Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Battered Mothers Rights - A Human Rights Issue.


by Susan G. S. McGee

1.) VALIDATION - support, belief, belief that what she’s suffered is abuse and is wrong,
belief in the details of her story, belief that she is not crazy, belief in the sometimes
unbelievable malice and planned terrorism of the batterer.

2.) SUPPORT, COMFORT, RESPITE - to be told that she is a worthwhile, valuable, wonderful human being, that she is lovable, that she matters - to be told over and over and over. She needs some plain old down home kindness and caring. She needs some time to herself.

3.) TO BE ASKED “What do you want? What do you need?” And she needs her
answers taken seriously.

have her whole life, character, plans, intentions, and actions scrutinized, evaluated and judged, just because she’s had the misfortune of falling in love with/being entrapped by a domestic terrorist.1 To be asked - and then to be reminded - what she did right, how she protected herself, how she protected her children, how she survived, how she prevailed, how she sustained her energy throughout brutal attacks. To be told that it’s not her fault.

5.) TO BE GIVEN HOPE. To be offered connection with other battered women who have
survived and escaped. To know that many, many battered women get away, stay away
and flourish.

6.)  A SEA IN WHICH SHE CAN SWIM SAFELY2 - temporary safety in shelter, safety in her
own home, or in new affordable housing.

7.) TO BE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO “get it” - loving family and friends, co-workers, neighbors, colleagues, bosses, health care professionals, law enforcement folk, school and day care personnel - people who understand that:  “just leaving” is difficult under the best of circumstances, but almost impossible when batterers stalk, harass, gain access to their victim through custody and visitation of their children; that the batterers’ “problem” is not poor impulse control, or a tortured childhood, but “his sense of entitlement to the life, services, affection, undivided attention and loyalty of his victim”;3 and that battering is not impulsive, but instrumental - that he doesn’t have poor impulse control, a temper problem, a short fuse, an explosive personality, but that he has carefully planned the abuse to get what he wants or to punish her for breaking his rules.


“just leaving” is difficult under the best of circumstances, but almost impossible when batterers stalk, harass, gain access to their victim through custody and visitation of their children; that the batterers’ “problem” is not poor impulse control, or a tortured childhood, but “his sense of entitlement to the life, services, affection, undivided attention and loyalty of his victim”;3 and that battering is not

I would have put emotional support at the top of the list because without it all other support is ineffective. If I didn't believe I could leave, cope, stay away, survive, then I wouldn't have even tried. In those crucial first days, weeks, months, years, it is vital that others
believe in us because we don't believe in ourselves.

That doesn't mean I wasn't conscious of other needs. I was and that's what terrified me. What if my
kids went hungry? What if we didn't have a roof over our heads? What if he was right that I was a
complete f*&^#p and the source of everyone's problems? What if the court gave them to him because

I messed everything up? What if he killed me and they were left behind to be raised by him?

What I needed more than anything was a safe place, a cocoon, to live in, to nestle in until my
soul wasn't so tired, until the numbness wore off and I could think again.

A place without time limits because if I knew those time limits were in place, I couldn't have rested,
would have worried the whole time. I know that isn't likely to happen for anyone but that's what I

Loretta Kemsley, a writer who uses her skills to give voice to all those not yet able to speak out.

8.) HER CHILDREN. She needs to be able to keep her children and keep them safe -not to be threatened by: the batterers’ kidnapping; kidnap attempts; abduction through the courts (getting custody); threats of violence and kidnapping through visitation; deliberate alienation of the children from her through horrible and untrue tales; batterer raping and beating the children; having the children removed by child welfare because the batterer is beating, raping and neglecting them and the police and child welfare can’t stop him, etc. She also needs help and protection for pets and farm animals.4


9.) TO BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN HER COMMUNITY - community of faith, culture, education, family, workplace, without interference and harassment from the batterer5 including the batterer6, spreading careful lies and half truths about her character, fidelity, mental health, use of alcohol and other drugs, violence and parenting. This is particularly important for survivors from small closed communities - minority faiths, military bases, reservations, immigrant communities, lesbian or gay male community, deaf community -
communities that provide substantial economic, emotional and survival support to its members.7

10.) TO BE GIVEN ACCURATE, UPDATED, ENERGETIC, CONCRETE INFORMATION about the dynamics of domestic violence, the opportunities for help in her community, the actual practices that occur among police, courts, etc. without thought of the political ramification. To be told the truth -- that the system doesn’t always work, that in some places it rarely works, and it’s not her fault.

11.) TO BE OFFERED INFORMATION about sexism, about how women are routinely degraded and bought and sold, about how her experience is part of a world wide system to keep women under control, that the tactics of the batterer are commonly used by
assailants throughout the world, and by those who abuse power over others.

12.)  ACCESS TO HIGH QUALITY, AFFORDABLE LEGAL REPRESENTATION - for custody, visitation, divorce, and advice and assistance in criminal matters.

13.)  ACCESS TO ADVOCACY - high quality, ferocious, respectful, culturally sensitive advocacy - the kind that makes you feel that you always have someone on your side. Someone to stand up for her, fight for her and believe in her.

14.) TO BE ABLE TO CALL FOR HELP AND GET IT. When she calls the police, goes to
court, tells her doctor, contacts child welfare, in other words, interacts with systems set
up to enhance her safety she needs a helpful response. She needs not to be punished
for seeking help.

15.) A CHANCE FOR (ECONOMIC) SURVIVAL - help with credit repair, money, housing, education and employment opportunities, child care, transportation, quality medical care, dental and eye coverage - as well as access to mental health and substance abuse services when needed.


1 Please note - the battered women’s movement was talking about terrorism far before 9/11, just the way the women’s liberation movement had tried to tell the world about the Taliban for years prior to 9/11.
2 Susan Schechter said in a workshop in 1983 that survivors needed to be safe within their own
community, to be fish in the sea, I assume she was paraphrasing from Mao.
3 Paraphrased from Barbara J. Hart, survivor, advocate, attorney, from the article “Rulemaking and
Enforcement/Rule Compliance and Resistance.” 1996.

4 The Humane Society now has a program about animal abuse and its connection to other forms of

violence. Prior to that, however, many of us knew how batterers killed, tortured, and threatened pets and
farm animals in order to inculcate hopelessness and despair and to prove that he was capable of any

5 Conversation with Barbara J. Hart

6 And the batterers’ allies, hostile family members, and other people he persuades to do his dirty work for

7 Particularly communities that are under pressure or are experiencing discrimination and injustice. Obviously there are many more than are referenced here.


© April, 2004. Susan McGee. SusanGSMcGee@aol.com With many thanks to the 5rs, especially Gale Martin, Cheryl Soehl, Loretta Kemsley, Vietta Helmle, Linda Leavitt, Lydia Walker, Rose Garrity, and Janyse Ashley for thoughts and inspiration. Feel free to reproduce, send around, and post this article for all educational, nonprofit, and hellraising purposes. Please cite me as the author and do not change without permission.

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Dad retained custody despite numerous child abuse and neglect allegations; now child dead from "suicide" Dastardly Dads

 Dastardly Dads

Dad retained custody despite numerous child abuse and neglect allegations; now 11-year-old boy is dead from "suicide" (South Lake Tahoe, California)

Dastardly Dads  Why the hell did dad DAVID ELLIOTT have custody of his 11-year-old son? And who gave it to him?

Family Services has been investigating this custodial father for 8 years over concerns regarding lack of supervision, physical abuse, parental drug use, and lack of household necessities. The most recent contact was only a month ago. Yet all were "unsubstantiated." I'm convinced these so-called investigators are deaf, dumb, and blind.

Although she had "joint custody," Mom was only awarded visitation on weekends and holidays. This despite the fact that Dad was unable to maintain heat or hot water in the home for the past six months. (Note that the dimwit investigators said this claim was "unsubstantiated," then turned around and handed the dad "placement prevention funds" to help restore gas services to the home.)

On Daddy's side, Family Services offered him "parenting" classes, help with obtaining Medicaid, and provided "counseling" for both father and son. (They were also facilitating "contact" between the boy and his mother by phone. Isn't that special? But why was this necessary? Was Dad cutting off phone contact? Was Mom's access restricted, despite the fact that it doesn't appear that she was the one with all the problems?)

It looks like these damn authorities were bending over backwards trying to accommodate (if not coddle) this deadbeat, abusive, and neglectful father. While this poor little boy is having to get Family Services involved just to talk to his mom on the phone. WHY?

After all the b***sh** these people have been putting out over the past 8 years, it's now claimed the boy's death was a "suicide." And that there were no signs of "foul play" or "abuse," so no charges are pending against Daddy.

What a freaking crock. Even if Daddy didn't have a direct hand in this boy's death, he had a role in this. And the agencies who went out of their way to keep this boy in his father's home and away from his mother.

Mom says she supports an investigation. And so do I. Dastardly Dads


Friday, December 18, 2009

Child welfare officials investigate South Lake Tahoe boy's death

Sheriff's office finds no signs of foul play

By Roseann Keegan

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif — Child welfare officials are investigating the suicide of an 11-year-old Stateline boy to see if a lack of supervision played a role in his death.

The Nevada Division of Child and Family Services released a report this week regarding the Dec. 14 death of Chandler Nash-Elliott, a fifth-grader at Zephyr Cove Elementary School.

The report states that Family Services has been involved in the boy's life since 2001 due to concerns of lack of supervision, physical abuse, parental drug use and lack of household necessities to care for a child. The report states that those claims were unsubstantiated.

It's unclear at this time why the case remained open at the time of Chandler's death. A case worker met with the boy and his father, David Elliott, as recently as Nov. 19, according to the report.

Chandler lived with his father in their Tina Court home on Kingsbury Grade where his body was discovered.

Elliott could not be reached for comment. A phone number previously used to reach the father has been disconnected.

Chandler's mother, Marie Barstow, had joint custody with visitation on weekends and vacations. She was in Arizona when Chandler died. Barstow said she planned to spend Christmas with her son.

Barstow said she supports any investigation into her son's death.

“I welcome it,” she said.

Barstow called Chandler's caseworker in November to complain that Elliott's house was without heat or hot water for six months, she said.

Ben Kieckhefer, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, said the report's claim of lack of household necessities was linked to that issue.

The report also states:

• The division made referrals to the family to DCFS–Intensive Family Services, Medicaid and referred the father to parenting classes for dealing with pre-adolescent youth.

• The family did not use DCFS–Intensive Family Services. The social worker was working with the family on obtaining Medicaid and counseling.

• The division provided the family with placement prevention funds to help restore gas services in the home, even though the report states that claims of lack of household necessities was unsubstantiated.

• The division also facilitated contact between mother and child by phone, and confirmed that the child was seeing the school counselor three times a week and was often eating lunch with the school counselor.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office concluded its investigation into Chandler's death Thursday. Spokesperson Sgt. Jim Halsey said there were no signs of foul play or abuse related to the death and that there are no charges pending against the father.

Zephyr Cove Elementary Principal Nancy Cauley said she was unable to comment on the school's involvement in the case due to district policy.

The report also stated that the division will be offering services to the family to address grief and loss. Barstow said she has not yet been contacted.

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Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Family 'Lawless' Court Whores.



from the research Let'sGetHonestBlog

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First battered at home and then by the State


Not a Private Matter – Why "Family" "Law" System Hurts Us All

First battered at home and then by the State (Great Britain/US)

without comments

Camilla Cavendish

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Camilla Cavendish is a columnist and leader writer for The Times. She graduated from Oxford University in 1989 with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. She has worked as a McKinsey management consultant, an aid worker, and CEO of a not-for-profit company. She is also a former Kennedy Scholar, having spent two years at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she obtained a Masters in Public Administration.

She was awarded the 2008 Paul Foot award for campaigning journalism. In 2009 she was also awarded “Campaigning Journalist of the Year” at the British Press Awards. Awarding her the prize for Campaigning Journalist of the Year, the judges said: “A good newspaper campaign should be about an issue of serious injustice and strong public interest. A great one will be unexpected, one in which the outcome is not a done deal and which will in the end affect serious change. This campaign does that.” Cavendish won the awards for her writings in The Times about the child protection injustices which she claimed resulted from the Children Act 1989 and the practices of family courts dealing with child protection issues.



First Battered at Home, then by the State (Camilla Cavendish)Camilla Cavendish

From The Times

October 31, 2008

First battered at home and then by the State

Women who manage to escape domestic violence then find themselves under suspicion and facing a wall of silence

{TELL me about it . . . . . .}Excerpts:

Ann – not her real name – was in an abusive marriage. The council advised her to move into temporary accommodation the next time her husband became aggressive. She did.

At this point Ann was a textbook victim. Her little boy had had an operation. She cared for him and took him to medical appointments. When she started living with another man, Bob, and got pregnant by him, her ex-husband sued for custody. He claimed that Ann suffered from a condition that used to be called Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy and is now known as fabricated or induced illness (FII). This would have led her to pretend the child was ill.

Despite a surgeon explaining that he had made most of the medical referrals, social workers seem to have become convinced that Ann was a liar. When a teacher reported that the boy was scared of his dad, the idea was said to have been put into his head by Ann, because he used “adult words”. The father won custody. Ann’s little boy now sees her for only three hours a week

{Pause to note that the “whomever” had forgotten the council’s first advice for her to move out}

{which goes to show the inundation with specialized jargon can cause amnesia??}

This sounds like CLASSSIC court case in the U.S. 

I met a woman locally, who was talking intensely into a cell phone.  Something about her intense but not yet frantic manner reminded me of the DV thing.  I overheard a comment or two, and finally asked.  Sho ’nuff, she had separated, and had a protective order on in one state.  She was (as a RN) having her children see a specialist for a fairly serious condition adn was herself an RN.  No matter, she was accused of Munchhausen’s, induced to return to the home state (from treatment) and lost custody of her kids to the abuser –while the RO was on.  Get it together, folks!). 

{Same article….} In the past three months I have spoken to a surprising number of women who have escaped domestic violence only to find themselves accused. First, they are blamed for having exposed the children to violence. Then, when they get up the courage to leave, they are suspected of being too weak to cope alone. One woman told me that she was labelled as a “weak parent” because she rang the police whenever her ex, against whom she had a restraining order, prowled round her home at night. Many claim that their ex-partners started to accuse them of being mentally ill as soon as they departed or after they turned down a derisory divorce settlement.Thus the psychological abuse continues.


This is not new in the U.S.  See Wellesley Center for Women:

Battered Mothers Fight to Survive the Court System

This is 6 years old, and states that the presumptive custody law wasn’t enforced back then, either.

Battered Mothers Fight to Survive the Family Court System

Research & Action Report Fall/Winter 2003

Human rights abuse charges are commonly used to attempt to tarnish political leaders and institutions in other countries. However, when the human rights lens focuses on U.S. institutions, such as the Massachusetts family court system, alarming cracks appear in the American assumption of justice at home. The Centers’ Battered Mothers’ Testimony Project (BMTP) has found that battered women often face yet another form of abuse in court.

Battered Mothers Speak Out, a report published by BMTP in November 2002, documents the human rights violations battered women suffer when they fight against their abusers for custody of their children in the Massachusetts family courts. Since 1999, project codirectors Carrie Cuthbert and Kim Slote have been gathering evidence about court processes and outcomes from abuse survivors, their advocates and counselors, and from state judicial and government officials.

Mixed Message from the State

“Battered women get a mixed message from the state,” Cuthbert said. “On one hand, they are told to leave their batterers to protect their children. But when they leave, they have to go to family court to resolve issues. The court tells them to maintain relations with this person and to foster a relationship between the children and their abuser. This way, batterers can continue the abuse following separation.”

In court, women are often at a disadvantage. A law that could provide critical protection—the Massachusetts Presumption of Custody Law that affirms that children’s best interests are not served when they are placed in the custody of a batterer or child abuserĂ‚—is not regularly enforced. Women usually receive custody in uncontested cases, but the 1989 gender bias study commissioned by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found that fathers win three times more often than mothers in contested custody battles.

Ensuring better treatment and outcomes for battered women facing custody battles is urgent, says the BMTP team. Courageous women who left brutal partners expect justice in the family court system, and they are dismayed when custody goes to the person who abused them or their children. “Women lose trust in the court system,” said Cuthbert. “That means battered mothers may stay with the batterer because they at least have some measure of control when they are present in the home.”

Although the research project ends in December 2003, the work of transforming project findings into concrete policy and practice is just beginning. A new grassroots organization of survivors and advocates—the Massachusetts Protective Parents Association—began meeting last summer. (2002) The project has been replicated in Arizona and several other states have expressed interest in the Massachusetts effort, all indications that the project’s impact is growing.

Human Rights Perspective

The project’s focus on international human rights standards helped draw support from survivors and transform them into leaders, BMTP leaders say. “Human rights looks at how governments treat citizens,” said Cuthbert.

It is one thing to go up against a single creep, whose habits you know.  It’s quite another to take on a system that supports him and denies your version of events!

This needs to be addressed!


MAN accused of fathering four children with his own daughter has pleaded guilty to 13 charges including incest.



Man pleads guilty to incest

  • From: AAP
  • December 18, 2009 4:12PM

A MAN accused of fathering four children with his own daughter has pleaded guilty to 13 charges including incest.

The man, aged in his 60s, is accused of repeatedly raping his daughter over three decades since the 1970s, starting when she was aged 11.

Appearing in the Victorian County Court via videolink today, the man - who cannot be named for legal reasons - pleaded guilty to 10 counts of incest, two of indecently assaulting a girl under 16 and one of common law assault.

He has been in custody since he was charged in Morwell, in Victoria's southeast, in February, and is due to appear in the same court for a pre-sentence hearing in February next year.

Victorian authorities have faced questions about what they knew about the alleged 30 years of abuse.

In September, Community Services Minister Lisa Neville resisted calls for her resignation after the case became public.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

Related Coverage

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Ms Neville admitted she and the Department of Human Services (DHS) secretary Fran Thorn knew nothing about it even though the alleged victim was cared for by authorities for some time.

Ms Neville directed Child Safety Commissioner Bernie Geary to investigate the case and what involvement the police, DHS, health professionals and other agencies had had with the family during the three decades.

The incest story broke shortly after the release of a damning report from Ombudsman George Brouwer, who raised serious questions about the department's capacity to protect children.

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