Dr. Phil: Stats show that in Domestic Violence Families children are abused 50% times more often than non Domestic Violence Families. So Why Are We giving Abusers and Pedophiles and killer daddy's custody of these same children?
Steve Burdo is the lead advocacy consultant for the Center for Judicial Excellence. “Women are just not being believed or listened to in family court, where the majority of these cases are being tried,” he says. “Oftentimes, they are being blamed and punished. Only in family court do we see a situation where the victim is the person who has to present the case against the abuser. If it’s in criminal court, it would be a DA or a prosecutor who would present the case for the victim, but if a woman is the victim of domestic violence, and can’t afford an attorney, then she has to go into court and present that case, and it’s extremely intimidating facing your abuser in the first place, but being able to go about the more technical or litigious aspects of presenting a case. In our criminal courts, we will make sure that our most heinous murderers have adequate legal representation. However, a mother who’s trying to protect herself or her child and can’t afford an attorney in family court, she’s thrown to the courts like a lamb to the slaughter.”
“How do we change that?” Dr. Phil asks.
“We need to completely rethink the way we handle domestic violence cases, and that means having all the right people involved, not just the legislators, not just the courts,” Steve says. “You need a domestic violence community, you need domestic violence victims at that table, talking about how to change the way we handle these cases, and it’s something that’s just not happening right now.”
“It doesn’t seem to me, from my involvement in this, that we have all the entities communicating,” Dr. Phil says. “If CPS is involved, a criminal court may not know that. If there’s a custody battle, CPS may assume that the family court is looking at this, so they’re not going to start an investigation, because they think it would be redundant, when in fact they might have resources that the family court doesn’t have, particularly with our budget cuts. Why do we not have family court, criminal court people talking to each other?”
“With the hundreds of calls we get each month at the Center for Judicial Excellence, our experience is that we see it’s more of an issue of CPS not communicating with the family courts,” Steve says. “When CPS is investigating allegations of abuse, and they see that there’s a custody dispute also, they will just close the case as inconclusive. It’ll then go to the family courts. The family courts will look at it and go, ‘Oh, this was closed as inconclusive. There’s no abuse,’ and they’ll just take that as a final verdict.”
Civil and family attorney Areva Martin and the National Network to End Domestic Violence have child custody precautions every mother needs to know before leaving an abusive relationship. See their tips here!Read more at www.drphil.com