more business from the lawyer or judge who picked him/her….who reflects their views.  After all, the economy is tough out there, and these people will take care of their own.

        If these people are that stupid to think these suggestions are wonderful, then they REALLY need to be monitored…

        Put limits on custody complaints, group urges

        Tom Blackwell, National Post

        Published: Monday, March 22, 2010

        Canadian law must be changed to make it far more difficult for disgruntled parents to file disciplinary charges against psychologists, psychiatrists and other health professionals who do assessments in child-custody cases, says a group of leading lawyers and therapists.

        The complaints submitted to professional bodies by the losing side in custody battles are turning experts off the important work, the group says in a discussion paper. The result is a “major social and legal problem,” it says.

        The group urges changing the rules so disciplinary bodies can only consider complaints from such parents if they have been first approved by the judge in the case or by the other, winning parent, or have been screened to weed out frivolous grievances.

        “The family law justice system is seriously undermined every time a vexatious complaint is made by a parent to the college,” said the paper signed by 11 psychologists, psychiatrists, lawyers and social workers. “It feels like a professional sucker punch and has no correlation to the skill, experience and savvy of the assessor.”

        Earlier this year, the Ontario Medical Association’s board directed its staff to work with other professionals to push for changes to protect members against such complaints.

        A parents-rights organization, however, says people embroiled in emotional disputes often feel the assessor is biased against one side, and need some recourse to question their professionalism.

        Kris Titus of the Canadian Equal Parenting Council said she has heard from parents about psychologists or others who will spend a whole day with one parent in their home, and an hour in a “sterile” office environment with the other.

        Or, in some cases, parents suspect the assessor appointed by the court is a “hired gun,” inclined to reach a predetermined conclusion.

        “When you’re dealing with children, where every decision made is essentially going to affect someone’s entire future, there has to be strict regulation of assessors,” Ms. Titus said. “There are some assessors we have heard multiple complaints about.”

        The experts are appointed jointly in custody cases to interview, observe and sometime conduct psychological testing on family members to help determine who is best able to care for the children of divorces. The work can take months and cost the parties up to $75,000.

        The lobby group is not looking to gain “immunity” for assessors from disciplinary charges, only to curb the high number of spurious complaints, said Nick Bala, a Queen’s University psychologist.

        The report suggests three options, based partly on legislation in a handful of U.S. states.

        -Require that a judge approve any disciplinary complaint, ensuring that it is more than merely an attack on the assessor’s conclusions.

        -Require that the complaint be approved by both parents, again making it less likely the grievance will be just another appeal by the losing party.

        -Set up a vetting process within regulatory bodies that would throw out vexatious complaints before they are formally investigated.


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