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Posts Tagged ‘custody

13 year old reunited with mother after being imprisoned by father

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Florida boy, 13, is reunited with his mother after being found imprisoned behind a false wall in his father’s Georgia home after going missing FOUR YEARS ago Boy, 13, from Florida, reported missing to child welfare authorities in 2010 He had gone to father’s house in Georgia and he ‘refused to give him back’ He downloaded cellphone app and text mother saying he was being beaten Police arrived at scene and found teen hidden behind wall in a linen closet Five people – victim’s father, stepmother and three juveniles, were arrested They are charged with false imprisonment, obstruction and cruelty to child On Saturday morning, boy was reunited with mother in emotional scenes.

The unnamed teenager reportedly downloaded a cellphone app to text his Florida-based mother to tell her he was being held captive and beaten at the house in Clayton County, Georgia.

Police arrived at the scene and found the boy hidden behind a false panel in a linen closet in the property’s garage. He repeatedly thanked officers for rescuing him, according to reports.

In heart-wrenching scenes on Saturday morning, the victim was pictured clinging on to his weeping mother, who had traveled to Georgia, as another female relative sobbed uncontrollably nearby.

Now, five people in the house in Duke Court – the boy’s father, stepmother and three juveniles – have been arrested and charged with false imprisonment, obstruction and cruelty to a child.

The boy was reported missing to child welfare authorities in 2010 after he went to visit his father and he refused to return him to his mother, according to WSB-TV.

However, his mother never contacted the police, potentially because she is an immigrant and was unfamiliar with the system, it is said. But after receiving her son’s text, she immediately called 911.

Following her call, officers arrived at the property at 2am on Saturday. They reportedly questioned the house’s uncooperative occupants for several minutes before locating the victim.

It is unknown what condition the teenager was discovered in, or whether he was taken to hospital.

Sargent Joanne Southerland, of Clayton County Police Department, told the news station: ‘We came here to the home and were able to get inside and talk to the people inside.

‘After several minutes of denying that the child was here and that there was ever any assault or anything like that, we were able to find him in the linen closet.’

Officer Daniel Day added: ‘I just couldn’t believe it. We found him, we saw him. To say it was a great feeling is an understatement. He just couldn’t thank us enough, he was overjoyed we had found him.’

Police have now requested a search warrant for the property. A spokesman said they still have a lot of unanswered questions, including how the boy was imprisoned for so long without intervention.

The boy, whose legal custody is believed to lie with his mother, is expected to remain under the protection of the Division of Family and Children Services for the next couple of days.

Judge Orders Kids Held in Juvenile Center After Refusing To See Dad

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Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

July 10, 2015 at 8:45 pm

Mother of Missing Conn. Baby Feared for Child’s Safety / crimesider

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This article was originally posted on CBS news crimesider ( link below)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mother-of-missing-connecticut-baby-feared-for-childs-safety/

HARTFORD, Conn. – The mother of a 7-month-old boy, whose father is believed to have jumped with him into the Connecticut River, previously sought a restraining order against the father saying she feared for her safety and the baby’s.

According to the Hartford Courant, the child – Aaden Moreno – had been the focus of a child custody case between his parents. His mother, Adrienne Oyola, was granted a temporary restraining order against the father, Tony Moreno, and that order had been in effect from June 17 to June 29, when it was denied by a judge, the newspaper reported, citing court records.

Aaden Moreno was reported missing the night of Sunday, July 5, when his father, 22-year-old Tony Moreno, jumped from the Arrigoni Bridge between Middletown and Portland. Police said Monday that Tony Moreno is believed to have jumped off the bridge with the child and that the mission to find the child is now a recovery operation.

Firefighters were able to pull Tony Moreno from the river and took him to Hartford Hospital, where he was initially listed in serious condition. Police later said he was upgraded to stable condition and that he was alert and conscious.

Charges are expected when the investigation is completed, police said.

CBS affiliate WFSB reports that in a petition last month for a restraining order against Tony Moreno, the child’s mother, Adrienne Oyola, wrote, “I am afraid he is going to do something to my son. He is angry and probably isn’t thinking straight.”

According to the Hartford Courant, Oyola wrote in the application that she and Tony Moreno were happy until she became pregnant and he began to verbally abuse, threaten and push her.

“He has told me he could make my son disappear any time of the day,” she wrote, according to the paper. “He told me how he could make me disappear told me how he could kill me. I sometimes am scared to sleep. He told me he would put me in the ground and put something on me to make me disintegrate faster.”

“I feel that he is a danger to my child and me and would like to leave with my child and get full custody,” she reportedly continued.

The restraining order was denied just six days before the tragedy, WFSB reports. It is unclear why.

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Father guilty of murder for throwing daughter off cliff/WFmynews2.com

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http://www.wfmynews2.com/story/news/2015/05/13/california-father-guilty-threw-daughter-off-cliff/27257319/

After two mistrials, a jury Wednesday convicted a Los Angeles man of premeditated murder for throwing his 4-year-old daughter off a Pacific Ocean cliff to avoid paying child support.

Cameron Brown, 53, claimed the girl, Lauren Sarene Key, had tripped as she played at Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes in November 2000, plunging 120 feet to her death. But the prosecution showed that her injuries did not indicate an accidental fall.

Two previous juries, in 2006 and 2009, deadlocked on whether to convict the former airline baggage handler of manslaughter or murder.

Brown, who has been in jail since his 2003 arrest, showed no emotion as the verdict was read. The girl’s mother, Sarah Key-Marer, cried.

But when the judge asked about a date for sentencing, Brown blurted out, “Judge, I’m innocent, I have no comment.”

Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum told jurors Brown wanted Key-Marer to get an abortion and he tried to get the British national deported. He had been paying $1,000 in monthly child support.

“The primary reason for killing Lauren … was to get back at Sarah, for revenge,” he said in his closing statement, according to City News Service.

Defense attorney Aron Laub painted his client as simply a bad father and suggested Brown be convicted only of manslaughter.

“This father, who had this duty to hold her hand or hold her … didn’t do it,” Laub said. “Honestly, I have a hard time seeing a not guilty … I am looking for what is justice.”

Contributing: Associated Press

Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

May 14, 2015 at 9:50 pm

STOP DV by PROXY

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For all the Protective Moms suffering because of DV BY Proxy; Although we can never ” get over ” the loss of a child through DV by Proxy, we must keep healing, keep loving them,( if only from afar) keep moving forward and know that some day our children will realize the truth . They will heal enough and mature enough to come back home into the arms of their loving mothers, where they belong. PMA INTL loves and supports you and your precious children…always


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Appeal Denied After Court Rules That Child Can Be Circumcised, Orders Mom Not To Tell Her Son That She Opposes

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This article was originally posted on the Inquisitr
( link below)

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A court in Florida ordered that a four-year-old boy’s father, Dennis Nebus, has the right to have him circumcised even though his mother opposes the circumcision. Chase Ryan Nebus-Hironimus is a Palm Beach County boy. He turned four on Oct. 31. Last month, the state appeals court ruled that the father could proceed with the circumcision, but according to the Sun Sentinel on Friday, the boy had not been circumcised yet. The boys mother, backed by emotional and financial support from online groups affiliated with the websites Saving Chase and Bloodstained Men, vowed to try to take the case to the Florida Supreme Court to prevent her son from being circumcised.

As the case unfolded over the last year, other anti-routine-circumcision activists, known as intactivists, also rallied behind Heather Hironimus, Chase’s mother, and helped to support her legal expenses. Intactivists and other supporters of Chase’s mom’s efforts created a social media campaign using the hashtag #SavingChase.

During the progression of the court case, Chase’s mother was given a gag order by Circuit Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen, according to the Palm Beach New Times, who said he would allow the circumcision because “there is no reason” not to. Chase’s mom was not to discuss the matter publicly, and she was also warned that she was not to let on to her son Chase that she opposed the idea of him being circumcised. Inquisitr covered the details of the story until that point last month.

It appears as though the Florida Supreme Court will not end up deciding on whether or not Chase will be circumcised, though. On Friday, the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach Friday denied the request of Chase’s mother to bring the case before the highest court in the state.

“It’s unfortunate the court decided the way that it did,” Rebecca Wald, a Fort Lauderdale intactivist, told the Sun Sentinel. “Circumcision is bad enough — but when you have a 4-year-old boy who is terrified to lose part of his penis and will remember it for the rest of his life, it’s insanity.”

On Tuesday, in an email to the Sun Sentinel, the father’s attorney refused comment saying it is “a family matter.” Chase’s father has commented that the reason he wants his son circumcised is, because it’s the “normal thing to do.” The boys mother was not at liberty to discuss her feelings on the trial and Chase’s probability of being circumcised due to the gag order.

Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1680734/appeal-denied-after-court-rules-that-child-can-be-circumcised/#1FXsKBkCe88uAVgJ.99

Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

December 16, 2014 at 6:53 am

Caught Between Parents/ Supporting children through the challenges of divorce-by Amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D

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Mindfulness as a Tool

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/caught-between-parents/201212/mindfulness-tool

Disclaimer:
As PMA International has posted before, we prefer the term DV by Proxy to explain the manipulations an abuser parent uses to teach the child to reject the protective parent. We prefer this term because;

1. It more accurately depicts the actions taken by the abuser parent towards the child
2. There has been a lot of misinformation about parental alienation circulating the internet and beyond.
3. The term parental alienation and /or parental alienation syndrome has been use as a legal defense for abusive dads in family court. Most often this term has been used by the attorneys of dads who sexual abuse their children. This defense is used – most often- by attorneys in family court for the purpose of deflecting blame from the criminal actions of their client onto the protective mother.
4 The result of the above has frequently been, abusers winning custody due to this misuse of the term.
Because the term is so emotionally charge for protective mothers, and for all the reasons above, we feel DV by Proxy is a better choice. Please keep in mind others still use the term Parental Alienation. Since PMA International did not author the piece, the term parental alienation or alienation may be used.

Mindfulness is defined as a state of being present and open to the moment by moment experience of your life. It means engaging in your life as a fully awake and aware person and as much as much being attuned to the people with whom you interact.

Mindfulness can be particularly helpful for the targeted parent because it could:

…help you remain clear and calm in times of stress through awareness of and attunement to your own state of mind and body. You can also gain clarity and calmness through breathing and meditation practice.

… help you be present when interacting with your children rather than being consumed with and distracted by thoughts and feelings about the past or present which can take you away from appreciating and engaging with your child.

…help you accept the imperfections in yourself and the world so that you are not overwhelmed with feelings of shame in your own limitations or with feelings of frustration and anger at the injustice of your situation.

…help you forgive your children for betraying you and themselves so that you can keep your heart open to them despite their engagement in behaviors that hurt or sadden you.

…help you make more active and conscious choices in your parenting in order to avoid discipline that could entrench the alienation against you.

and more!

… help you engage in active listening of your child which can deepen and strengthen your relationship.

As a co-parent “under fire” you will need all the help you can get to remain calm in the face of attack and insult, to remain generous of spirit and true to your best self, and to cultivate compassion in your child and you. Consider mindfulness one source of that help.

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What Does a Severely Alienated Child look like

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What Does a Severely Alienated Child look like in Parental Alienation Syndrome.

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What Does a Severely Alienated Child look like?

Copyright 1998 by Douglas Darnall, Ph.D.

The child has a relentless hatred for towards the targeted parent.
The child parrots the Obsessed Alienator, and makes statements against the targeted parent.
The child does not want to visit or spend any time with the targeted parent.
Many of the child’s beliefs are enmeshed with the alienator.
The child’s stated beliefs are delusional and frequently irrational.
The child is not intimidated by the court.
Frequently, the child’s reasons are not based on personal experiences with the targeted parent. Instead, the reasons reflect what the child is told by the Obsessed Alienator.The child has difficulty making any differentiation between the two.
The child has no ambivalence in his feelings; it’s all hatred, with no ability to see the good. (Black and White thinking)
The child has no capacity to feel guilty about how he or she behaves toward the targeted parent; The child cannot forgive any past indiscretions or parenting mistakes.
The child shares the Obsessed Alienator’s cause. Together, they are in lockstep to denigrate the hated parent.
The child’s obsessional hatred extends to the targeted parent’s extended family without any guilt or remorse.
The child can appear like any other normal and healthy child — until asked about the targeted parent, which then triggers the child’s hatred.

* For more information about alienated children,see ‘Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children From Parental Alienating’, Dr.Douglas (Doug) Darnall Ph.D.

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PMA supporter/member

Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

September 26, 2014 at 10:28 pm

The Parenting of Men Who Batter / Lundy Bancroft / Court Review

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lundy

Lundy Bancroft Court Review – Summer 2002

Click to access CR39-2Bancroft.pdf

It’s Saturday morning in the Franklin home.* Breakfast is rushed
because Marty, who is 12 years old, and his sister Rhonda, 9,
have early soccer games. Their mother, Donna, is scurrying
around while her husband, Troy, eats and reads the morning paper.
Marty grumbles to his mother, “Ma, hurry up! I told you last week,
the coach picks the starting players 20 minutes before game time.”
His mother snaps back, “If you had washed your uniform last
night like I asked you to, we wouldn’t be in such a hurry.” Rhonda
pipes in, “I did mine.”
Marty shoots his sister a dirty look and says, “Oh, I guess I just
can’t compete with goody two-shoes here. Hey, maybe my soccer
suit is dirty, but at least I don’t get the Bitch of the Year Award.”
Donna reacts sternly, saying, “Don’t talk that way to your sis-
ter, young man!” Troy now glances up from his paper, annoyed.
“How the hell do you expect Marty to react? If he’s not absolutely
perfect, both of you are all over him.”
“Never mind, Dad,” Marty breaks in flippantly, “I’m used to it.
If one of them isn’t bitching at me, it’s the other.”
Donna’s blood begins to boil as Troy returns to reading. “Your
son just called me a bitch. You’re his father—you have nothing to
say about it?” Troy half rises out of his seat. “Yeah, I do have
something to say. If you would conduct yourself like an adult,
instead of getting all hysterical, things wouldn’t get like this with
the children. Don’t be so damn sensitive. Marty didn’t call you a
bitch, he said you bitch at him, which is true. You do.”
Marty laughs. Rhonda does too, then immediately feels
ashamed toward her mother and turns red in the face. Their
mother yells loudly at Troy, “It’s not me! You’re the problem here,
you’re just encouraging his bad attitude!”
Troy pounces out of his seat yelling back, “That’s enough out of
you, you goddamned bitch!” Troy then hurls his newspaper to the
floor and shoves Donna hard toward the kitchen door so that she
stumbles and falls. “Get the hell out of here, right now,” he screams,
“or you’ll be sorry!” Donna bursts into tears and runs up to the
bedroom. Marty and Rhonda are left trembling, although Marty
forces a smile and mumbles to Rhonda, “What the hell does Mom
expect?”
The published research on children’s exposure to domestic
violence focuses largely on two aspects of their experience: the
trauma of witnessing physical assaults against their mother,
and the tension produced by living with a high level of conflict
between their parents.
As important as these factors are, they
reflect only one aspect of many complex problems that typi-
cally pervade the children’s daily lives. The bulk of these diffi-
culties have their roots in the fact that the children are living
with a batterer present in their home. The parenting charac-
teristics commonly observed in batterers have implications for
the children’s emotional and physical well-being, their rela-
tionships with their mothers and siblings, and the develop-
ment of their belief systems. All of these issues need to be
examined in making determinations regarding custody and
visitation in cases involving histories of domestic violence.
THE BATTERER PROFILE: IMPLICATIONS FOR CHILDREN
Batterers have been established to have a profile that distin-
guishes them from non-battering men. Each of these identified
characteristics can have an impact on children’s experience and
development. Some of the critical areas that court personnel
should be aware of include:
Control
Coerciveness is widely recognized as a central quality of battering men 2 It is commonly true that one of the
spheres of the battered woman’s life that is subject to heavy
control by the batterer is her parenting. In some cases, this
control begins even before the children are born, through such
behaviors as the batterer refusing to use birth control, requir-
ing or forbidding the woman to terminate a pregnancy, or caus-
ing her pregnancy through a sexual assault.3
Once children are born, the batterer may overrule the mother’s parenting decisions, and he may enforce his will by verbally abusing the
mother or physically assaulting her when he is angry about the
children’s behavior or when she does not cede to his parenting
directives,4 as the opening scenario illustrates. Researchers
have found that battered women are far more likely than other
women to feel that they must alter their parenting styles when
their partners are present.5 Thus, children are being raised in
a context where their mother cannot safely use her best judge-
ment about how to care for them

Entitlement
: Batterers generally have much higher rates than
other men of believing that they are entitled to use violence
toward female partners when they deem it to be necessary,6 and
to take an overall stance in the relationship of claiming supe-
rior status and expecting catering and deference.7Troy exhibits
his entitlement and sense of superiority by, for example, con-
tributing nothing to the work of a very busy morning and
actively encouraging his son’s negative attitudes toward
females.
Clinical observation indicates that the higher a batterer’s
level of entitlement, the more likely he is to chronically behave
in selfish and self-centered ways. He may, for example, become
irate or violent when he feels that his partner is paying more
attention to the children than to him, which can make it diffi-
cult for the mother to properly meet the children’s physical and
emotional needs. Similarly, he may treat the mother like a ser-
vant in front of the children, so that they learn to disrespect her
and treat her in a similar fashion. In addition, many batterers
cause role reversal in their relationships with their children,
where the children are made to feel responsible to take care of
the battering parent and meet his needs. This can create a bur-
den of parentification for the children, in addition to making
them more vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Manipulation
: A batterer commonly is manipulative of fam-
ily members, using such tactics as dishonesty, false promises,
and the sowing of divisions to increase his power and escape
accountability.8 Batterers tend, for example, to cultivate a pub-
lic image of generosity and kindness. When children observe
the batterer’s popularity in the community, they can become
more likely to blame their mother or themselves for the abuse
in the home, because other people do not seem to believe that
their father has a problem. Manipulation may also involve
lying to the children, or drawing them in as agents of the
abuse, as exhibited by Troy when he get his children to laugh
at inappropriate jokes about their mother. Children who are
traumatized by exposure to violent acts are at greater risk of
being psychologically harmed by such manipulation than chil-
dren who are less emotion-
ally vulnerable.
Possessiveness
: Men who batter commonly perceive their partners as owned objects,9 and this outlook extends to their children in many cases. Many clients of mine have,for example, defended their physical or sexual abuse of the children by insisting that it is their paternal prerogative to treat their children as they see fit. Batterers’ possessiveness toward both partners and
children can have important post-separation implications. For
example, batterers have been found to seek custody at higher
rates than non-battering fathers do,10 and to be at their great-
est risk of committing homicide of women or children during
and after the break-up of a relationship. 11 Parents who per-
ceive children as possessions have been observed to have high
rates of child abuse in general,12 and the link between such
attitudes and incest perpetration is widely noted. 13
This is a brief and partial review of the batterer profile. Each
of the characteristics commonly found in batterers, including
denial and minimization about their abusive and violent
actions, battering in multiple relationships, and high level of
resistance to change, can have an important impact on chil-
dren who are exposed to them. 14
RISK OF CHILD ABUSE
The various published studies of physical abuse of children
by batterers indicate that roughly half of batterers repeatedly
assault children in the home, a rate about 700% that of non-
battering men.15
An equally substantial body of research finds
batterers four or more times more likely than other men to sex-
ually abuse their children or stepchildren. Exposure to domes-
Summer 2002 – Court Review 45
A batterer commonly is manipulative of family members,using such tactics as dishonesty, false promises, and the sowing of divisions
to increase his power . . . .16.
Domestic violence is one of the top risk factors for incest victim-
ization.16 The literature on incest perpetrators describes a profile that is compatible with battering, including a high level of control, entitle-
ment, and manipulativeness,and a tendency to view children as owned objects.17 No evidence currently exists to suggest that the risk of child abuse by a batterer declines post-separation, and such risk may increase
. Batterers tend to be enraged and retaliatory for an extended period after a relationship ends, contributing to volatility in their behavior,and they sometimes increase their targeting of the children as
a way to frighten or upset the mother because the separation
causes a loss of access to avenues to abuse the mother
directly.
18
The risk to children may also be augmented by the
fact that the battered mother is no longer able to monitor the
batterer’s treatment of the children during his times of contact
with them. Clinicians sometimes observe that courts are reluc-
tant to believe reports from battered women regarding mis-
treatment of their children during court-ordered visitation,
which can sometimes leave children vulnerable to ongoing
abuse by the batterer.
THE BATTERER’S PARENTING STYLE
Apart from the risk of overt child abuse, batterers often tend
toward authoritarian, neglectful, and verbally abusive
approaches to child-rearing.19
The effects on the children of these parenting weaknesses may be intensified by their prior traumatic experience of witnessing violence. For example, children whose battering fathers yell or bark orders at them appear to be more shaken by these experiences than children
who have not been exposed to violence, as they are aware of
his capacity for physical assault whether or not he has ever
assaulted them directly. My colleagues and I also often observe
that a batterer’s authoritarian or intimidating behaviors in the
children’s presence, or toward them directly, can cause trau-
matic memories to be reawakened in them, with resultant
increase in their symptoms and interference in their social and
intellectual development. Batterers have also been observed to
be manipulative of children, and to exhibit neglectful parent-
ing, including inadequate supervision of safety.20
Additional crucial problems in the parenting of men who batter include
the use of the children as weapons against the mother and the
undermining of the mother’s authority, which are discussed
further below, with important post-separation implications.

THE BATTERER AS ROLE MODEL
Boys who are exposed to domestic violence show dramati-
cally elevated rates of battering their own partners as adoles-
cents or adults.21 Research suggests that this connection is a
product largely of the values and attitudes that boys learn
from witnessing battering behavior. 22 Daughters of battered
women show increased difficulty in escaping partner abuse in
their adult relationships.

23 Both boys and girls have been
observed to accept various aspects of the batterer’s belief sys-
tem,24 including the view that victims of violence are to
blame, that women exaggerate hysterically when they report
abuse, that males are superior to females, and that the use of
violence against women by men is justifiable.
25
Donna and
Troy’s son, Marty, exhibits, for example, his absorption of his
father’s negative and degrading attitudes toward females,
which he acts out toward his sister, Rhonda, and toward his
mother.
The destructive influence that batterers can have on chil-
dren’s belief systems, and therefore on their future behavior,
has not received adequate attention in most professional pub-
lications, and appears to be largely overlooked in crafting cus-
tody and visitation determinations. Children who are trauma-
tized may be particularly easy to influence because of their ele-
vated needs for belonging, security, and self-esteem. Therefore,
decisions to place children in unsupervised contact with a bat-
terer should be made with great care.
UNDERMINING OF THE MOTHER’S AUTHORITY
Battering is inherently destructive to maternal authority. As
we saw with Troy in the opening scenario, the batterer’s behav-
ior provides a model for children of contemptuous and aggres-
sive behavior toward their mother. The predictable result, con-
firmed by many studies, is that children of battered women
have increased rates of violence and disobedience toward their
46
Court Review – Summer 2002 No evidence currently exists to
suggest that the risk of child abuse by a batterer
declines post-separation . . . .26.
in many cases by the batterer’s deliberate weakening of the mother’s ability to set limits, which may be accompanied by violence toward her
regarding issues about the children.27
We saw Troy, for example, give explicit approval to his son’s disrespectful language toward Donna. Troy is able in this way to enhance his own power in the family and ensure that his wife will appear to be
an ineffective or volatile parent. Troy then goes on to assault
Donna to retaliate against her for her efforts to stand up for
herself and for her daughter.
IMPACT ON FAMILY DYNAMICS
Many other behaviors that are commonly observed in bat-
terers can distort family functioning. Some common examples
include:
Interfering with a mother’s parenting
. Partners of my battering
clients make frequent reports of being prevented from picking
up a crying infant or from assisting a frightened or injured
child, of being barred from providing other basic physical or
emotional care, and even of being forbidden to take children to
medical appointments. Interference of this kind can cause the
children to perceive their mother as uncaring or unreliable,
feelings the batterer may reinforce by verbally conditioning the
children through statements such as, “Your mother doesn’t
love you” or “Mommy only cares about herself.” The trauma
caused to the mother by domestic violence can also sometimes
make it more difficult to be fully present and attentive for her
children,
28 which the batterer may then use to his advantage in a custody or visitation dispute.
Sowing divisions within the family
. In our opening scenario,
Troy uses favoritism to build a special relationship with one of
his children (Marty), demonstrating a dynamic that occurs fre-
quently in the parenting of men who batter. As other
researchers have noted, the favored child is particularly likely
to be a boy, and the batterer may bond with him partly through
encouraging a sense of superiority to females.29
Batterers may also sow divisions by deliberately creating or feeding familial tensions. These behaviors are a likely factor in the high rate of intersibling conflict, including violence, observed in families exposed to battering behavior. 30
Descriptions of division-sow-
ing behaviors in incest perpetrators 31
are remarkably similar to clinical observations of these behaviors in men who batter.32
Use of the children as weapons.
Many batterers use children
as a vehicle to harm or control the mother,
33
through such tac-
tics as destroying the children’s belongings to punish the mother, requiring the children to monitor and report on their mother’s activ-
ities,
or threatening to kidnap or take custody of the chil-
dren if the mother attempts to end the relationship. These behaviors draw the children into the abuser’s behavior pat-
tern. Post-separation, many batterers use unsupervised visitation as an opportunity to abuse the mother through the children by alienating them
from the mother, encouraging them to behave in destructive or
defiant ways when they return home, or returning them dirty,
unfed, or sleep-deprived from visitation
.34
These important dynamics rarely appear to be taken into account in crafting custody and visitation plans.
Retaliation for the mother’s efforts to protect the children.
A mother may find that she is assaulted or intimidated if she
attempts to prevent the batterer from mistreating the children,
or may find that he harms the children more seriously to pun-
ish her for standing up for them, and therefore may be forced
over time to stop intervening on her children’s behalf. 35
In our opening scenario, Troy’s assault on Donna was a direct result of
her efforts to protect her daughter from psychological harm,
and may have the effect of intimidating her the next time she
would like to protect her children from him. This dynamic can
lead children to believe that their mother doesn’t care about
the ways in which the batterer is hurting them, because she
sometimes maintains a frightened silence in the face of his
behavior. This perception in children can be exacerbated in
cases where a court requires a battered woman to send her chil-
dren to visitation with their father despite their objections. It
therefore becomes critically important for children who have
been exposed to domestic violence not to be required to see or
speak with the perpetrator when they are voicing or demon-
strating a preference not to do so.
POST-SEPARATION IMPLICATIONS
Custody and visitation determinations in the context of
domestic violence need to be informed by an awareness of the
Summer 2002 – Court Review 47
These behaviors are a likely factor in the high rate of intersibling
conflict observed in families exposed to battering
behavior.36. The great majority of children who live with a batterer directly see or hear one or more acts of violence. See
J. Kolbo, et al.,
There have also been a substantial number who have witnessed
sexual assaults against their mother:

PROBLEMS IN
CHILDREN
(1994). I have observed that evaluators who assess the strength of children’s bonds with their battering fathers rarely address the role of traumatic bonding.40. A detailed guide to performing proper custody and visitation evaluations in the context of domestic violence allegations is available.41. It should be noted that batterer programs that are run on a
“power-and-control” model have been found to be more effective
than was previously believed, especially if any attendant drug and
alcohol issues are also properly addressed.
destructive attitudes and values that can contribute to behav-
ioral and developmental problems. Abused mothers face many
obstacles in attempting to protect their children from a bat-
terer, and can benefit when their protective efforts receive
strong support from courts and child protective services.
Family and juvenile court personnel, as well as those working in child protection agencies, can strengthen the quality of their
interventions on behalf of children by deepening their under-
standing of the common patterns that may appear in the par-
enting of men who batter, including ways in which a batterer
may damage mother-child and sibling relationships and make
it difficult for a mother to parent her children. Courts can
increase their effectiveness in domestic violence cases involv-
ing children by focusing on maternal and child safety, and by
seeking ways to reduce the batterer’s influence as a role model particularly for his sons.

DV By PROXY = Child Abuse

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