The 9th Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference Happening Now: Be There or Be Here :)

Or you can watch the conference on USTREAM and join us in the chat room 🙂

THE NINTH BATTERED MOTHERS CUSTODY CONFERENCE BMCC IX: IS WHAT WE’RE DOING WORKING?

FRIDAY EVENING, JANUARY 6TH, 2012

Registration beginning at 4:00 p.m.

6:00 Angela Shelton: Humorous Healing: You Could Use a Laugh Right Now! Angela shares funny stories along the healing path to inspire us all to laugh as we continue our fight for freedom and justice.

7:30 Lundy Bancroft: WHERE DO WE FIND STRENGTH TO FIGHT BACK? How does the human spirit keep itself alive? How do people who have suffered tragedies — or atrocities — get back up on their feet and move forward again? Lundy is going to look at what makes it possible for some people to rise up out circumstances where their defeat seems total, and fight their way back to thriving. These are the individuals who become the greatest thorns in the side of the powerful and the oppressive. He will suggest a road map for how all of us can become those Phoenixes.

Saturday Morning, January 7th 8:30 – 9:30

Plenary 1: Wendy Murphy: Rethinking Reform: New ideas and strategies for when the rules don’t work

9:30 – 10:30 Panel: Barry Goldstein, Moderator; Joan Zorza, Kathleen Russell, Rita Smith, Connie Valentine, Karen Anderson, Gabby Davis, & Eileen King: News from the Protective Mothers Movement You May Not Have Heard

Many exciting events have taken place in the last year which we hope will make a difference in changing the broken system. A panel of activists who have been involved in these events will discuss this news. It includes a roundtable discussion for OVW at the Justice Department, training in custody issues for the National DV Hotline, a new consortium that is in the process of forming to support our goals, marches and meetings in DC, new publications coming out and other events. The discussion should give our movement hope and opportunity.

10:30 – 10:45 Break

10:45 – 11:45 Plenary 2: Dr. Phyllis Chesler: Mothers STILL on Trial

Saturday Afternoon, January 7th 11:45 – 1:45 Working Lunch: BMCC Premier of Garland Waller’s New Documentary No Way Out But One This feature length (1 hr and 35 minutes) documentary looks at family court injustice by telling the story of Holly Collins, the first American woman to get asylum from the Dutch government on grounds of domestic violence. In 1994, Holly Collins became an international fugitive wanted by the FBI for kidnapping her own children. Ordered by a family court to turn her two children over to live with the father who had been abusing them all, Holly felt she had no way out but one. Only by kidnapping her children and running was Holly able to protect her children.

1:45– 2:00 Break

2:00 – 2:30 Gabby Davis and Loretta Frederick: Developing and Implementing a Conceptual Framework for Identifying, Understanding and Accounting for the Implications of Intimate Partner Abuse in Contested Child Custody Cases. Ample research, local practice, and lived experience collectively inform us that the safety and wellbeing of battered mothers and their children are not adequately accounted for in contested child custody cases where domestic violence is alleged. Very little systematic attention is paid to whether there is a history of abuse, whether the abuse is ongoing, who is abusing whom, what the abuse looks like, and how the abuse impacts the children, the abused parent, and the parenting capacities of both the abusive and the abused parent. Consequently, from an institutional standpoint, the family court system is often poorly organized to accurately identify and describe what is actually happening in people’s everyday lives so that it can respond in ways that are helpful, or at least not harmful, to the safety and wellbeing of battered mothers and their children. This presentation describes a collaborative effort by the Battered Women’s Justice Project, Praxis International, and a local jurisdiction in NW Ohio to develop and implement a concrete framework to help family court professionals better identify, understand and account for the context and implications of domestic violence in contested child custody cases.

2:30 – 3:00 Connie Valentine and Karen Anderson: Good News from the California Protective Parent Association As a growing coalition of 99% protective mothers groups, we are moving forward toward the common goal of keeping abused children safe when their parents separate and divorce. This workshop will review the movement’s accomplishments during the past year. Accurate definition is important: this is a civil and human rights movement. Come to the workshop, hear how far we have come, and share your accomplishments.

3:00 – 4:00 Karin Huffer: Is What We Are Doing Working? Yes…But Not Fast Enough –An Overlooked Powerful Focus for 2012 This presentation will discuss how mothers can learn to re-image themselves and their cases in a positive light. Women and children can take control of “impression management,” thus wiping out damage caused by their opponents. Effective but often unused laws and tools exist in the standard legal setting. Due to the wrong impression being sold to the court, mothers are beaten down, traumatized, marginalized by the batterer. However, through combining the ADA law with trauma treatment and political savvy, mothers are winning their cases.

4:00 – 4:15 Break

SATURDAY AFTERNOON BREAKOUT SESSIONS

4:15 – 5:15 Workshop Session 1

LEGAL ISSUES TRACK 1. Renee Beeker & Joshua Pampreen: Findings from the National Family Court Watch: Prelude to Publishing. We are so excited to be sharing with the BMCC our latest news and some inside information on the project. We also will provide copies of our abbreviated form for use for supportive court watch and will teach participants how to use it in conducting court watches.

2. Linda Marie Sacks: Strength in Numbers One day Linda Marie Sacks heard a mother being interviewed on television about the court taking away her children. It was a familiar tale and Sacks knew immediately that she too was a “Dr. Deborah O. Day Mom”. Now, Sacks works with “Day mothers” all over Florida. Combining forces with other mothers who have lost their children due to same court professionals is an important step. Teaming up to write complaints, comparing experiences and the emotional support offered by these partnerships are invaluable but finding these other parents can be difficult. RecordChronicle.com is seeking to identify these clusters.

PERSONAL HEALING TRACK

1. Michele Jeker: MST, PTSD and Domestic Violence in military life and after discharge Military Domestic Violence/Military Sexual Trauma This workshop will address the negative impacts of military life on the family, including the extreme pervasiveness of DV regardless of assignment, and the magnitude of the problems facing the military family. The military’s response to DV and the lack of judicial relief are among other topics we will be covering.

2. Raquel Singh: Healing Within and Without: How community and political activism are an essential part of the healing process This workshop examines how community-organizing benefits the healing process of survivors of domestic violence both individually and collectively. It will explore questions such as: • How does internalized oppression impact how a survivor interprets her abuse and others who have similar experiences? • Does this create a false separation between women who have been abused and those who experience sexism in other ways? • Does simply replacing the term “victim” with “survivor” really empower women to reclaim their lives? • How can we skillfully craft and integrate our personal stories into a wider social-political context as part of our organizing?

3. Maralee Mclean: Prosecuted But Not Silenced

 5:15 – 6:15 Workshop Session 2

LEGAL ISSUES TRACK

1. Wendy Murphy

2. Holly, Jennifer, & Zachary Collins: A Life on the Run In 1994 Holly Collins was determined to protect her children from a life of abuse. So she grabbed her own children and went on the run. She became an international fugitive, hunted by the FBI. Eventually, she and the kids became first American citizens to be granted asylum by the government of Netherlands. 17 years later, all charges have been dropped and Holly and her children have returned to the United States.

3. Sandy Bromley, DV-LEAP: Improving Outcomes for Battered Women and their Children: DV LEAP’s Custody & Abuse Project DV LEAP has recently entered in to a cooperative agreement with the federal Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), an agency of the US Department of Justice. Through specialized training and technical assistance, DV LEAP works to reduce the number of battered women losing custody of their children or being required by courts to turn over their children for unsafe visitation with an abusive parent. This presentation will review the goals and strategies of this cooperative agreement and allow participants an opportunity to provide feedback and ideas to the project manager. PERSONAL HEALING TRACK

4. Karin Huffer, Justin Huffer, & Crystal Huffer: Your Looking Glass Self: Making Sense of Court Rulings and Correcting Defeating Perceptions to Unlock Protective Mothers Justice in Your Case From being a nationally know expert and DV/ADA Advocate in court with battered mothers, I observe a common disastrous pattern that is rectifiable. • Lies damage mother dominating the case; • A correctable fundamental attribution error fills the record with false negatives toward mother making her a target; • Court appointees are influenced by coercive controlling, abusive mechanisms; • Mothers suffer diagnosable traumatic stress. Participants will learn to: • Re-image from fear to using properly postured emotion to achieve systems power; • Correct the court record with authority; • Counter lies without lying; • Engage legal help without going broke; • Influence the legal process.

5. Tammy Gagnon: No Longer Silent: From the Scars of Survival, We Reclaim Our Lives Those who have never experienced an abusive or violent relationship often believe that upon finding a way out, victim difficulties are solved: their life is good, they are safe, and recovery will be swift. However, survivors know that leaving is not the end of the nightmare — it is the beginning of an often difficult and challenging journey toward healing and happiness. They need practical guidance, emotional reassurance, and psychological awareness that survivors of relationship abuse and domestic violence need to heal and reclaim their lives after leaving their abusers.

SATURDAY EVENING, JANUARY 7TH

6:15 – 7:30 p.m. (Optional) Dinner at a special rate will be available in the hotel restaurant, so feel free to carry it out to attend the Organizing Session with Connie Valentine, Karen Anderson, & Kathleen Russell

7:30 – ? Welcome Home Party for Jennifer, Holly, & Zach Collins

SPECIAL SAT. EVENING WORKSHOP

8:00 – 9: 15 p.m. Nancy Erickson, J.D.: Filing an Ethical Complaint Against a Custody Evaluator: Do It Yourself Many battered women have lost custody of their children because a “custody evaluator” (sometimes called a “forensic”) has recommended that custody be given to the abusive father. Yet, in many cases, the custody evaluator was incompetent, unprofessional, or unethical – perhaps even taking bribes from the other side. A common example is a custody evaluator who believes all mothers try to alienate the children from the fathers. This will be a do-it-yourself workshop where participants will be guided through the process of filing licensing board complaints against these evaluators. If successful, it could have an effect on your case, and it might lead toward another valuable result — that the evaluator would never ruin the lives of more protective parents and their children.

SUNDAY MORNING, JANUARY 8TH

9:00 – 10:00 Plenary 3: Toby Kleinman

10:00 – 10:45 Barry Goldstein: From Poughkeepsie to Quincy: How to Save Thousands of Lives, Trillions of Dollars and Reform the Custody System. Barry Goldstein has written a new chapter based upon studying responses to domestic violence. He looked at the failure in Poughkeepsie that has resulted in ten deaths in a year and the success of the Quincy Model that led to no domestic violence homicide for many years. His investigation plus current research establishes that practices that could eliminate most domestic violence crime, a lot of other crime and save at least $500 Billion every year. In order to obtain these benefits the custody system will have to be reformed. He believes the huge financial savings and other benefits can be the incentive to create a different discussion about domestic violence custody issues.

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:00 Workshop Session 3

LEGAL ISSUES TRACK

1. Michael Bassett, J.D. and Carol Pennington: Turning Around The Titanic Without Hitting an Iceberg: Battered Moms and Turnaround Cases Much like turning around a ship, turning around a custody case can be time-consuming, dangerous and draining. This presentation will discuss strategies that have been successful in past cases. Other topics that will be discussed include working with your attorney, changing attitudes through practicing law, the use of psychological experts, and the use of evidence of acts that may seem like it occurred “too far in the past.”

2. Liora Farkovitz: The Electronic Advantage: Understanding Technological Evidence This workshop is a companion to a technology guide, “Understanding Technological Evidence for the Legal Professional: 101 the Basics” which highlights the murder/suicide case of Katie Tagle of San Bernardino County, California in 2009/2010. Highlighting how the judiciary often ignores electronic evidence in domestic violence cases, the last 2/3 of the guide provides a step by step “basic” guide of current technology.

3. Dara Carlin, M.S.: Coloring Outside The Lines: Potential Solutions When The Ones In Place Aren’t Working If you have found your way to the BMCC, chances are the system that was designed to protect you and your children has failed you. Despite “coloring within the lines” (having followed all of the instructions and all the professional directions) you’re in a bad place and stuck with nowhere else to turn – NOT SO! This workshop will illustrate and explore some of the more creative things survivors and their allies have done when all solutions were exhausted and “acceptance” became the only one left.

PERSONAL HEALING TRACK

1. Louise Monroe: “WHEW”: Women Helping Empower Women This is the story of one family’s five year journey through that black hole known as “family court.” The evolution of this journey through the support and caring of others also traveling through this blackness and how all the negative in their lives was used is such a positive way that the journey has ended and the sun is shining brightly.

2. Chrys Ballerano: Nurturing Rhythms for Self Care- Experiencing the Healing Power of the Drum This is primarily an experiential workshop and interactive experience. An atmosphere of gentle safety will be maintained and modeled as Chrys provides participants with an opportunity to connect with themselves and their own innate sense of play. Therapeutic benefits of rhythmic drumming will briefly be discussed. Participants are welcome to bring their own percussive instrument. Sufficient instruments (enough for 40- 50 people) will be provided. This isn’t a workshop about “beating” drums but about connecting with our own heartbeat, and our own abilities to play in community and find ways to respond to the natural world. Come enjoy a circle of rhythm that is fun for all- no experience necessary!

12 Noon: Sunday Lunch with Jennifer Collins and Carly Singer: Abused Children to Children’s Advocates

2:00 p.m. Close

2 thoughts on “The 9th Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference Happening Now: Be There or Be Here :)

  1. Hi Gary,

    Thanks for your comment.

    While good fathers who have been abused by a spouse and the courts have our sympathy, the focus of this website is the mishandling of child abuse cases in which protective parents (mostly mothers) have lost custody of their children to an abusive parent (mostly fathers). That “legal strategy” has been called “the parental alienation set-up” or “the parental alienation scam”. It’s also called racketeering.

    These particular kinds of cases reached the level of “national crisis” twenty-five years ago. With an estimated 58,000 children being forced to “visit” with their documented abusers every year, we’re still at that same “national crisis” level today.

    These kinds of cases have fueled a very specific “cottage industry” within the family court system for decades. Something must be done about it and we hope this website will help.

    The biggest problem appears to be that there is virtually no oversight or accountability in our family courts and that problem that affects us all – mothers, fathers and children.

    Many “custody evaluators” , family law attorneys and judges run their own for-profit businesses in OUR family courts without regard for the “best interests” of anyone but themselves and their bank accounts.

    There are discussions elsewhere online debating whether or not there are more abused mothers or fathers, whether or not “PAS” exists or what it should be called if it does. We prefer to not engage in those kinds of debates because those discussions don’t do anything to protect abused children in family courts. They also don’t provide the much needed oversight or accountability.

    Neither does the $55,000 bill one family court evaluator in Florida just sent out a few days ago.

    All the best to you and your family,

    Julia

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