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Archive for February 2009

An Indianapolis Mother’s Search for Justice, Part 3

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Why don’t the courts act in an ethical and judicially correct way in Marion County?  Why don’t the family law courts in Marion County follow Indiana Code with respect to custody?  Why do the judges have such a hard time doing the right thing for children in Marion County?  Part 3 of Tracie Nelson’s story, from The Indianapolis Recorder:

Indianapolis mother Tracie Nelson’s fight to regain custody of her daughter has been difficult, and the concerns she has raised could place select individuals in the Marion County court system on the defensive.

Nelson, however, maintains that every motion filed in court and every complaint presented to various agencies has only been used for the best interest of her daughter, Kay (Not her real name. The Recorder does not publish names of minors in court cases.)

tracie1Nelson insists her goal is to have Kay removed from the home of her father, who was questioned for (but has never been charged with) sexual abuse. At the least, she would like more visitation with her seven-year-old child. “I’m not out to try to hurt or anger anyone,” Nelson says, holding back tears.

“All I’m asking for is justice and safety for my beautiful daughter. I raised Kay from her birth until she was taken, and she and I have a special bond that can’t be erased.”

As written in previous segments of this series, Nelson said her main obstacle to getting a fair assessment of her situation was conflict of interest in local paternity and civil courts, allegedly due to close ties between particular judges and the attorney of her ex-boyfriend.However, Nelson is also disappointed with the assistance she has received from individuals charged with ensuring the protection of children.

Specifically, she is unhappy with Kay’s Guardian Ad Litem. The guardian ad litem is a person asked by the court or attorney to represent a child and independently assess their needs during a legal dispute between parents.

At the request of Nelson’s attorney, a guardian ad item was appointed for Kay. According to public records, Nelson recently filed a petition for the dismissal of that guardian ad litem, Denise Hayden.

Nelson says she has information that Hayden had served as a pro tempore judge in a court case involving her custody dispute, and therefore cannot be impartial. She also claims Hayden has refused to return her phone calls, has not actually spoken with Kay since July and refused to recommend counseling for the girl following allegations of abuse.

“If there were nothing to hide, what would it have hurt?” said Nelson.

Nelson said she asked Hayden’s attorney, Claire Deichman to appoint another guardian ad litem but was told another was not available. Neither Hayden nor Deichman could be interviewed. Inquires were directed to Kid’s Voice, a not-for-profit organization that provides representation for children, as well as parent-child visitation, programs for volunteers serving at-risk youth, and legal resources for attorneys.

Nelson said Kid’s Voice is a good organization, so she can’t understand why Kay couldn’t get another guardian ad litem.

Eddie Rivers, CEO of Kid’s Voice, said he could not talk about any case publicly, but said he hoped a misunderstanding about a single person will not tarnish the reputation of well-meaning volunteers with the organization who work hard to protect children.

“We are asked to provide information for judges in a manner that shows no prejudice against either parent. Our main goal is to take care of the child and look at what we can do to help them,” Rivers said.Kid’s Voice has a staff of five attorneys who are responsible for different programs, as well as a team of volunteers.

“People choose to serve as a guardian ad litem on a volunteer basis, and we train our volunteers extremely well before we let them work with children,” said Rivers. “We conduct background checks to prevent any possibility of conflict on interest. We take that seriously.”

Nelson also says the Marion County Department of Child Services (DCS), which is part of the Indiana Department of Child Services, has not stood up for the protection of Kay.

DCS had been contacted twice to file reports of sexual abuse, after the girl gave details of how she was allegedly touched to a forensic interviewer and detective.

In January 2008 a CHINS (child in need of services) case was filed to investigate, and Kay was moved from the father’s custody to her grandmother’s home temporarily pending the investigation. Two month’s later however, the CHINS investigation was suddenly dismissed, and custody of Kay shifted back to the father.

Nelson said at first DCS joined her in expressing surprise when the CHINS case was suddenly dismissed without a fact-finding hearing, which is required by law. She was hoping that after its review, DCS would support her in demanding a strong investigation of the abuse allegations and call for the removal of Kay from the father’s home.

But Nelson is upset that following a review last month, DCS determined that abuse allegations against the father are “unsubstantiated,” and the fact that the courts dismissed the CHINS case, even though the case was dismissed by a judge accused of conflict of interest.

At the same time, the review said concerns about Nelson fostering an endangering environment for Kay are “substantiated,” adding that being at the center of a custody battle and hearing damaging accusations could impact Kay’s mental stability.

“They are letting the person who is hurting my child get away, but they’re trying to penalize me for fighting,” said Nelson.

Ann Houseforth, director of communications for DCS, said she can’t speak specifically about anyone’s case, but explained that since 2006 the agency has reviewed cases using a procedure under CAPTA (the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act).

When a report of abuse or neglect is made, the agency goes to a child’s home to determine their safety. Different individuals and experts familiar with the case are interviewed about the allegations.

A report is then issued that will either substantiate or unsubstantiate the allegations. Individuals unhappy with the report can ask for information to be removed through a review process or administrative trial.

However, even if a parent has negative information substantiated (upheld) against them, it does not mean an automatic change in custody.

“If you have a substantiation on your record, it wont mean that your children will be permanently taken away from you or that you can’t get them back,” said Houseforth. “They may be removed temporarily until conditions improve, but the parent will not lose them forever.”

Houseforth said DCS also works with community service organizations to help parents provide a more healthy and safe environment for children.

In addition to requesting a new guardian ad litem, Nelson is trying to get her case assigned to a new court.

Nelson’s family is hopeful that such action will be another step taken to get Kay home. Minnie Blaylock, Nelson’s mother and Kay’s maternal grandmother, describes her granddaughter as smart, funny and genuinely interested in connecting with other people.

Blaylock says it doesn’t make sense that she and Kay are in the same city, yet haven’t seen each other in months. (Nelson can have paid supervised visits with Kay, but Blaylock and anyone else from Nelson’s family are not authorized to participate.)

“We are being penalized because we are trying to protect her,” said Blaylock. “What kind of justice is that?” 
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IMPD Officer Who Strangled His Daughter Has Bond Reduced

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From WRTV-6:

INDIANAPOLIS — Bond was reduced Wednesday for an Indianapolis police officer who was arrested after allegedly battering his 11-year-old daughter last week. 

Andrew Dodds, 35, had been held on $100,000 bond. A Marion County judge reduced the bond to $7,500.   Dodds was charged with two counts of battery and one count of strangulation, all Class D felonies.

Police said the incident happened Feb. 10 inside a house in the 3500 block of Lisa Circle.   Investigators said Dodds’ 11- and 8-year-old daughters were visiting his home when he and the older girl got into an argument.

The girl told police that her father was saying bad things about her mother and that she was defending her and then accidentally spilled milk on his couch.   “(He was) dragging her off the couch, dragging her over the carpeted floor, giving her a rug burn,” said Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Helen Marchal. “She then left, went into her bedroom. Dodds then continued the violence by putting her in a choke hold, his hands around her neck, and lifted her off the floor.” 

Dodds declined to speak to reporters outside the courtroom, but his estranged wife, Heather, was visibly shaken as she testified that Andrew is a good father, but needs counseling. 

The officer’s attorney, Alan Ladd, decried what he called a rush to judgment against his client.   “I think the police department is very sensitive to these issues,” Ladd said. “I think they may have acted too quickly in this case.” 

Dodds does not have a prior criminal background. Indianapolis police suspended him without pay, pending termination. He has worked for the department for 4 ½ years.  (Does this give him a pass?)  Several officers were in court in support of Dodds, who was ordered not to contact his estranged wife or the daughter. 

Judge Kimberly Brown, who presided over the hearing, said she doesn’t think it was properly filed in domestic violence court.   “We believe that the victim and the witnesses will be best served by the services that we can offer with our deputy prosecutors who are trained to the sensitivity of these issues, as well as our victim advocates who are here in the courtroom,” Marchal said.

Written by mothersoflostchildren

February 18, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Continuing Story of an Indianapolis Mother’s Search for Justice

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From The Indianapolis Recorder:

A mother’s journey for justice
By BRANDON A. PERRY, Part 2 of 3
Published: Thursday, February 12, 2009 11:56 AM CST

Indianapolis mother Tracie Nelson has faced several obstacles in her effort to regain custody of her daughter since August of 2007.  That year a custody struggle began between Nelson and her ex-boyfriend over guardianship of their daughter Kay (this is not her real name; the Recorder does not publish the names of minors involved in court cases). 

The custody case was assigned to the paternity court of Judge Alicia Gooden.  Nelson said she lost custody of Kay in Gooden’s court due to conflict of interest. Kim Bacon, the father’s attorney is a pro tempore judge in Gooden’s court, and Nelson alleges Bacon is the girlfriend of the father’s best friend.

“We never stood a chance in getting the help we need,” Nelson said. She filed a complaint against Bacon with the Indianapolis Bar Association, and against Gooden and two other judges with the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications, which investigates complaints against state and local judges.

Adrienne Meiring, a staff attorney and spokeswoman for the commission, confirmed that a case like Nelson’s complaint is under review, but it cannot be discussed publicly.

“Admission and Discipline Rule 25 prevents us from discussing a case before formal charges are made against someone, unless there is a threat against an individual or the public,” said Meiring. “Until a complaint is verified or dismissed the details and course of investigation are confidential.”

At Recorder press time Gooden had not responded to an attempt to reach her for comment. Bacon has stated that neither she nor Kay’s father will comment on the case.

Nelson’s attorney, Dana Childress-Jones, successfully filed a request for change of venue (or change of judge) and the custody dispute was transferred to the civil court of Judge Gary Miller in the fall of 2007.

Nelson said Miller appeared to be fair, granting her request to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem (impartial child advocate) for Kay. After a March, 2008 meeting with Gooden, however, Miller changed course and made rulings throughout 2008 that upheld the custody rights of Kay’s father, dismissed a child in need of services (CHINS) investigation on the father, held Nelson in contempt of court and suspended her visits with Kay (although in August he did authorize paid supervised visits).

Miller’s rulings against Nelson occurred despite police and Child Protective Services’ (CPS) investigations against the father for abuse, as well as a document filed with the court that included the statements of a forensic investigator, and Jim Dalton, a local psychologist hired by CPS, who supported the validity of Kay’s detailed claim of being touched by her father.  “It’s like no one is looking out for the best interest of my baby,” said Nelson.  Miller’s term as a county judge expired at the end of December, and he was unavailable for comment.

Since Nelson went public with her case, several parents have expressed similar frustrations with select judges and attorneys.  One of them, Tamara Davis (not real name), has spent nearly $30,000 in legal fees to keep custody of her daughter from an ex-husband who has not yet received court ordered treatment for alcoholism.

“The Marion County Court system is a disaster and I also think it is biased against Black mothers,” Davis said. “I’m in the process of preparing for a custody fight with a man that the same court will only allow to have supervised visits with my daughter once a month. It doesn’t make sense.”

Davis said the court has allowed her ex-husband’s attorney to lie for clients and use contempt proceedings to extort money from mothers in custody cases.  “The court has the mentality that if a Black father is interested in his child, even if he has shown no interest previously, that it is such a unique situation that the mother must be wrongfully interfering,” said Davis. “I am a licensed attorney, and I have never seen the level of incompetence displayed in the family law cases of this county. These things don’t happen in other counties.”

Meiring said complaints about judges filed with the commission are definitely not uncommon.  “We generally receive in the neighborhood of at least 300 complaints each year,” Meiring said.

If a complaint is upheld, the offense will be reviewd by a court that will decide what kind of action should be taken, from a simple censure to the suspension of a law license.

“We get different complaints, but they are usually from people who are simply unhappy with the judge’s ruling,” said Meiring. “Most of these complaints are dismissed because there is lack of substantiation that the judge acted in a prejudicial manner.”

In part 3: Nelson, Kay and the child welfare system.

Also see Part 1 of Tracie’s story. 

Indianapolis Police Officer Could Face Jail Time for Choking 11 Year Old Daughter

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From The Indianapolis Star:

Andrew Dodds’ arrest this week after accusations that he dragged his 11-year-old daughter down a hallway and choked her may result in jail time for the patrolman and cost him his job.

Andrew Dodds

Andrew Dodds

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has suspended Dodds, 35, without pay, and Chief Michael Spears has recommended he be terminated from the department.

The incident has shocked his family members, who say they know him as a devoted officer with a clean disciplinary record and a penchant for hard work.

“I have a hard time believing it ever happened (because of) the type of person he is and has been in the past,” said Ron Stoner, Dodds’ stepfather, who raised him since he was a child.

Dodds was being held Friday at the Marion County Jail on $100,000 bond. He faces preliminary charges of battery on a minor, battery on a minor with family member under age 16 present, and strangulation, all D felonies, said Lt. Jeff Duhamell, an IMPD spokesman.

Each count could result in six months to three years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.

Dodds, who grew up in Greenfield, was sworn in to the IMPD in July 2004 and worked in the Northwest District. Stoner said Dodds was dedicated to his job and aspired to work for the U.S. Marshals Service.

Duhamell said Dodds had no disciplinary record and had received commendation letters for his work from an agent with the U.S. Postal Service in February 2007 and from an IMPD detective in January 2008.

He was nominated for the Northwest District’s officer of the month in August.

“This is a family incident not involving anything to do with his police work on the street,” Duhamell said. “He’s a stellar performer out there. Unfortunately, he stepped over the line.”

According to a probable cause affidavit, Dodds’ daughter told an interviewer at the Child Advocacy Center that she was visiting her father’s Northeastside home Tuesday when she spilled milk on the couch. Dodds told her to go to her room, but she refused, she said, because Dodds was saying negative things about her mother.

Dodds then grabbed her legs, twisted them and pulled her off the couch, dragging her down the hallway to her bedroom, according to the affidavit.

The girl’s 8-year-old sister, who witnessed the incident, told interviewers her father and sister were yelling at each other in the bedroom and the girl was trying to hit and kick Dodds. She said her sister shut her bedroom door and then came back out, grabbing Dodds by his neck.

Dodds then shoved the 11-year-old against the wall, the 8-year-old said, and the girl was breathing fast and trying to get his hands off her, according to the affidavit.

The 11-year-old told investigators she thought she was going to die. When Dodds released her, she went back into the bedroom, climbed out the window and went to a neighbor’s house.

When investigators asked Dodds if his behavior was appropriate, he said he should not have gotten angry at his daughter and knew it was wrong to put his hands on her, according to the affidavit.

Dodds and his wife, Heather, filed for divorce Dec. 17. Stoner said the couple had been living separately in recent weeks. There had been at least one other disturbance call involving the family.

Heather Dodds did not respond to phone messages requesting comment.

The Marion County prosecutor’s office could file formal charges next week.

• Call Star reporter Francesca Jarosz at (317) 444-6310.

Please see the following post “Double Standards in Domestic Violence Reporting“…I had to post after reading this article.

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February 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Double Standards in Domestic Violence Reporting

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From FAIR: Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting:

 

Extra! July/August 1994
A Hell of a Nice Murderer:
Double Standards in Domestic Violence Coverage

By Kim Deterline

 

Tired of reporting fraught with double standards and a blame-the-victim mentality, a coalition of women’s rights advocates in San Francisco decided to study daily press coverage of violence against women. Barbara Johnson, an independent media critic who frequently works with FAIR, conducted an eight-month study of the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner‘s coverage of domestic violence cases that resulted in death.

The survey documented that “many myths about domestic violence are perpetrated in news reports” and that most reporting focuses only on the most sensational details.</p)

One disturbing pattern uncovered was that white male perpetrators were frequently described in positive terms. For instance, a man who shot and killed his ex-wife and then hurled his daughter off the Golden Gate Bridge was referred to as “a sweetheart,” a “loving father,” and “a hell of a nice guy.” A man who shot and killed both his children was called “a loving father.”

Johnson wrote that many statements about the perpetrators “had an overly sympathetic quality and implied an element of victimization of the murderers, either by circumstances or frequently by the adult female,” such as one killer’s mother describing her son as “a victim of divorce.” A source said of another assailant, “To him [marriage] was a sacrosanct institution and to violate it was the end of his world.”

The descriptions were largely determined by the reporters’ choice of quotes, with the assailant and his family used prominently as sources. Both papers used police as their most frequent source–the Examiner used police sources five times more than any other source. Domestic violence experts were quoted in only one quarter of the cases studied.

The over-reliance on police sources led to an abundance of quotes that trivialized domestic violence as less serious or dangerous than other violence. The Examiner quoted a police officer saying that “most families just need a referee.” A cop in the Chronicle referred to police being “called to the home to settle domestic spats.”

The study found that the male perpetrator’s sexual jealousy was often presented as explaining or excusing violent action. For instance, an Examiner subheadline read: “Police Say Jealousy Led Man to Take His Children Hostage, Kill Them, Then Commit Suicide.” “Antioch Cops Trace Rage to Seeing Wife, Boyfriend,” a Chronicle headline stated.

The survey found a racial double standard. When the perpetrator was a person of color, violence was presented as expected and typical. When the perpetrator was white, the violence was presented as unexpected, out of character or inexplicable, as when the Chronicle included the quote, “Things like this don’t happen in Fremont.”

When men of color were the perpetrators, their descriptions were overwhelmingly in negative terms. The words “domestic violence” virtually never appeared in coverage of the cases involving European-American couples, but was used repeatedly in coverage of non-white couples.

Barbara Johnson also completed a seven-month study on the two paper’s coverage of sexual assault. The study documented the undercoverage of rape, particularly acquaintance rape. It also found that the primary source for information about the rape survivor was the accused rapist or his lawyer.

The coalition of women’s rights advocates who commissioned the studies reported the findings to editors and reporters at the Chronicle. The journalists acknowledged that they needed a new formula for reporting on violence against women (Bay Guardian, 4/13/94). The coalition suggested that domestic violence and sexual assault experts be used to balance police quotes, that domestic violence be reported the same for white couples as minority couples, and that stories be placed in an overall context. Reporters were also encouraged to be more aware of source selection and descriptions of victims and perpetrators.

Activists in the Bay Area continue to monitor coverage. If changes don’t occur they have a lot more media activism in mind. “All we are asking is that they report fairly,” says Johnson. “If coverage doesn’t change, it will mobilize the community…. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that women are treated fairly.”

Kim Deterline is a media activist trainer based in the Bay Area. To obtain copies of the studies (available for $8 each), contact Barbara Johnson at 415-641-7271.

Why does the news media still say “he was such a nice guy” when reporting on perps?

Written by mothersoflostchildren

February 14, 2009 at 3:31 pm

An Indianapolis Mother’s Search for Justice…Good Luck!

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From the Indianapolis Recorder:

A mother’s journey for justice

Part 1
By BRANDON A. PERRY
Published: Thursday, February 5, 2009 4:09 PM CST
Following a recent hearing inside a Marion County paternity court, Tracie Nelson learned that things would not change anytime soon: Her daughter still won’t be coming home.

While leaving the court chamber with her attorney, Nelson appears frustrated and sad.

“I’m so tired, I don’t know what else to do,” Nelson says with tears in her eyes as she is embraced by her mother, Minnie Blaylock.

Nelson has learned that an ex-boyfriend will retain custody of her seven-year-old daughter, Kay. An ugly custody battle involving allegations of molestation and mental illness continues.

nelsonHowever, as the two discuss the case with attorney Dana Childress-Jones, Nelson recovers her strength, recognizing that she can’t give up even if the odds seemed stacked against her.

“If I do not fight for Kay, who will?” said Nelson.

The challenge

When most Americans find themselves involved in the court system, they expect justice to be administered based on the law and compassion.

Nelson, however, says she and Kay have not received anything resembling justice.

According to Nelson, biased judges and attorneys have refused to remove Kay from the father’s home, despite serious allegations of abuse in that household. Nelson, who raised Kay for the first six years of her life, believes custody should be returned to her or to Blaylock, Kay’s maternal grandmother.

“Right now all we’re asking is for someone to stand up and do what’s in the best interest of Kay,” said Blaylock. “She’s a wonderful child, and deserves to be in an environment where she is safe and cared for with love.”

Nelson wants to share Kay’s case with the community because, she stated, she’s not only fighting for her daughter, but hopes to provide a testimony to help parents who find themselves in similar situations.

The beginning

In May, 2001, Kay was born to Tracie Nelson and ex-boyfriend Billy Dupree (Dupree refused to speak with the Recorder regarding the case). From Kay’s birth Nelson had sole legal custody of her. Although the relationship between Nelson and Dupree ended, Nelson said she understood the importance of a father’s presence in a child’s life and encouraged Dupree to visit Kay.

In September 2004, Kay began exhibiting unexplained sexual behavior, which a nurse at Community North Hospital later stated was very unusual for a girl her age. This puzzled Nelson because she knew her daughter had no reason to be with any man other than her father, who occasionally had Kay at his home for overnight visitations.

In written documents submitted in court, Nelson said Dupree “was very guarded when I spoke with him about these concerns, and told me if I kept looking I would find what I was ‘looking for.’”

Family members wanted Nelson to contact child authorities immediately to investigate Dupree, but Nelson said she urged caution, wanting to give Dupree a chance to defend himself and help in discovering if anyone did molest Kay.

Nelson took Kay to a therapist, and expressed her concerns to paternity court Judge Alicia Gooden, who suspended Dupree’s overnight visitations. Then, for the first time, Dupree expressed an interest in having custody of Kay.

According to Nelson, Kay later told a forensic investigator, child psychologist and police detective that Dupree had touched her inappropriately, and that Dupree’s stepson had been “playing house” on her.

An employee for the Marion County Prosecutor’s office, who has to remain anonymous, believes Kay’s story is legitimate, but could not take action due to the custody dispute.

In August 2007, following a hearing, Gooden granted custody of Kay to Dupree.

The railroad

Nelson believes Gooden’s decision was based on a conflict of interest.

She said Kim Bacon, Dupree’s attorney, was given preferential treatment during the hearing because she is a pro temp judge in Gooden’s paternity court. She also claims that Bacon’s boyfriend is Dupree’s best friend. Nelson says she has been a target ever since she filed a complaint against Bacon with the Indiana Bar Association.

“The judge’s decision was based, not on the best interest of Kay, but on Gooden’s bias against me and her relationship with Bacon,” said Nelson.

Bacon and Dupree have declined to talk publicly. When contacted by the Recorder to get Dupree’s version of events, Bacon firmly ruled out a discussion about the case.

“What we’re seeing right now is a situation where the private business of a seven-year-old girl is being dragged out into the public, and that’s not right,” Bacon said. “Neither my client nor I will be a part of that. We decline to comment.”

According to court records, Dupree has strongly denied any allegations of abuse, and he and Bacon assert that Nelson is mentally and financially unstable. They also believe that Nelson has coached Kay into saying certain things to bolster her case.

Nelson’s attorney, Childress-Jones, requested a change of judge, and Kay’s case was passed to Judge Gary Miller. Nelson alleges that Miller appeared to be fair at first, but after speaking with Gooden and Bacon, has refused to grant even temporary custody to Nelson, despite the investigation into alleged abuse.

To date, Nelson has only occasional supervised visits with Kay that she must pay for, and Kay is not allowed to keep gifts or other items.

Nelson says she has had several attorneys helping her, simply because they get hopeless after a short time working on her case. Shortly after Nelson lost custody of Kay, one former attorney, Dylan Vigh, stated on WTLC-AM (1310) “Afternoons with Amos” show that her case was “by far” one of the “greatest injustices” he has ever seen, and that Nelson has been “railroaded” in the courtroom.

Still, Nelson says she is not surrendering the fight to get Kay back home. She is seeking to move her case to the court of a third judge with no connections to Gooden. She is also seeking removal of the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL), a representative appointed to serve as a nonbiased guardian of a child in a custody dispute. Nelson says the GAL has not acted in Kay’s best interest.

“I have a divine right, as Kay’s mother, to protect her,” Nelson said. “All I’m trying to do is get her life back to normal and keep her safe.”

Coming in Part 2: A closer look into the case.

Note: Kay is not the child’s real name. The Recorder does not publish names of minors involved in pending legal cases.

Tracie dear, if you see this, get ahold of us.  We’ve got some ideas here to work on with you that may help.

What Issues Arise for Woman Abuse Survivors and Their Children during the Family Court Process

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A great research paper by Rita Benson…here is an excerpt:

It is not uncommon for an abusive man to continue or escalate abuse upon separation, including using the family court process and access visits as vehicles to control and harass his partner. Not only do abused women face an increased threat of physical abuse as they defy the control of the abuser and leave him, but they also often face enormously stressful demands such as attempting to negotiate safe and manageable custody arrangements, attempting to live on less money, dealing with the refusal of an abusive partner to leave the matrimonial home, and facing threats from the abuser that he will ensure she never obtains custody of the children. Children who have already been traumatized may be used in attempts to control the abused woman or as an excuse to have increased contact with her when she is attempting to create separation from the abuse.

Unfortunately many survivors speak of their revictimzation by the very service systems designed to protect them. “Rather than safety and healing from traumatic events, these survivors report ongoing dangers in their lives from ex-partners, and never-ending litigation that drains their financial and emotional resources.” It is our challenge to become services that are knowledgeable about the issues and responsive to the needs of those already victimized. This is not to imply that solutions are simple or that there are unilateral responses to all cases involving domestic violence. There is a need to develop careful screening and to “differentiate the range of domestic violence to provide measured responses and utilize appropriate resources.”

To download the paper, please click here.

Written by mothersoflostchildren

February 6, 2009 at 3:19 am