During the past two decades, mothers have been losing custody of their children (even nursing infants) in increasing numbers to fathers who are convicted or identified batterers, child molesters, drug addicts, gang-bangers and felons. Family courts force children into the custody of abusive fathers at alarming rates, allowing these men to continue controlling and abusing their victims. Research shows that 70% of batterers who ask for custody get it. Safe mothers who left the abusers in order to protect their children are frequently labeled “unfriendly” and are inappropriately ordered to supervised visitation or denied all contact with their children.
The Leadership Council found more than 58,000 children every year are ordered into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following a divorce. Children very rarely lie about these things. And the reports are coming from the children. Even when they’re switched over to the custody of the batterers and the molesters, continue to report abuse. And they’re ignored
Women who were outspoken about their domestic violence allegations actually received less protection for themselves and their children. Many custody evaluators recommend custody to abusive fathers on the assumption that mothers either exaggerate the violence or are deliberately alienating their children from their fathers as a tactical advantage. Another reason judges give custody to the abuser is financial; over a quarter of the protective parents have reported filing bankruptcy as a result of fighting for custody of their children. The average cost of a court proceeding was reported to be over $80,000. These findings are particularly disturbing given that children exposed to domestic violence show similar levels of emotional and behavioral problems as children who were the direct sufferers of physical or sexual abuse. The court system does not want to believe that a well-spoken, charismatic man could really be a savage wife-beater or child abuser. It is easier to believe that his traumatized, sleepless, frightened and rapidly impoverished wife is lying, exaggerating or imagining things
Most are battered women who tried to flee domestic abuse to save their children, only to end up mired in our nation’s family courts, unable to protect them at all. Mothers who speak out about system failure often face judicial retaliation and lose what little time they have with their children. The unregulated cottage industry keeps churning, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to experts, while some of the worst cases settle only when the children turn 18. This is a national epidemic that is destroying families across America.
- The History of Child Custody (gastoniafamilylaw.com)
- Children abused during parental visits arranged by courts, women’s group claims (irishtimes.com)
- Child Abuse Statistics….. Did you know? (runningthroughtears.wordpress.com)
- Increase in reports of abuse against children (irishtimes.com)
- Many small voices: speaking out about domestic abuse (manysmallvoices.wordpress.com)