Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Scientific Report: Battered Women ARE Losing Custody of Their Children

Child Custody and Visitation Decisions in Domestic Violence Cases:
Legal Trends, Risk Factors, and Safety Concerns (Revised 2007)

by Daniel G. Saunders, Ph.D.

It may be hard to believe that an abusive partner can ever make good on his threat to gain custody of the children from his victim. After all, he has a history of violent behavior and she almost never does. Unfortunately, a surprising number of battered women lose custody of their children (e.g., Saccuzzo & Johnson, 2004). This document describes how this can happen through uninformed and biased courts, court staff, evaluators, and attorneys and how the very act of protecting ones’ children can lead to their loss. It also describes the major legal and social trends surrounding custody and visitation decisions and the social science evidence supporting the need to consider domestic violence in these decisions. It ends with some recommendations for custody and visitation in domestic violence cases.

Please find the document for download here.

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