When a woman shares children with a domestic abuser, leaving him can lead to extraordinary challenges as she enters the family law arena. Family courts are not sympathetic to mothers who report histories of domestic violence or child sexual abuse. In order to provide effective assistance and advocacy, professionals need to understand: 1) the post-separation risks that batterers present to the well-being of children; 2) the psychological deterioration that frequently occurs for children from unsupervised visitation with a batterer; 3) the urgency of careful strategic thinking on the mother’s behalf due to the rampant tendency of family courts to discredit the mother’s concerns.
1) Participants will identify the range of ways in which battering men cause continued or intensified danger and psychological harm to children after the parents have separated.
2) Participants will develop awareness of children’s potential to heal, and of some of the behaviors by batterers and errors by systems that can sabotage that healing.
3) Participants will learn to work with battered mothers on creating safe custody and visitation plans, and will learn how best to assist mothers who are forced by courts to adhere to unsafe plans.