Battered Women Lose Custody of Kids to their Abusers


Seal of Maricopa County, Arizona

Seal of Maricopa County, Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Battered Mothers’ Testimony Project: A Human Rights Approach to Child Custody and Domestic Violence (June 2003), pp. 33-34, 47-49.

The Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence carried out a two year study of 57 battered women who had gone through a custody battle in Arizona family courts. In the Arizona study, 72% of the mothers said they were not given an adequate chance to tell the court their side of the story and 41% were ordered into mediation though the court knew there was violence. (p. 48)

 

The survey found that courts awarded joint or sole custody to the alleged batterers 56-74% of the time (depending on the county). Many of these cases involved documented child abuse or adult abuse.

The Arizona studies main findings were:

a. In spite of evidence of violence against women and/or their children, (and with such violence documented in 63% of the cases) the courts consistently ordered sole or joint custody to perpetrators in 74% of the cases in Maricopa County and 56% of the cases in the other counties combined.

b. Income level, which was highly skewed towards father, seemed to have the most impact on the ultimate custody decision.

c. A mother represented by an attorney was more likely to win custody.

d. Having a custody evaluator more likely resulted in the mother losing custody.

e. By and large, the systems of control the perpetrator established pre-divorce, including physical and sexual violence and child abuse, were maintained post-separation with the added ability to use the court system to abuse the victims.

f. Having an order of protection had no impact on the final custody decision; contrary to Arizona law, the courts simply ignored the documented existence of domestic violence.

g. The courts ignored well-known research and federal standards as 100% of the victims were ordered to go to mediation or a face-to-face meeting with the abuser.

h. A large number of perpetrators had weapons or used alcohol or drugs when with children.

i. A large number of judges thought that since the parties were separated, domestic violence was not a concern.

j. In a large number of cases, unsupervised visits were awarded or the supervisor was an untrained person such as a family member.

 

 

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About mamaheartfilled

I am a mother of eight wonderfully challenging children and nine grandkids, of whom I am very proud. I am also a bi-vocational ordained evangelical minister, and a Christian Counselor. I received my B.S. degree in 2004, studying primarily in the areas of Psychology, with minors in Religion and English. I received my Masters Degree in 2009 in Psychological Counseling with an emphasis in Christian Counseling. I have endeavored to paraphrase the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, for the last ten years or so and am working on a final edit, now. It is my hope that it will be of some use in the great commission of Christ. My ministry is primarily geared toward victims of sexual and domestic violence, including victims of childhood sexual abuse, whether currently or in the past. Since I have personally experienced the healing hand of God in overcoming many of the life issues that Christians may face, I feel qualified and compelled to discuss them in a truthful and open manner, as God’s word tells us that “We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.” God has brought me through such diverse tribulations as sexual, physical, and mental abuse, being a victim of a drunk driving accident, spousal pornography addiction, adultery, divorce, remarriage, a very brief, though unjust, incarceration, and having experienced multiple miscarriages and various other trials. I have been asked to leave two Southern Baptist Churches, due to my being a female, ordained as a minister, and fired from a SBC sponsored Christian School (mostly white) for speaking out against racial prejudice in the Family of God. Through God’s merciful forgiveness of my own sins and inadequacies and God’s grace given to me to forgive those who have been a stumbling block to me, I have overcome many of these adversities. God’s word tells us that “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to the purposes of God." Since I have this hope, I believe that God has blessed me with the ability to confront and relate these issues to the Christian community around the world. I hope to be able to use my personal experiences as a ministry of God’s grace and in the comforting of the people of God with the truth of God's mercy. I claim II Corinthians 1: 3 & 4 as my calling, which states: “Blessed be God, the Origin of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Origin of mercies, and the God of comfort; who comforts us in all our troubles, that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, by the comfort we ourselves have been given by God.” As I have received the gift of God’s healing, I hope to be able to bring the peace beyond understanding to others with the message of God’s mercy and grace. My love for the Sovereign Lord of my life, Jesus Christ, along with my passion for writing has drawn me to explore these commonly experienced crisis issues from the perspective of my own experience in the hope that I may bring an empathetic and compassionate insight to God’s people. I am now a published author and have several books in publication, including my autobiography, "A Little Redneck Theology." The views expressed in my writings are strictly my own insights, acquired from personal experience and diligent study of the related topics and God’s word concerning them. Though I am an ordained minister, my views should not be considered authoritative. I believe that the Christian community’s ultimate authority is the guidance of the human heart by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
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