October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of abuse every month of the year.
California NOW recognizes that there is a crisis in the family courts. It has had hundreds of complaints from mothers whose divorce, custody and child support cases denied them their right to due process and failed to consider the best interests of the child. As an advocate for domestic violence victims, I have heard story after story, from mostly women victims (some men also) in what is called the Sociopathic Style Relationship
(www.sociopathicstyle.com), where their partner’s sole purpose is to “win” at all costs.
Unfortunately, for the victims of abuse, during custody and divorce, some family court judges, who buy into a pseudo-scientific psychological theory called Parental Alienation Syndrome, collude with the perpetrator and harm the children by giving custody and visitation to the perpetrator. Family courts are to safeguard the victim but fail in many cases.
Consider the tragedy for the children when courts award custody to the wrong person — the abuser!
A conservative estimate stated that more than 58,000 children in the U.S. per year are ordered by family courts into unsupervised contact with one of these perpetrator parents who have physically and/or sexually abused the children.
Kathleen Russell (Center for Judicial Excellence) wrote in the Christian Science Monitor, October 2009: “The fact that this type of scandal is taking place in the American justice system defies the imagination. . . . American family courts routinely award custody to the parent with an established record of domestic violence restraining orders, child abuse, neglect, alcoholism, addiction, dangerous mental illness, or a combination.
“Meanwhile, the child’s other parent, commonly referred to as the ‘protective parent,’ is typically demonized by court professionals as an ‘alienator’ for bringing evidence of child abuse to the court’s attention. This happens because the reigning paradigm in family courts across the country is an unscientific, discredited theory known as ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome,’ or PAS.