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UNDERSTANDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DYNAMICS: A PREREQUISITE FOR COURT PROFESSIONALS TO WORK ON DV CUSTODY CASES

by Barry Goldstein   The frequency with which judges, lawyers, evaluators, child protective caseworkers and other professionals fail to recognize true complaints of domestic violence made by mothers in child custody cases has led to extensive discussions among domestic violence experts about the need for training. In many of these cases the professionals denied valid complaints despite receiving domestic violence training. Too often they

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Changing Abusers’ Behavior: What Works What Doesn’t

By Barry Goldstein   Introduction A few years ago I attended a national conference for and about batterer programs. One of my colleagues aptly referred to it as a marketing conference for the batterer program industry. I am sure there were many people at the conference that sincerely sought to reduce domestic violence and believed their programs could help accomplish this. Nevertheless I was

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES REQUIRE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EXPERTS: DUH!

By Barry Goldstein I can understand why the court system did not immediately seek to learn from and rely on domestic violence experts when domestic violence first became a public issue in the mid to late 1970s. There was no research available and few domestic violence advocates. A popular assumption and misconception was that domestic violence was caused by mental illness, substance abuse and

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The Intersection of Rape, Custody and Reproductive Coercion

By Barry Goldstein Thirty-one states permit rapists to use family courts to gain access to their victim and obtain custody or visitation of a child conceived from rape. The situation is outrageous, but it doesn’t even describe the full failure of states to protect rape victims and their children. Even in states that provide some protections, a conviction is necessary to shield survivors from

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Shared Custody Issues in the Context of Domestic Violence

by Barry Goldstein            In a Queens New York custody case, the court appointed a prominent psychologist to evaluate a young couple.  The psychologist was frequently used as an expert in the New York courts despite a fathers’ rights bias that included a quotation in a New York Times article supporting shared parenting.  Throughout his testimony supporting the abusive father,

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Newsweek Article: Fighting Over The Kids

Fighting Over The Kids: Battered spouses take aim at a controversial custody strategy Newsweek: Sept. 25, 2006 issue By Sarah Childress   Genia is one of many parents nationwide who have lost custody due to a controversial concept known as parental alienation. Under the theory, children fear or reject one parent because they have been corrupted or coached to lie by the other. Parental

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What is Fair for Children of Abusive Men?

A presentation by Jack Straton at What About the Kids? Custody and Visitation Decisions in Families with a History of Violence, a National Training Project of the Duluth Domestic Abuse Project on Thursday, October 8, 1992, Duluth, Minnesota Introduction I will first critically examine the criterion at the base of all custody laws today, “What is in the best interests of the children?” I

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Policy Statement on Child Custody Laws

The National Organization for Men Against Sexism1 is committed to make substantive this nation’s ideals of equality and justice. In choosing loyalties in disputes over child custody, any society that cares for its future must make its primary concern that which is truly in the best interests of children. In a society such as ours in which men daily subject women to violence, oppression, and

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10 Ways Anti-sexist Men Can Help Reform the Broken Custody Court System

By Barry Goldstein, NOMAS Child Custody Task Group Research has now established that the custody court system’s response to domestic violence cases is deeply flawed.  Courts’ use of outdated practices, unqualified professionals, inadequate training, gender bias and other mistakes has resulted in thousands of children being sent to live with abusers.  This article explores the role anti-sexist men can play in reforming the custody

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