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Saturday, January 28, 2012

TACTIC'S IMPOSED ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS IN N.H.

There are several media sources that covered the results of N.H. HB 1608 a bill that proposed weakening an already disturbingly weak "police" response to the protection of Domestic Violence Victims:

TACTICS DIMINISHING
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS RIGHT’S IN THE LEGISLATIVE ARENA

WMUR - Basic coverage
http://www.wmur.com/news/30295720/detail.html

Boston - Meaningful coverage by the Associated Press "Norma Love"
http://www.boston.com/news/local/new_hampshire/articles/2012/01/25/father_of_slain_nh_woman_to_testify_on_nh_bill/

The Frisky review by "Jessica Wakeman" is Snark at its best.
http://www.thefrisky.com/2012-01-27/new-hampshire-considering-reversal-of-domestic-violence-laws/

To check the status and changes to this bill see: http://e-lobbyist.com/gaits/text/507561

Part of this Bill had language that indicated that if the officer had not witnessed the crime, it would require police to get a warrant before arresting someone on a domestic violence charge and consequently other crimes. The question to State Rep. Reilly of Grafton N.H. is: "Really, how many times are police, anywhere in this world, present for the crimes that occur?" It appears he is not answering questions and did not show up to hearings at the state house, on the matter he placed before the committee.

COURT ROOM TACTICS
UTILIZED BY ABUSERS TO CONTROL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS

The domestic violence batter wants control; and that control can take many forms; from physical sometimes apparent beatings to demoralizing verbal abuse and threats. Another form is this: once the victim takes measures to end the abuse and get a divorce the abuser than takes their spouse to court on frivolous charges repetitively, to gain custody of the child(ren) which gives the batter further control over his victim that he feels he lost when she left him.

The abuser at this point, then focuses his negative attention toward the Child(ren) and uses them to intentionally interfere with the custodial time of the victim, it starts slowly but progressively by not bringing children back on time, not paying child support, making false allegations against the victim; so much so, that the victim can hardly keep up with watching her back, trying to work, be a mother and move forward - due to the numerous charges levied against them; because division of assets is typically frozen at this stage and the abuser has control of the money, it leaves victims without the resources to combat the negative campaign levied against them.

The results of reviewing many cases in the N.H. system, show that an abuser can and does intentionally interfere in the parent/child relationship as a form of controlling his victim, by gaining custody of them.

N.H. RSA 461:A, supports continuing contact and shared responsibilities between Mothers and Fathers in a divorce. I think everyone can agree that every child desires to know the source of his being, to be connected to that source, and will go to great lengths to maintain that connection.  Children always seek the care, compassion and nurture of their parents, and feel a great loss when that connection is hindered or broken.

When the contact between a parent and child is threatened, the following government study gives us an important clue as to the children's often sudden resistance to spending time with the victim when the victim is a woman:

A study completed by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, US Children’s Bureau (2006), and (ironically) titledThe Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children”
 
2.1 The Impact of the Mother-Father Relationship on Child Outcomes
One of the most important influences a father can have on his child is indirect—fathers influence their children in large part through the quality of their relationship with the mother of their children. A father who has a good relationship with the mother of their children is more likely to be involved and to spend time with their children and to have children who are psychologically and emotionally healthier. ... One of the most important benefits of a positive relationship between mother and father, ... Fathers who treat the mothers of their children with respect and deal with conflict within the relationship in an adult and appropriate manner are more likely to have boys who understand how they are to treat women and who are less likely to act in an aggressive fashion toward females. Girls with involved, respectful fathers see how they should expect men to treat them and are less likely to become involved in violent or unhealthy relationships. In contrast, research has shown that husbands who display anger, show contempt for, or who stonewall their wives (i.e., "the silent treatment") are more likely to have children who are anxious, withdrawn, or antisocial. 8

The abuser would have everyone believe that the child (ren) have become this way of his/her own "free will" that it is the Child's choice to treat their mother in a dismissive or resistant manner. The Reality is, the child has been immersed in the father's actions, behaviors, and choices regarding their mother, and has likely internalized these negative messages to reflect his/her father, possibly for emotional safety.

Children take their cues about how they "should" act, think or feel from the people who have the greatest influence in their lives; as such, if the Father demonstrated his ability to view visits with the Mother positively, the child's behavior would reflect that and vice versa.

Instead, it is at this point that the Child’s behavior is suggestive of fear, threatening and intimidation.  Just as children can be unduly influenced by negative attitudes and beliefs, they are even quicker to internalize such messages if they are also exposed to negative consequences for desiring something contrary to the "undue influencer's" wishes. Taking away special toys, cherished pets or reminders of happy times are all ways in which children can be coerced, and are methods that the abuser will engage in with the purpose of gaining the child's cooperation in resisting connection with the victim of these acts.  For more information on persuasion see: https://webspace.utexas.edu/emc597/persuasion.html .

We know children wish to be connected to the estranged parent when they express loss over the belief that the estranged parent "gave up custody" of him/her.  If the child did not care whether or not he/she saw the target parent, the idea that the target parent so readily gave up custody of him - as has been communicated to them by some unknown party - would be of little consequence to them.   to see more click yes here






The reality is that the only person who has the motive to deliberately sabotage a parent/child relationship is the abuser and sometimes the step-parent.  It is unlikely that the list of “dos” and “don’ts” are generated directly through children who are experiencing a “patient and receptive” mother (often shown in visitation records).  More believably, it is a list of demands generated by an angry father who is seeking to maintain ultimate control over his child(ren), in order to further punish the mother.  It is ludicrous to believe that a child would not wish to talk about friends and family members whose company they once enjoyed.  It is also impossible to believe that they would not want even a small photograph of their own parent. 

The abuser will start to claim that they are concerned about “forcing” visits between the child and target parent; the abuser needs to stop behaving as if they are forced.  He needs to allow his children the breathing space to experience visits the way the Child wants to, without his interference.

When adverse statements are made by Children against one parent to the Guardian ad Litem— details need to be accessed to see if the statements are made under the direct influence of the abuser; it should be pointed out that the abusers influence is one in which they would have participated in the arrangements and the transportation for such contact.  Furthermore, the Court’s and GAL need to use caution when evaluating the credibility of the child's statements, the use of words that a child doesn’t understand and never used anywhere else is an indicator of clear adversarial conditions.
—When no detriment to the child seeing the target parent can be established as in Miller v. Todd NH 2011 see a recap at http://www.saveservices.org/2011/04/nh-supremes-rule-on-false-allegation-case/ or look at the case history  here: http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/opinions/2011/2011030miller.pdf ; there is no reason that both parents should not participate in their upbringing.

At this point in a case, it would be Ideal, in light of the damage that has already been allowed to occur, that residential responsibility of the child should be transferred immediately to the other parent so that they can, unhindered by unreasonable restrictions, begin to rebuild their relationship while their Child is still a child.  Expect that the court is unwilling to make such an extreme move, the Moving party must assert that the court not reward the abuser’s interference by giving less time with the parties’ child (ren).  Instead, “because children do best when both parents have a stable and meaningful involvement in their lives, it is the policy of this state, unless it is clearly shown that in a particular case it is detrimental to a child, to: (a) Support frequent and continuing contact between each child and both parents. (b) Encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children after the parents have separated or divorced,” the Moving party should request more time with the child, unrestricted in any manner. 

If the visits continue to be restricted in any manner a N.H. Bar Journal article Vol. 34, 1, March (1993); covers the harm to the child and has recommendations to deter the bad behavior of the interferring parent, including but not limited to a progression of charges that start at paying GAL or visitation fees up to and/or including weekend Jail Time to deter the bad behavior; in criminal law we seek to rehabilitate children; we punish adults to deter their poor behavior and the same should be done in Family Law cases.

Defiance works both ways, the abuser uses defiance by way of their intentionally contemptuous behavior and bold disobedience of court orders; the victim needs to use defiance toward their abuser by challenging and standing to oppose the malicious intent through the use of cool logic, wit and determination, to ensure justice for themselves and their children in a system is that isn’t designed to give you that and decidedly hard for women who may be suffering from post traumatic stress from the marriage itself and then the continued victimization in the court room.  However, with Attorney’s and Advocates the conscience surrounding the treatment of women and children is becoming a model that continues to grow under the Constitution, it is designed to allow that growth.  

We are not fully there yet; but, with further understanding and de-escalation tactics pursued by the courts and legislators against batters, parental interference and domestic violence can be controlled and will become obsolete when all parties are required to actually follow the court orders.   

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