What Doesn’t Kill Me (The Film)

WHAT DOESN’T KILL ME – documentary feature film

Domestic violence: to stay or to go? Why do US courts favor the abusive father in custody cases?

On October 7, 2017 I attended the viewing of the Film, “What Doesn’t Kill Me, produced by Rachel Meyrick.  Watch Trailer Here. It was unimaginably eye-opening (and I serve in a field where eye-are-wide-open-regularly), yet this film  sharpened my awareness and reshaped my perspective in a VERY unexpected way.

WHO is behind unsafe custody decisions, is SHOCKING.

WHAT is happening in the US Court System, is SHOCKING.

WHEN the Court System stopped protecting children, is SHOCKING.

WHY are children (1 Million) being handed over to the UNSAFE parent, is SHOCKING.

HOW “We” as Americans did NOT see this, is SHOCKING.

CALL TO ACTION! The Need for a Federal Resolution

In the US, 58,000 children a year are court-ordered into partial or full custody with their abusive parent after their safe, protective parent attempts to protect them through the family court system.

When abuse is reported in custody cases, 60-75% of abusers gain custody; one study shows 85% of abusers gain custody in California.

Researchers have documented nearly 600 children [murdered] by a divorcing or separating parent involved in a contested custody case in the last 10 years. [600 Murdered]. Watch the film trailer and YOU decide if you are moved to Support the Federal Resolution.

1. Visit House.gov to identify your House Representative by zip code.

2. Schedule a meeting with your House Representative.

3. Stay connected with Child Advocate Groups:

protectiveparents.com  centerforjudicialexcellence.org  failuretoprotect.com

Learn More. Get Involved. Take A Stand.

 

April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

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Child Abuse  (click, copy and paste into your browser) Must Be Stopped…

Get Involved

The theme for this year’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month is “Building Community, Building Hope.” Communities have a great influence in families’ lives. Everyone can get involved and play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect and promoting child and family well-being. This section provides information on getting involved to strengthen families and your community.

Get involved to strengthen your community!

Baby steps

  • Meet and greet your neighbors.
  • Go to a parents’ meeting at your child’s school.
  • Use the Activity Calendars to plan activities in your community.

Small steps

  • Set up a playgroup in your community at people’s homes or local park (consider inviting people who may not have children at home, like local seniors).
  • Organize a community babysitting co-op.
  • Volunteer at your child’s school through the school’s administration or the parent’s organization.
  • Encourage local service providers to produce a directory of available services that are easy to find in the community.

Big steps

  • Organize a community event (a block party, father/daughter dance, parent support group)
  • Run for an office in the parent organization at your child’s school.
  • Attend local government meetings (city council or school board meetings) and let them know how important resources are in your community. Let them know how parks, strong schools, and accessible services help to strengthen your family and other families.

Partners

Federal Inter-Agency Workgroup on Child Abuse and Neglect

National Prevention Partners

State and Local Partners

Strategies to Improve Supervised Visitation in Domestic Violence

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The following article was written by M. Sharon Maxwell, LCSW, Ph.D. and Karen Oehme, J.D. and is merely a portion of the larger article which can be found by clicking here. Professional Providers are encouraged to stay informed regarding “Best Practices” in domestic violence visitation cases.

If supervised visitation programs are to continue to be used in domestic violence cases, there

must be a more critical examination of the current provision of services in programs with the

goals of enhancing the safety of participants and confronting evidence of domestic violence as

it is manifested in supervised visitation programs. There are a number of strategies that can be

recommended but they must be addressed system-wide and become part of a coordinated

community response to ending domestic violence.

Judicial Strategies

• A formal evaluation of the alleged perpetrator and the victim should be ordered prior to the

court-order for supervised visitation. A key component of this evaluation must be a lethality

assessment. The evaluation should be conducted by a mental health professional who has

had specific domestic violence training in conducting such evaluations.

• If domestic violence is confirmed, judges should order the batterer to complete a certified

batterers intervention program before ordering supervised visitation. This is currently

mandated in Louisiana ( Ver Steegh, 2000 ).

• Once a family court judge orders supervised visitation, a schedule for judicial review of the

case must be established and maintained ( NYSPCC, 2000 ).

• Family law judges should collaborate with their local supervised visitation programs on a

regular basis regarding non-case specific issues which involve operational and policy

aspects of the program. Program limitations in accepting certain cases should be delineated,

procedures for handling court orders from other jurisdictions should be established,

procedures for providing services to families with special needs covered under the American

with Disabilities Act should be determined.

• Family law judges must acknowledge that supervised visitation programs are not appropriate

in all domestic violence cases. The potential for lethality is so great in some cases, as has

been demonstrated by program reports and experiences, that visitation programs cannot

offer an adequate assurance of safety.

• Courts should work with their local supervised visitation providers to develop formal letters

of agreement which specifically outline policies and procedures for accepting domestic

violence referrals, conditions of supervised visitation orders, and the role of the supervised

visitation monitor ( Saunders, 1998 ; NCJFCJ, 1995 ; Ver Steegh, 2000 ).

• Courts should collaborate with their supervised visitation providers in developing observation

report forms for visits or exchanges and establish a mechanism for these reports to be

conveyed back to the court on a routine basis ( NYSPCC, 2000 ).

• Finally, courts must acknowledge that supervised visitation services are provided in a very

artificial setting. While the visit or exchange may go well and there are not reports of violence,

it must not automatically be inferred from a family’s experience that unsupervised visitation

will be without risk ( Straus, 1998 ). Further evaluation by domestic violence experts is

necessary before the order for supervised visitation is withdrawn.

Program Strategies

• Staff and volunteers of programs serving domestic violence cases must be adequately

trained in the dynamics of domestic violence, the impact of domestic violence upon child

witnesses, behaviors common to batterers and how these behaviors are manifested in

supervised visitation settings. They must also be informed about legal remedies, such as

orders for protection ( NYSPCC,2000 ; Maxwell &Robinson, 1998 ).

• Programs must require participants to share orders for protection with staff and these orders

should be placed in the family’s case file. If the program employs security officers, they

should also be given an opportunity to review the order ( NYSPCC, 2000 ).

• Program staff and volunteers must pay strict attention to the confidentiality of program

participants. No information about addresses, living arrangements, means of transportation,

telephone numbers and children’s school should be released. To violate a participant’s

confidentiality in this manner could dramatically increase the physical risk to the victim and

the child(ren).

Bibliography

American Bar Association. (2000). Commission on Domestic Violence. Policy 00a109A.

Bailey, M. (1999). Supervised access: A long-term solution? Family and Conciliation Courts

Review , 37: 478-486.

Edleson, J. L. (1999). Children’s witnessing of domestic violence. Journal of Interpersonal

Violence , 14(8), 839-870.

Field, J. K. (1998). Visits in cases marked by violence: Judicial actions that can help keep

children and victims safe. Journal of American Judges Association , 35: 3.

Johnston, J. R. (2000). Building multidisciplinary professional partnerships with the court on

behalf of high-conflict divorcing families and their children who needs what kind of help? University

of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review, 453.

 

 

Anxiety and Your Brain

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When you’re really anxious, your thinking center may strink to the size of a pinto bean, says noted Relationship expert Dr. Harriet Learner. It’s obviously hard to feel good about yourself when anxiety disrupts memory and concentration, leaving you unable to read, write, study, analyze, or take in new information.

Her next declaration is a telling picture into the bold impact anxiety has on a person. “Anxiety scrambles the brain in ways that leave us feeling helpless and self-doubting (ok so we’re familiar with these culprits, but wait), –when you’re anxious you experience catastrophic thinking. Doom and gloom fantasies tend to permeate your day, and reach a fever pitch when you’re lying in bed. Your anxious mind, saddled with far too much free time in the wee hours of the morning, will hook on to some dire, worst-case scenario frequently on the subject of personal finances, health, your child’s future, or the state of the world. And a slew of other issues not mentioned above. 

Anxiety can also destroy your capacity to tolerate ambiguity and complexities. We tend not to be able to see both sides of an issue, much less six or seven sides. Objective thinking becomes stunted, frozen, or your brain simply shuts down. Dr. Lerner says the most devastating part to you is your inability to see the many sides of your own self. “You” get lost in the equation, or should I call it, [Your best self] gets lost.  You tend to get locked into a narrow view of who you are, and lose sight of your own possibilities.

You’ve probably heard the saying “What you focus on grows.” If the saying is new to you,  it’s okay, the important thing for you to know is that IT IS TRUE. Since anxiety shrinks our brain center it makes sense that higher-thinking becomes compromised. When the thoughts we begin thinking are not healthy, by focusing on them allows them to appear real. The lesson to take away is, when a low thinking thoughts (from anxiety) enter your mind, redirect them to higher-thinking thoughts (the better part of who you are thoughts.)

Another noted and well-respected author, Susan Jeffers assesses the impact of anxiety this way. “Anxiety activates the little chatter-box in our heads that spews out catastrophic scenarios and serious doubts about our ability to cope, do new things, and handle whatever life brings. It drives our “lower-self” thinking, which Spurs us to operate from our most reactive self. So if you want to give a dinner party, take a new class, finish your degree after 20 years or get your high school diploma as an adult, your anxiety mind will immediately counter with several reasons why you’re inadequate to the tasks and shouldn’t try it or, for that matter, even think about it for another moment. Sound familiar? Don’t fall prey  this.

You matter. What you think matters.

Don’t compare. Appreciate.

Anxiety affects everyone. Focus on it and it grows.

Be your best-self by thinking higher-self thoughts.

Anxiety does NOT have to win. You CAN.

 

*The above post is a portion of  The Dance of Fear by, Dr. Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.. Emphasis added by Tamara L. Daniels The Growth Motivator.

**Anger Management classes held monthly, half-day format at Argosy University. Email: angerundercontrol@yahoo.com or 310.288.6868

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helpful Ways of Dealing with Anger

·         DO acknowledge that you are angry. It is important that you know how to recognize that you are angry, and give yourself permission to feel it.
·         DO calm yourself before you say anything. In the previous discussions, we saw how there is a biological reason why anger can feel overwhelming — our body is engaged in a fight or flight response. It helps then to defer any reactions until you have reached the return to normal/ adaptive phase of the anger cycle.
·         DO speak up, when something is important to you. This is the opposite to ‘keeping it all in.’ If a matter is important to you, so much so that keeping silent would just result in physical and mental symptoms, then let it out.DO explain how you’re feeling in a manner that shows ownership and responsibility for your anger. Take ownership and responsibility for your feelings. This makes the anger within your control (you can’t control other people).

 

Identify Your Hot Buttons Anger_hotbutton graphicHot buttons differ from person to person. Our personal histories influence what would make us angry. Some triggers are caused by conditioning, modeling, and unresolved issues.

A key to seeing if a hot button is the real cause of the anger, or just a trigger, is to see if your anger reaction is proportionate to what the situation calls for. If you’re angrier than you should be, perhaps there is an underlying emotional issue that needs to be surfaced.

*Understanding Anger Workshops held monthly on a half-day format. $49/$5 materials

For registration info go to Anger Workshop and SELECT “Which Workshop, Tele-seminar, Supplemental or Refresher Training class would you like to register for?”

 

 

Positive Parenting: In Honor of Father’s Day

POSITIVE PARENTING

American SPCC supports healthy parent-child relationships, and is a strong proponent of non-violent, positive parenting. We hope to help break the cycle of child maltreatment and violence, and have a positive effective on the well-being of children and families.

There is no doubt that parenting can be rewarding and exhausting all at the same time. The process of parenting is a full-time job, full of joys, trials, challenges, and triumphs. No parent is perfect. However, good parents take their parenting roles seriously, and are empowered to learn and develop their positive parenting skills. They accept responsibility for the total healthy development of their child, and good parents act as a positive role model. They mentor and guide their child through childhood to a successful adulthood.

What is the Definition of a Parent?

According to the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, a parent is described as ” a protector or guardian,” “to be or act as parent of: to parent children with both love and discipline,” and, “a person who brings up and cares for another.”

What are 3 Major Parenting Goals?

  1. Ensuring children’s health and safety
  2. Preparing children for life as productive adults
  3. And, transmitting cultural values3
    (Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology)

According to the American Psychological Association, a high-quality parent-child relationship is critical for healthy development.

4 Key Points to Positive Parenting Success:

  • An Effective Parent
    Your words and actions influence your child the way you want them to.
  • A Consistent Parent
    You follow similar principles or practices in your words and actions.
  • An Active Parent
    You participate in your child’s life.
  • An Attentive Parent
    You pay attention to your child’s life and observe what goes on.

From Adventures in Parenting. Click here to download a complete pdf copy.
Courtesy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

What are the Benefits of Positive Parenting?Parenting-Positive-Happy-Mother-Child

Positive parent-child relationships provide the foundation for children’s learning. With parents’ sensitive, responsive, and predictable care, young children develop the skills they need to succeed in life1. Early parent-child relationships have powerful effects on children’s emotional well-being (Dawson & Ashman, 2000), their basic coping and problem-solving abilities, and future capacity for relationships (Lerner & Castellino, 2002). From Positive Parent-Child-Relationships. Click here to download a complete pdf copy. Courtesy of HHS,gov and The National Center on Parent Family Community Engagement.

Like to read more from them? Click link below

http://americanspcc.org/parenting/positive-parenting/?gclid=CLW6gKnisc0CFZY1aQodHPEA3A

ABC’s of Visitation Orders: What Every Parent and Monitor Should Know

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What is violation of a visitation order?

Violation of a visitation order occurs when one party fails to comply with the terms and provisions set forth in a court-approved child custody/visitation order.  Violations of visitation orders are usually treated very seriously, as the child’s safety or well-being may be endangered through such violations.

Violation of a visitation order may be different than a violation of an informal visitation agreement.  In general, a visitation order is usually approved by the court and is enforceable under law.  Violating it may lead to legal penalties and consequences.  On the other hand, a mere agreement between the parties may not have the full backing of the court’s approval, especially if the agreement was never written down or presented to a judge.

What are some ways that a visitation order can be violated?

Visitation orders can be violated in many different ways.  While state regulations may be different from state to state, violations may include:

  • Overstaying a visit with the child
  • Withholding visitation from the non-custodial parent
  • Not dropping off or picking the child at the correct place/time
  • Attempting to change the visitation schedule
  • Attempting to reduce visiting time of non-custodial parent without courts permission
  • Allowing someone else to pick up the child without authorization from the court
  • Attempting to visit or contact the child at non-appointment times

In some cases, changes to the visitation schedule may need to be made for legitimate reasons.  In such instances, the parties should file to modify the visitation order, rather than attempt to change it without the court’s knowledge or supervision.

What are the consequences of violation of visitation orders?

The legal consequences for violating a visitation order can include:

  • Contempt of court (any willful disobedience or disregard for a court order)
  • Criminal consequences (this usually happens as a result of repeated violations)

Also, repeated violations of visitation orders can also affect the violating party’s rights in other areas, such as their right to custody in the future.  If the party keeps violating a court ordered visitation schedule, it will be reflected in their record and may cast them in a negative light in future court hearings.  Thus, violations of visitation orders should be avoided at all costs.

What can you do when a visitation order is violated?

Parents usually violate a visitation order by keeping a child for too long or failing to pick up a child at the right time. You have many options to use if your court order is being violated. Here are a few options:

  • Call the police: Call the police if you are unable to resolve the issues on your own.
  • Seek Legal Assistance: Alert your attorney about the violations. Your attorney can send a letter notifying the other parent about legal penalties for not obeying the court order.
  • File a Motion with the Court: You can file a motion for contempt of court if the other parent continues to violate the court order. You can also request attorney’s fees and other costs with this motion.

What could happen if a parent disobeys a child custody court order?

Disobeying a court child custody order may result in harsh consequences:

  • Non-violating parents could petition the court for enforcement of the order.
  • Violating parents may need to appear in court and explain why they violated the court order.
  • The court could find the violating parent in contempt of court, which could lead to jail time.
  • The violating parent could also lose custody rights previously granted by the court.

What are some of the biggest mistakes parents make regarding visitation orders:

    1. Violating the court order willfully or with disregard
    2. Withholding visitation
    3. Repeatedly changing visit schedule for your social or personal needs
    4. Speaking derogatory about other parent
    5. Discussing court case with children
    6. Coaching children to act a certain way or say a certain thing with the other parent
    7. Interviewing children during or after a visit

 

  • For more information regarding visitation or custody orders, please visit http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/contempt-of-court-lawyers.html

Parent Abducts Child While On a Supervised Visit at The Grove, Xmas eve.

SCV logo As I have always stated in my training classes, “All money isn’t SAFE money, or good money. Rejecting cases is a safety protocol.” This same parent contacted me for services and after he shared his objections to the Uniform Standards of Court 5.20 (Guidelines for visitation) I refused to offer my services. The case represented 10 hours per week. Sound tempting? Don’t allow money to be your sole criteria for providing services.

Tuesday,  December 29, 2015 07:05AM

A 2-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted by her father during a supervised visit near The Grove on Christmas Eve has been found safe in Palm Springs and reunited with her mother.

Jack Perry, 31, was arrested in Palm Springs shortly after 9:30 p.m. Monday night after a witness called the Van Nuys Police Station. The witness recognized Perry and his daughter, Lucia Perry, from a community flier she had seen. She alerted police to their whereabouts in the Palm Springs area and the suspect was taken into custody. The suspect had allegedly rented an apartment on Sunday using a fictitious name. Perry abducted Lucia on Christmas Eve, police said. The person who was supervising the visit lost sight of the pair in the 100 block of The Grove Drive in the Fairfax District at about 5 p.m. Authorities were worried that Perry would take Lucia out of the country since he has access to private aircraft and had threatened to do so before. Perry was booked on child abduction charges. He’s being held in lieu of $40,000 bail. No further details were immediately released.

http://abc7.com/news/2-year-old-girl-abducted-by-father-found-safe-in-palm-springs/1139196/

The $ and #’s Impacting Domestic Violence

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  • Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
  • Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.
  • The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
  • Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.
  • 63% of all boys who commit murder kill the man who was abusing their mother.

 

  • In a national survey of more than 6,000 families in the United States, half of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children.

 

  • Long-term exposure to battering can result in delinquency, higher rates of substance abuse, propensity to use or tolerate violence in future relationships, and a pessimistic view of the world.

 

  • Short-term effects of children’s exposure to domestic violence can include post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbances, separation anxiety, aggression, passivity, or desensitization to violent events.

 

  • Eighty-five percent of assaults on spouses or ex-spouses are committed by men against women with an estimated 3.3 million children exposed nationally to violence by family members against their mothers or caretakers each year.

 

  • At least 75% of children whose mothers are battered witness the violence.

 

  • In one study, forty-seven percent (47%) of homeless parents reported a history of domestic violence and one in four stated that a primary reason they sought shelter was domestic violence.

 

  • It is estimated that there are 1.35 million homeless children in the US; nearly half of these are under the age of 5.
  • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
  • Every day in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

Behaviors of Batterers That May Impact Supervised Visitations

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If, after conducting an intake, the Provider accepts a referral for visitation in a domestic violence case, it is important to identify behaviors that may subsequently impact visitation. It is critical to keep in mind that the goal of providing supervised visitation services, including Provider exchanges, is to provide a safe, neutral setting for parent-child access. If this cannot be accomplished, the visitation program must not accept the referral.

The following are behaviors sometimes used by batters that may affect a program’s ability to provide safe visitation:

  • Threats of violence toward the victim. This may include verbal abuse as well as attempted or actual physical assault.
  • Threats of violence toward children. This may include verbal abuse, threats, attempted or actual physical abuse, kidnapping.
  • Using visitation to send messages to the victim through the children.
  • Stalking the victim and children upon arriving or departing from visitation program. This can be done in person or through a third party family member or friend.
  • Intimidating children to reveal their current living arrangement, their custodial parent’s activities, their phone numbers.
  • Testing or violating staff or volunteers.
  • Intimidating visitation staff or volunteers.
  • Pitting one staff member against another to encourage divisiveness.
  • Requesting “special” privileges, such as unsupervised time with children.
  • Denial or minimization of abusive behavior (“It’s all a misunderstanding.”).
  • Blaming other parent for necessity of having to use visitation services.
  • Attempting to bring weapons (guns, knives, etc.) into program.
  • Threats or attempts to commit suicide.

Reducing Risk and Enhancing Safety for Visitation Providers

The point at which visitation services are ordered is often the period of greatest risk to the victim and children. Research indicates that victims leaving violent relationships face the greatest risk of death or serious injury in the period following separation. To enhance victims’ and children’s safety, programs should structure services in the following ways:

 

  • Providing well-designed security arrangements on site. This may include a formal policy for using on- site law enforcement officers, panic buttons to alert local law enforcement to problems, and other tools that staff are thoroughly trained in using, such as weapon detectors;
  • Having a safety plan in place for each family. This plan includes initial and ongoing identification of the risks to each member of the family;
  • Ensuring that perpetrators and victims do not come in contact with each other during visitation or Providers exchanges;
  • Arranging for separate arrival and departure times for victims and perpetrators;
  • Intervening in the visit if perpetrator denies, minimizes, or blames his or her partner for violence;
  • Reporting to the referring court any incident which affects the safety of program participants or staff; and
  • Requiring victims to bring a copy of their injunctions for protection for program records.