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Showing posts with label DV BY PROXY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DV BY PROXY. Show all posts

Thursday, December 14, 2017

"FATHERING AFTER VIOLENCE" GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS PUT ABUSED WOMEN AND CHILDREN AT RISK!

By Doreen Ludwig,
Author of "Motherless America: Confronting Welfare's Fatherhood Custody Program"
website:  www.maccabuse.org


Does Family Court offer protection to mothers and children who are victims of domestic violence? Many believe that the answer is no because father's rights extremists have been able to establish government programs which keep women and children vulnerable to ongoing abuse from violent men.

One such program is the Fathering After Violence Initiative.

Based upon this Initiative, instead of protecting women and children who have been abused, the Family Court System has a government mandate to foster and encourage the violent father's relationship with the children he has abused, regardless of the damaging consequences. Thus, in cases of domestic violence, the primary Family Court service offered to women and children who have suffered from a father's physical violence is supervised visits with the primary end goal of reuniting the father and children, even when these fathers will very likely continue to be violent and abusive.

In other words, according to an assessment prepared by Dr. Jessica Pearson, the Co-Director of the Center For Policy Research, (a part of the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network - FRPN), and the California Access and Visitation report to legislators, violent dads are given “step” visitation, i.e. supervised visits leading to unsupervised custody in as little as ten visits.

Based upon an article on high-conflict parent education written by Peter Salem, Executive Director of the AFCC, we know that the overarching intent of Family Court Services is to change the behavior of violent fathers and promote shared parenting, not to protect mothers and children from abuse and negative behaviors. While doing so, Family Court Services do not assess the ability abusers have to change, i.e. whether they are indeed capable of it, and furthermore there is no vehicle for assessing whether such change has occurred. This leaves victims vulnerable to ongoing abuse.


Meanwhile, supervised visitation, which was originally intended to protect victims of domestic violence is being turned on its head and directed as a weapon against mothers rather than being used for its intended purpose, which is to protect victims. In 2007, Juan Carlos Arean wrote a pamphlet, “Fathering After Violence: Working With Abusive Fathers in Supervised Visitation” using a OVA Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) grant. Arean provides guidelines to supervised visitation centers on how to heal violent dads. What is interesting about this report is page 6 where it states “in some centers mothers make up almost half of the (supervised) visit caseload, yet this document was designed to target in particular visiting fathers who have been violent with their intimate partners.” 


What can explain this conundrum of supervised visitation centers intended to be used with violent fathers ending up providing services to mothers instead, and then being used as a means to deny them custody?

To informed mothers and advocates, this is not a mystery. The data Arean reports makes sense when you realize that any mothers who have merely attempted to protect their children are being ordered to supervised visits, often under claims of Parental Alienation. This seems like an incredible betrayal, to learn that OVW is funding help for violent dads while ignoring the plight of abused mothers for which they are partially responsible. In this regard, the bolded and blocked statement on that same page gives a clue to the policy all government agencies, including OVW, are being strong armed into endorsing, policies of supporting fathers regardless of the harmful consequences to abused mothers and children.

Thus, it seems safe to conclude that the Family Violence Prevention Fund and OVW are promoting patriarchy. They certainly are not helping battered mothers and children to leave abuse. Instead, they are using their resources to encourage and force victims into long-term shared parenting situations with abusers that ignore their unrelieved potential for violence, and the vast array of non-physical, psychologically coercive assaults of which they are capable. Mothers who resist will eventually find themselves court-ordered to supervised visits where their presence will be ignored by OVW grant funding. Their failure to cooperate with fathers will be documented and they will lose custody, if not all access to their children. 

The majority of battered mothers involved in contested custody cases have reached out to their local and national domestic violence group and been turned away. Why? After examining the literature from the Fathering After Violence programs, it appears that OVW and FVPN collude to get abusive men custody by using supervised visits to create a specious record of healing and changed behavior. Subsequently, when women refuse to go along with such farcical records, they are accused of parental alienation, or parental alienation syndrome, custody is switched to the abusive father, and such mothers are cut off from meaningful contact with their children.

“Fathering After Violence” is a national initiative whose stated aim is to help end violence against women by motivating men to renounce their abuse and become better fathers (or father figures) and more supportive parenting partners using fatherhood (custody) as a leading approach. Typical of the thinking behind such programs is the following statement from Juan Carlos Arean's document: “Men who use violence can be held accountable for their behavior and simultaneously be encouraged to change it; and women and children can benefit from this approach.” Once again, two recurring themes are highlighted. First, the unfounded claim that men will change and, second, that mothers and children benefit from contact with these abusive men. Such programs have been implemented without any adequate research to be sure that such policies will work or that they will be beneficial to mothers and children.

The philosophy behind "Fathering After Violence" programs is an unthinking endorsement of the patriarchy. The message it conveys is that fatherhood is the vehicle for creating behavior change and that women must sacrifice their safety in order to make it possible. According to this reasoning, the goal of having men be fathers is so vitally important, that it is more important than the safety and wellbeing of abused mothers and children. In the entire report, in the rush to endorse violent men as fathers, there is no acknowledgement that abusive men have a higher probability of abusing their children, including sexual abuse. Further, we can only assume these programs do not assess whether or not father uses multiple tactics to control, intimidate, isolate and subjugate because it is not held to be a priority. 

In assessing the history of supervised visit centers, Mr. Juan Carlos Arean notes that the amount of supervised visit centers grew in the 1990’s “due in large part to custody and visitation between separated parents.” On the other hand, the report does not acknowledge early father’s rights connections to creating supervised visit centers. Yet it does acknowledge that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA 2000) funded OVW to establish the Safe Havens grant program.

The report tells centers to treat the violent father in a manner that does not dehumanize him. It does not acknowledge that abusers dehumanize the targets of their abuse. 

The YWCA in Springfield, Massachusetts is listed as one contributing center. This is the center that Kathy Jones, mother of John, was ordered to supervised visits for “alienation” due to her refusal to ignore the father's sexual abuse of their very young son. During each visit, John would disclose dads’ repeated sexual abuse, including anal penetration, in front of center staff who never filed as a mandated reporter. John, now 14, still lives with his sexually abusive father and has no contact with his mother and grandmother. 

Fathering after violence programs and policies endorse the following slogans without any basis in the facts:

“Giving abusive fathers (and all men) more opportunities for change and healing is an essential component of ending violence against women and children.”

“Abuse is a learned behavior and deliberate choice and therefore can be unlearned.”

Policies based upon such flawed and unsubstantiated concepts are bound to cause harm and damage to women and children. For instance, we know that pedophiles do not change. Why are we to believe it is any more likely that batterers will change their engrained behaviors? Even if we grant such unverified ideas, at the very least, change is going a require a little more than ten supervised visits.

Fathering After Violence confirms that for some years FVPN has been exploring the concept of using fatherhood programs as the leading approach to engage abusive men in renouncing their violence. In other words, “Centers show fathers the effects of witnessing and experiencing violence on children, and therefore create an impact that might persuade them to renounce their violence. Fathers are more likely to develop empathy towards their children than their partners (mothers) and this pathway to empathy can help some men reflect upon and change abusive and violent conduct."

Nonetheless, this report lists key characteristics of abusers including intimidation, psychological abuse, an inflated sense of self-entitlement, physical abuse, control, selfishness, superiority, possessiveness, confusion of love and abuse, externalization of responsibility, denial, minimization and victim blaming, and serial battering, visitation staff are advised not to stereotype and over-generalize by assigning these characteristics to batterers under supervision. Typical traits identified by Bancroft and Silverman, experts in working with battering men, such as authoritarianism, under-involvement, neglect and irresponsibility, undermining of the mother’s parenting and authority, self-centeredness, manipulativeness and ability to perform under observation are also discounted in their importance to assessing an abuser’s potential for changed behavior. 

Meanwhile, we are supposed to believe claims such as that despite these damning characteristics, mothers still want such men to participate in the lives of their children. For instance, Fathering After Violence claims women want the abuse to end but not necessarily the relationship, i.e. “Some mothers who have experienced violence still want their ex-partners to change and become better fathers for their children.” Along these lines, Tubbs and Williams conducted a focus group with 43 African American women and concluded their work “indicated shared parenting was perceived as a necessary obligation of parenting even with safety concerns for self and child.” These conclusions appear so unlikely, I can't help but consider them a clear cut example of observer bias in research. It appears that this research team was going to wring out father positive conclusions from those focus groups no matter what the mothers said.

Advocates are well aware of the phenomenon of batterers going to diversionary programs where the staff is predisposed to exonerate them quickly. Such behavior is so widespread that even Mr. Arean's pamphlet mentions the possibility that staff could collude with male batterers, and, that male staff tended to collude more than women staff, both consciously and unconsciously. The thrust of such programs appears to be to reward staff who ignore and discount the wide array of batterer characteristics and traits, and who collude to “cure” the abuser and document him as fit for custody regardless of whether he is or not. In assessing his danger and risk, staff are coached to merely look at levels of violence, incident-specific abuse, and his behavior during supervised visits, not his attitudes, motivations and character traits that would predict potential for continued abuse and future attacks or the potential of his abusing his child(ren) once he graduates from the program.

As with Pearson, Mr. Arean's pamphlet states that poverty corresponds to higher levels of violence, yet it does not explain why poor men appear to have higher levels of violence. This author, Doreen Ludwig, proposes that women in relationships with higher incomes have more to lose: social status and income. Public shame is greater in higher income communities. Wealthy men receive greater amounts of political protection, including local police force; police are less likely to process charges against higher income males. Thus, while there appears to be lip service to the idea that domestic violence cuts across all racial and economic divides, the reality is that policy makers and experts in the field of Domestic Violence continue assume that only the underprivileged are affected or need to be provided with services. This leaves the needs of higher income victims unattended to.

Often, Visitation Centers act as conduits to assisting abusive fathers to obtain custody from their victims. For instance, many Visitation Centers are advised to establish a relationship with fatherhood programs (page 35). Some centers have fatherhood programs on-site. Curiously, the report states “these programs are different from so-called “father’s rights” groups and can offer expertise and materials on positive father engagement.” Yet the report goes on to state “most of these programs could also clearly benefit from receiving training to advance their understanding of domestic violence dynamics.” The Office of Violence Against Women is telling supervised visit centers to refer violent men to fatherhood programs whose chief partnership is with courts to get men custody, all the while acknowledging that fatherhood programs know nothing about abuse and claiming those programs are not agents of male supremacy! 

What the Juan Carlos Arean report highlights is the shameful fact that OVW and VAWA have not protected women and child victims of abuse and instead have bought into unfounded theories that abusers can change their behavior. When discussing conducting orientation sessions, even the report itself acknowledges the reality of these custody switching policies in favor of men stating, “in most centers some (if not many parents ordered to visits) are mothers, some of whom might be in fact victims, rather than perpetrators of domestic violence (page 45).”

Fathering After Violence advises staff to tell dads to show respect to their children’s mother regardless of his feelings about her. Not seeing lack of empathy as a precursor to future episodes of abuse, the report states men are “more empathetic as fathers than as intimate partners or ex-partners.” It is not assessed if Dad's empathy is an “act” meant to gain custody in order to direct his abuse toward his child, an unprotected person, since mother has chosen to end their intimate relationship. We also have no idea how the report measured father's empathy in connection to their children, and would suspect that is is merely a fabricated assessment created for the purpose of justifying a policy that has long caused harm and damage to numerous protective mothers and their children.

Mary Jane King’s son, Thomas was horribly sexually violated by his father. Mary Jane worked diligently to document the abuse and she attempted to get him treatment at the Yale Child Sex Abuse Clinic. All the while family court blocked Thomas from getting treatment, hid the abuse while calling mother an alienator, and eventually cut off her contact with Thomas. 

Mary Jane posted on facebook “In CT all DV funding is "partnered" with fatherhood initiative legislation, so increasing access of abusive males to victims is the controlling law of DV funding.” Thus, the most popular private program funded by the State of Connecticut is David Mandel's Safe & Together Institute which provides lip service to DV mandates while essentially advocating to have violent fathers in the lives of their children. This is done in conferences held in sought after vacation resorts all over the world--Florida, Australia etc. etc.

In CT and across the United States, as a victim of domestic violence, you have a great deal to fear as you approach the Family Court System. The father's rights movement has subverted approaches that were put into place to protect women, and they are now being used against victims. Domestic Violence Centers, from which you expect support, will not assist you in protecting your children from the abuser because they receive government fatherhood funding that motivates them to place the rights and the needs of fathers first. Even worse, the OVA and others in the Domestic Violence industry have abandoned battered mothers and accepted millions of dollars in fatherhood funding to pay their salaries and to increase their profiles which has meant they have had to buy into father friendly, perpetrator blind policies. As a result, the battered, protective mother of today is a mother betrayed.

For more information on this subject, please click on the link below:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

DIALOGUE WITH AN ATTORNEY OVER WHAT CONSTITUTES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!

By Elizabeth A. Richter
Introduction:


Recently, I was going through my old documents in my divorce case. As I was doing so, I stumbled across a conversation I'd had with one of my attorneys, Attorney Gerald Kahn regarding the innocent spouse provision established by the IRS.  I was very concerned that I might get into trouble with the IRS regarding old tax returns. At the time, I was so struck by Attorney Kahn's negative response to me that after the conversation, I sat down and wrote out my memory of what had been said.  Below is my recollection of our conversation.  

As you can see, in this conversation Attorney Gerald Kahn tries to restrict the definition of domestic violence to physical violence, even though the IRS doesn't even limit the definition in that way.  Now that I am several years past that conversation, I am still struck by how Attorney Gerald Kahn responded in this conversation to the issue of DV.  Read the conversation below and I would love to hear your comments regarding our interaction:


Conversation:

Elizabeth:  I have this notebook with IRS forms that describe the meaning of "Innocent Spouse" and I am thinking of filing for innocent spouse status with the IRS. You can look at it so you can see the kind of letter they require.  Here you see that they want to know if you are a victim of DV.

Attorney Gerald Kahn:  You aren't a victim of DV are you?

Elizabeth:  I go to a regular weekly meeting at Interval House.  They think I am.

Attorney Gerald Kahn:  Well, your ex never beat you up, so...

Elizabeth:  At Interval House, if you ask them, they would say they make no differentiation between verbal or physical abuse.

Attorney Gerald Kahn:  I can't say you are a victim of DV based upon your report or based upon your understanding, I've certainly never met your ex.  I can only verify what you've told me.

Elizabeth:  I think there are many objective ways of verifying what I've said about my ex.

Attorney Gerald Kahn:  Like how?

Elizabeth:  I've tape recorded my ex saying "You're crazy, you're crazy.  Everyone knows you are crazy" and stuff like that.

Attorney Gerald Kahn:  I can't tell you how many times stuff like that gets said in the middle of a marital spat.

Elizabeth:  I think it is just particularly more hurtful in my case with my past history of the 30 year old misdiagnosis.  My ex is aware of that.

Attorney Gerald Kahn.  Well, I'd like to hear the tape recording if you have it.

Elizabeth:  Sure, I have it.  I can get it for you.

Attorney Gerald Kahn:  And that letter from your father that I keep on asking for.

Elizabeth:  If you want confirmation of what my father knows, you just have to consider that my ex was sending letters to my parents 3 or 4 years ago calling me crazy. Just the fact that my Dad didn't tell me about those letters.  That's enough to show you what my ex is like. It's too bad with my father.  If he'd told me about those letters I'd have been forwarned.

And just the fact that when you get down to it, my ex was telling everyone I was crazy.  Like when the police were called to my house, my ex met them at the door and said, "My wife is having a nervous breakdown and I'm calling her therapist right now."  The police met me and said they didn't think I was having a nervous breakdown.

But just his telling everyone I was crazy created an atmosphere around me.

Then what about all those forged signatures.  Those are objective enough.  That kind of thing, signing my name on IRS documents, forging my signature to open and close accounts.  All of this denied me the right to make my own independent decisions.

Anyway, you should look at the IRS documents.  See what it says about when you can be relieved of responsibility for a spouse's actions.  I think when you read it, the requirements will be more clear.  

Questions for you:

1.  Do you think that Attorney Gerald Kahn's limited definition of domestic violence was reasonable?

2.  How would you characterize Attorney Kahn's handling of this situation in the light of Elizabeth's experience of DV?

3.  Why do you think Elizabeth did not state "I am a victim of domestic violence" and instead said, "They (i.e. staff at the DV shelter at Interval House) think I am."?

4.  What do you think of Elizabeth's ex writing letters to her family reporting that she is crazy?  What role does that play in DV?

5.  Why do you think Elizabeth's Dad did not let her know that he was receiving those letters?  What was involved there?

6.  How do you think Attorney Gerald Kahn's reaction to Elizabeth's report of how DV affected her?

Friday, August 12, 2016

HOW FAMILY COURT PERPETUATES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!

Victoria Law of TRUTHOUT explains as follows:

"When Kate finally escaped her abusive husband, she thought that the violence and terror were over. What she learned instead is that, when children are involved, escape and safety become even more difficult as abusive ex-partners use child custody and the family court system to continue their harassment and abuse.


The first time her husband hit her, Kate was pregnant with their first child. He had forgotten his fanny pack at the drug store, Kate recalled. Once at home, she told Truthout, "he smashed me hard on the back of the head and said, 'How could you be so stupid?'"

It was the first time he had struck her, but her husband had emotionally and verbally abused her for years. "I felt like I was walking on eggshells and was nervous all the time," she explained. "All I could do was grovel and then go back to the drug store to get it..."

READ MORE:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

TASK FORCE TO STUDY THE STATEWIDE RESPONSE TO MINORS EXPOSED TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MINUTES OF THE MEETING, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2015!

10:00 A.M. in Room 2A of the LOB

MINUTES PROVIDED BY ASSISTANTS TO THE TASK FORCE!

The meeting was called to order at 10:05 A.M. by Co-Chair Garry Lapidus

The following committee members were present: Mary Painter, Cheryl Jacques, Gina Beebe (for Linda Harris) Karen O’Connor, Sarah Eagan, Christine Rapillo, Laura DeLeo, Karen Jarmoc (Co-chair), Garry Lapidus (Co-Chair), Cynthia Mahon, Jon Fontneau, Jessica Veilleux, Kayte Cwikla-Mass, Nina Livingston, Jennifer Celentano, Damioin Grasso, Rachel Pawloski, Elizabeth Bozzuto, Stephen Grant and Faith Voswinkel.


Members introduced themselves.

The minutes from the previous meeting were reviewed and accepted by the members.

Co-Chair, Karen Jarmoc stated that today’s meeting will be focused on law enforcement and interventions and policies that are available in Connecticut. She continued to say that Connecticut has a state wide model policy for law enforcement’s response to family violence that was created as a result of a prior task force. Karen went on to say that, potentially, there is opportunity for this task force to make an assessment and offer some recommendations and that there is a permanent governing council that oversees this model policy, so we want to make sure that this task force and the governing council are in alignment with each other.

Karen Jarmoc thanks Maggie Adair at the Office of Early Childhood for providing the task force with follow up information. Karen then introduced Dora Schriro, Commissioner, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Commissioner Schriro gave her presentation on behalf of her agency.

Faith Voswinkel shared that she was particularly interested in knowing if there was a way to differentiate the age of the child on the scene for example, are there children under 3 present, are there pre-school aged or school aged children present.

Commissioner Schriro replied that the form they use has a place for date of birth, that assumes that someone is there and competent to give the date of birth, and at a young age it is not likely to be the child. She continued that to the extent that they can improve and add some additional drop down fields or have additional training bring to the troopers awareness what should be included in the remarks section. She went onto say that they can write additional software so they can pull more of this information out.

Faith Voswinkel thanked Commissioner Schriro for her response.

Commissioner Schriro commented that if Faith had other specific requests that Faith can email her directly or communicate through Trooper O’Connor.

Karen Jarmoc thanked Commissioner Schriro for her presentation. She went on to say that as a task force the question would be what is relevant, and that if the task force wants to capture data that would be the question for this group to grapple with and come up with some answers. Karen asked Commissioner Schriro if that data entry point would be the place to ID children.

Commissioner Schriro replied that under the relationship code you have “F” “Other Relative Residing in Home,” so that would apply to children, but that the task force may prefer to have children specifically identified.

Karen Jarmoc commented that she thinks that might be important and also if there is a way for the task force to make some recommendations around what does “involved” mean, what does “present” mean, what does “NA” mean.

Commissioner Schriro indicated that the task force might also want to look at number 22 which is “A Child Under 18 Was Involved/Present.” She offered that an additional question might helpful to identify a younger cohort of children.

Karen Jarmoc asked Commissioner Schriro if she had any opinion the Model Policy.
Commissioner Schriro replied that the real experts are the police officers and the state troopers in the field so it might be worthwhile to get their thoughts about it.

Jon Fontneau said that he agreed with Commissioner Schriro that boots on the ground police officers will give a much better perspective. He also added that if the children attend school it would be helpful to know which school they attend would be helpful for local police.

Commissioner Schriro said that Jon made a good point to help the outreach made by law enforcement to the school the next day, otherwise the school will not know that the event occurred and the child may be off his/her game, if they are even able to be in school.

Karen Jarmoc asked if in terms of training, is it 20 hours specific to family violence for any new trooper and what ongoing training is like.

Karen O’Connor replied that recruit based training is 20 hours, which is outside of minimal facts training, in domestic violence and that troopers receive minimal facts training every year, which amounts to 4 hours yearly.

Cynthia Mahon asked if it would be helpful to add to #22 if a DCF referral was made and how can an attorney general in the child protection department or a DCF worker access these forms.

Commissioner Schriro replied that she is sure there is a way to access the forms, but she doesn’t know what the mechanism so she will report back to the co-chairs with that information.

Jennifer Celentano asked what the protocol that the State Police use when they go to the scene to deal with children, in particular when there is a dual arrest.

Karen O’Connor responded that the state police train to identify a primary aggressor and if possible take the primary aggressor into custody, serve the other party with a misdemeanor summons and a court date and a DCF referral is made. She continued that if both parties are arrested they call DCF immediately, but if there is a family member that the child can go to they make every effort to make that happen.

Garry Lapidus thanked Commissioner Schriro for her remarks and asked if she could share with the task force members one change in her agency in policy or practice that she would suggest to reduce the impact of this problem, what would that be.

Commissioner Schriro replied that her agency is going to be doing strategic planning in the fall but that she doesn’t know what the answer to Garry’s question is yet, but that she is confident that they are going to find it.

Jessica Veilleux asked Commissioner Schriro if a box could be added for “Referral to Hospital or VA Center” regarding mental health issues witnessed by the police officer.

Commissioner Schriro that she is confident that there is opportunity to add more fields.

Jessica Veilleux thanked the Commissioner for her response and said that she doesn’t see anything about verbal threats on the form and indicated that Public Act 12-114 (Summary of PA 12-114) was changed to include the abuse of threatening. She asked where that could be added.

Commissioner Schriro replied that there is threatening.

Jessica Veilleux shared that there are 2 definitions of threatening one is imminent and one is later in the day or throwing an object.

Commissioner Schriro responded that we need to add it with a drop down box with the nature of the threats or provide training that it is added under remarks.

Jessica Veilleux replied, yes, per Public Act 12-114.page3image24784 page3image24944

page4image1112
Karen O’Connor added power and control wheel lists several types of abuse including economic abuse, emotional abuse and abusing children. She went on to say that the form is for collecting data and the report will contain the specific types of abuse observed, which goes hand in hand with identifying a primary aggressor.

Faith Voswinkel asked if this form is only done if there is an arrest.

Commissioner Schriro responded that the form says “Arrest Yes/No” so it is completed.

Faith Voswinkel asked for clarification that it’s completed for any time there is a call and they are going for family violence.

Jon Fontneau replied yes.

Karen Jarmoc said that Faith raised another question. She asked for clarification that the form is only submitted in terms of how data is being captured when there is an arrest made and if there is not an arrest made, the localized department retains the form.

Jon Fontneau replied that it goes into their records management.

Karen Jarmoc offered that it might be meaningful for everyone to understand what is going on if there is not an arrest.

Jon Fontneau asked for clarification that Karen was asking who would use this if there was not an arrest.

Karen Jarmoc replied, yes.

Commissioner Schriro stated that a record is created; it’s just whether it makes its way to everyone for particular reports. She continued that she thinks having the whole picture is worthwhile.

Karen Jarmoc commented that she agrees with the Commissioner. She went on to say that just because children are present at the scene doesn’t mean that there is a mandated DCF report.

Jason Lange and Lt. Sean Grant did their presentation.

Karen Jarmoc said that it would be helpful to understand, broadly, why is this unique response important and asked if we are talking about additional dollars for training and is EMPS a 45 minute response.

Amy Evison replied that their average response time is 29 minutes.

Karen Jarmoc asked if EMPS is DCF funded and asked how many are in the state.


Mary Painter replied that there are close to 200 employees.


Amy Evison said there are 6 providers and a few subcontractors.

Karen Jarmoc restated that state-wide there are 6 providers maintaining the contract for EMPS.

Mary Painter replied, yes.

Jennifer Celentano asked if the Manchester pilot program and Waterbury were the first 2 pilot programs, what was the cost for the Manchester program in additional funding. She continued that if this was implemented state wide there would be a need to exponentially increase the EMPS responders.

Amy Evison said that at this point they are not seeing a high level of referrals but if it dramatically increased staffing changes would have to be considered and that they are also third party for their services so as they continue to see kids, they can bill third party to supplement staffing.

Jennifer Celentano asked if just Manchester was using this model.

Amy Evison replied that it is just Manchester.

Jennifer Celentano asked if others picked up this model, would they need more funding.

Jason Lange replied that it would depend upon the use. He continued that prior to REACT there was 1 call in 12 months to EMPS and in most police departments it is closer to 0. Jason said the increase is only to 43 in 1 year, which is not going to require any extra resources at that scale.

Mary Painter shared that at the local community level interested police departments and EMPS teams could work on this together without additional funding. She went on to say that with regard to training of EMPS staff, it speaks to her about the need for more cross training and cross disciplines because EMPS is widely available state-wide and is an excellent source for families and kids, but we have a lot of disciplines who don’t understand or know about it. Mary asked Jason what the content is and if there is a module on domestic violence for EMPS.

Jason Lange replied that there is a trauma module that includes some on domestic violence.

Amy Evison added that they have up to 10 or 11 core trainings that EMPS does, they are always looking to make adjustments and that it could be arranged.

Mary Painter stated that the other piece to this is how do we add these different, important training topics without adding burden to the workforce.

Amy Evison said that she brought some data about how much they are experiencing with kids in their general population around violence, and it’s quite significant. She went on to say that the kids they are seeing are either victims of trauma in some way, exposed to violence through their peers and they are exposed to violence in their homes.

Garry Lapidus said that they mentioned the challenge of being on scene with a 911 family violence call and the challenge of making multiple phone calls, he asked if there was a way to stream line this to one call.

Sean Grant replied that one call to handle both issues would be helpful but that he cannot speak to the practicality of doing it, but that one place to go would be more effective for the officers and lead to more success for the program.

Karen Jarmoc indicated that she also liked the idea of one call if there could be some type of model, but that she does not like a call to DCF because victims may hesitate to call law enforcement if they know that DCF will get involved.

Karen O’Connor asked if EMPS is available regardless of whether or not you are participating in the REACT program.

Amy Evison replied yes.

Karen O’Connor asked where the six locations throughout the State of Connecticut are.

Amy Evison replied that you can receive EMPS where ever you live in Connecticut.

Karen O’Connor clarified that she meant as far as they are located state wide.

Amy Evison responded that if you dial 211 you will get the local EMPS provider where ever you live in Connecticut, so it is complete state-wide coverage.

Faith Voswinkel restated that anywhere people are they simply dial 211 if they state that this is an emergency regarding a child they jump to the head of the queue, some information is taken and then they are warm lined right to the provider. She commented that she’s not sure how much more it can be streamlined. Faith then asked what the relationship with the schools is with the REACT program.

Sean Grant responded that they have their SRO supervisor involved in the process they also participate in programs where notifications are made prior to drug raids. He continued that they have satellite DCF workers in their police department which is a benefit to them. Sean indicated that he would like to be able to check a box and be able to send an email to the supervisor of the SRO unit so SROs would be notified the next day if something did happen the night before so the SRO would be able to watch that child the next day or the next day. He continued that he would like to incorporate more of the training they have had with EMPS and DCF so all are on the same page with the same training. Sean brought up that they have had a problem with the call center with small decision making things that they haven’t been able to do.

Karen Jarmoc asked Jason to go back to the slide of agency locations and compared that to what Commissioner Schriro showed the task force in terms of volume of arrests. She noted that it’s the eastern part of the state that has the highest volume, but when you look at the map up now, it is mostly around the centralized corridor and less so in the rural areas.

Nina Livingston said she would like to understand a better how they are collaborating in the field, is it just a call to EMPS and a handoff or whether there is actual collaboration on the scene, specifically around the interview of the child are the police waiting for EMPS to arrive before the child is interviewed in some or all cases, and are you collaborating regarding the need for DCF report.

Sean Grant replied that what they ask for response in the field is that if the scene is safe then the officer may not need to stay but if EMPS is going to be there they stay. He said that the DCF call does not have to be made there if arrangements can be made for the child at that time.

Nina Livingston said that if you have to interview the child as a witness are you waiting for EMPS. She commented that Amy was shaking her head. Nina then asked if EMPS is informing that question about a DCF report or are you two independently deciding whether or not to report, and there may be one report or two.

Sean Grant responded that was part of his comments that if they train together and determine who is going to be doing what.

Jason Lange added that what they are talking about is the gold standard of what he hopes they can work toward and that it is a dramatic shift for law enforcement to think about using EMPS and understand the child’s perspective and the trauma. He said that he supports cross training and encouraging local collaboration because could be done without a lot of resources.

Jon Fontneau congratulated the City of Manchester for having such dedicated people working for their children. He went on to say that at one point Stamford had clinicians riding with police officers so they would be on the scene when the officer was on the scene, but that was discontinued because of lack of funds.

Karen Jarmoc asked Jon if there was anything formalized that he could send the task force about Stamford.
Jon Fontneau replied that he would like to bring up his child guidance center team from Stamford.

Karen Jarmoc commented that they will be worked into an upcoming meeting.

Amy Evison added that they do meet monthly where the adult crisis team and the child crisis folks come together to review where each are at with referrals and discuss what went well, what they can give feedback to the officer about the family and trouble shoot what they can do better.

Karen Jarmoc asked Jennifer Celentano if she would like to address the task force and give a brief outline of her work.

Jennifer Celentano gave brief comments.

Karen Jarmoc asked if it would be helpful if a specific recommendation could be developed and then work it out with Mary for the task force to consider.

Jennifer Celentano responded that would be OK, but she wondered if it would require a change from the Rule Committee because it is a Judicial Branch form.

Karen Jarmoc asked if Jennifer would mind doing the diligence around that. Jennifer Celentano agreed to do the diligence.

Karen Jarmoc asked Jennifer if it was specific to family violence, because that is the task force’s charge.

Jennifer Celentano responded that she doesn’t think you can differentiate between them.

Karen Jarmoc commented that if Jennifer would confer with DCF and Judicial if there is a policy recommendation that the task force can consider and discuss as part of their report. Karen then asked Christine Rapillo if she would like to address the task force.


Christine Rapillo gave her comments.


Karen Jarmoc asked Christine to clarify the GAL training.

Christine Rapillo said that her office is new to the family court/child welfare procedure. She continued that the initial program which is six classes for the family court Guardian ad Litem did include some training on domestic violence and it has been incorporated into some of the trauma work. Christine said that for the Public Defender’s office the training in October is the first specific domestic violence training that is geared toward child protection and the family court people. She went on to say that the six class training is in the process of being revised and that the GAL training hasn’t been offered in two years and that domestic violence will definitely be part of the curriculum.

Karen Jarmoc asked who does the training, what is the curriculum, where do you get the curriculum and who is delivering that training and is it mandated.

Christine Rapillo replied that the specific training is not currently mandated. The Center for Children’s Advocacy, which is affiliated with the University of Connecticut Law School does the pre-service training and there is a section on domestic violence. She went on to say that the Department of Children and Families also offers training.

Karen Jarmoc asked that Christine follow up with the Children’s Law Center to understand what curriculum they are utilizing.


Christine Rapillo commented that with the training being revised that this is the perfect time to talk about it.

Garry Lapidus asked what is being taught now in law schools in this country on this issue.

Christine Rapillo replied that she does not know, but she can find out.

Karen Jarmoc said that the next meeting will be October 6th from 10:00 12:00. The meeting was adjourned at 12:02 PM by Co-Chair Karen Jarmoc.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

UPCOMING MEETING OF TASK FORCE TO STUDY THE STATE-WIDE RESPONSE TO MINORS EXPOSED TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!

Task Force to Study the State-Wide Response to Minors Exposed to Domestic Violence

Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 10:00AM-12:00PM 

Location:  Room 2A of the LOB 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME AND HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE

I have noticed a strong similarity between what happens to the victim of a high conflict divorce and what happens when a person develops Stockholm Syndrome, as the consequence of the ongoing assaults of the opposing attorney in the case. 
 
So what is Stockholm Syndrome? 
 
Stockholm Syndrome was first identified in the early 70s to describe the puzzling reactions of four bank employees to their captors.  On August 23, 1973, three women and one man were taken hostage and held for six days by two ex-convicts in a botched robbery attempt. 
 
To the world's surprise, when the government attempted to rescue the hostages, they strongly resisted those efforts and instead defended their captors.  Even several months after the hostages were saved by the police, they retained warm feelings for their captors, even though the bank robbers had threatened their lives.  One of the hostages set up a defense fund for the robbers, and another hostage became engaged to one of them. 
 
There is also the well known story of Patty Hurst who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.  Even though she was tortured by the members of this group, eventually she joined their cause, picked up weapons and participated in bank robberies, and took on the name "Tania" to show her solidarity with her former captors.
 
Another similar case was that of Natascha Kampusch of Vienna, Austria.  In 1998, at the age of ten, Natascha was kidnapped and held in a basement by her captor until she escaped in 2006 at the age of eighteen. Instead of condemning the man who abducted her, Natascha found good in the situation stating, "My youth was very different.  But I was also spared a lot of things - I did not start smoking or drinking and I did not hang out in bad company."
 
Stockholm Syndrome is a bond of interdependence that develops between a captive and her captor when the captor threatens you, thinks it over, and then chooses not to kill you.  The strong feelings of relief that arise from the fact that the captor chose not to kill his victim results in intense feelings of gratitude towards the captor.  In addition, ongoing fear that the captor could change his mind leads the captive to avoid any expressions of anger or dissatisfaction towards his or her captive. 
 
Victims of terrorist acts or hostage situations have been known to have visited their captors in jail, recommended defense counsel, started defense funds, as I have mentioned, as well as become engaged to their captors.  And furthermore, they have refused to assist in prosecuting these criminals.  Thus, it is not surprising that Patty Hurst ended up marrying one of the jailors at the prison where she resided.  
 
According to experts, "the victims' need to survive in these hostage situations is stronger than their impulse to hate the person who has created the dilemma.  The victim comes to see the captor as a 'good guy', even a savior, because he could have killed her, but he didn't. 
 
There are four specific conditions which are ordinarily in place which lead to the development of Stockholm Syndrome.  They are as follows:
 
1.  A person threatens to kill another and is perceived as having the  capability to do so. 
 
2.  The other cannot escape, so her or his life depends on the threatening person. 
 
3.  The threatened person is isolated from outsiders so that the only other perspective available to her or him is that of the threatening person. 
 
4.  The threatening person is perceived as showing some degree of kindness to the one being threatened.
 
Apparently, in a hostage situation like this, it only takes around 3 days for Stockholm Syndrome to develop if the people involved haven't known each other previously. 
 
A person can become more vulnerable to Stockholm syndrome if denied food, water, or sleep, and if the captor acts in a manner that is capricious and unpredictable. 
 
I believe that a very similar situation takes place in high conflict divorces, not only with the women who become victims of these divorces, but also in regard to their children. 
 
To start, women in these divorces lose their financial base and find themselves one step away from being homeless--they can't afford to pay for basic necessities for themselves and their children. 
 
They are then terrorized by their ex husbands as the trial court system allows these abusers to disobey court orders and coerce their victims.  For example, the automatic orders allow abusive men to remain in the marital home which gives them access to their victims to further frighten and abuse them.  So this reduces women to a condition of helplessness and total vulnerability. 
 
Next, the opposing attorney hammers away at an alternative theory of the case with corrupt psychiatrists and GALs to support them.  Such theories shift the blame onto the shoulder of the victim and totally restructure reality so that the truth becomes false and the false becomes truth.
 
All of a sudden, a person who never had a mental illness previously can find herself with diagnoses of personality disorders.
 
Financial wrongdoing gets swept under the rug, and a man who was embezzling from his firm or who had a reputation for abusing a previous wife, all of a sudden is born anew with a dazzling reputation for being a great guy. 
 
The victim of this kind of restructuring of reality, the abused woman, will be told that if she doesn't go along with this newly refurbished image of her abuser, she will lose everything--her children, her financial security, her reputation--everything.  Her life becomes an endless round of trial court hearings, meetings with attorneys and evaluators involved in the case, and she often becomes so upset all the time that she is unable to maintain relationships with her friends and mentors in the community. 
 
Under these circumstances, most abused women become extremely compliant and grateful for whatever minimal favors they can get from their ex, the opposing attorney or the trial court, no matter how demeaning.  Because they know that it could always get so much worse. 
 
The punishments of trial court are swift and harsh.  Between one moment and the next you can lose all access to your children.  From one moment to the next your bank accounts can be completely wiped out.  And this often goes on for years. 
 
My guess is that if you really sat down with women in these circumstances, if you really listened to what they had to say, and heard the details of the so-called freely agreed upon settlements they signed at dissolution, you would recognize the signs of Stockholm Syndrome. 
 
The same goes for the children who quickly learn that the only one with absolute power is the abuser.  And if they want to survive, they better do what the abuser tells them to do, or else.  Unfortunately, this often means that the abusive Father will demand the children reject their Mother.  It is also worth noting that there's also a small percentage of good Fathers who are abused this way as well. 
 
Unfortunately, what this teaches children is that what counts is not right and wrong, it is not the person who is the most loving that counts.  What matters is who has the power and who can dominate and bully.