It is a frightening trend that is to be addressed by 20/20 .....
Understanding the Batterer in Custody and Visitation Disputes
An article from Lundy Bancroft. Read the entire article here. Here is an except from Mr. Bancroft’s article:
An abuser’s desire for control intensifies as he senses the relationship slipping way from him. He focuses on the debt he feels his victim owes him, and his outrage at her growing independence. (This dynamic is often misread as evidence that batterers have an inordinate “fear of abandonment.”) He is likely to increase his level of intimidation and manipulation at this point; he may, for example, promise to change while simultaneously frightening his victim, including using threats to take custody of the children legally or by kidnapping. Those abusers who accept the end of the relationship can still be dangerous to their victims and children, because of their determination to maintain control over their children and to punish their victims for perceived transgressions. They are also, as we will see later, much more likely than non-batterers to be abusive physically, sexually, and psychologically to their children.
The propensity of a batterer to see his partner as a personal possession commonly extends to his children, helping to explain the overlap between battering and child abuse. He tends, for example, to have an exaggerated reaction when his ex-partner begins a new relationship, refusing to accept that a new man is going to develop a bond with “his” children; this theme is a common one in batterer groups. He may threaten or attack the new partner, make unfounded accusations that the new partner is abusing the children, cut off child support, or file abruptly for custody in order to protect his sole province over his children. A batterer who does file for custody will frequently win, as he has numerous advantages over his partner in custody litigation. These include, 1) his typical ability to afford better representation (often while simultaneously insisting that he has no money with which to pay child support), 2) his marked advantage over his victim in psychological testing, since she is the one who has been traumatized by the abuse, 3) his ability to manipulate custody evaluators to be sympathetic to him, and 4) his ability to manipulate and intimidate the children regarding their statements to the custody evaluator. There is also evidence that gender bias in family courts works to the batterer’s advantage. (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Study) Even if the batterer does not win custody, his attempt can be among the most intimidating acts possible from the victim’s perspective, and can lead to financial ruin for her and her children.
ABC’s 20/20 Has Heard Us Loud And Clear!
From The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
WE DID IT! The ABC News television show 20/20 has heard you loud and clear. They are now considering producing an hour-long story on a MOTHER who has suffered/is suffering from domestic violence and has had a negative experience within the family court system.
This is where YOU come in! If you have a story about a mother whose experience within family court resulted in (1) disbelief of her allegations of abuse and (2) her children being awarded to the abusive father, please submit it to the Public Policy Office no later than November 30, 2008. Be sure to place “ABC Custody Story” in the subject heading of your email or fax. There is no guarantee your story will be chosen. We will inform you of 20/20’s final decision and the show’s air date. Thanks in advance!!! Story Guidelines1. No more than 1 page. If your story is chosen for further review, you can then provide additional details.2. A mother who lost her children to the abusive father because her allegations of abuse (against her or her children) were found not credible.3. Be willing to appear on television. Your identity can be concealed.4. Contact information of the mother.5. Contact information of the story submitter (if you are NOT the mother).6. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.745.0088 (fax). Please email all questions to email@example.com