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30 October 2009

FL DV Homicides are Double What They Were a Year Ago

 

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Crisis in the Family Courts; Our Children are at Risk~!.
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Florida Domestic Violence Homicides are Double What They Were a Year Ago

Attention Bill McCollum:

The victims of domestic violence in Florida know why domestic violence has increased…

Thank the forced shared parenting custody law change in Florida that went into effect in October of 2008, and the inability to leave the abuser as well as failure of law enforcement to arrest, and failure to prosecute by state’s attorney, and failure to incarcerate or even find guilty by judges as well as even punishing some victims as in the Parental Alienation Custody Scams.

The problem with the partnership with the FL Coalition Against Domestic Violence is that they have people who are involved with the AFCC who advocate for forced shared parenting and counseling for abusers instead of jail. True DV advocates need to disassociate from groups that do not agressively punish the abuser. Anyone who advocates for education and training needs to get educated and trained that batterers intervention and parenting classes only seem to make batterers smarter at not getting caught and finding new and more creative ways of abusing their victims, like by keeping the victims bound to them and taking their children away by claiming to be a victim of the fictitious parental alienation syndrome.

See Wendy Murphy’s article below on how to really decrease abuse.

http://www.wjhg. com/home/ headlines/ 66571052. html

Updated: 9:33 PM Oct 27, 2009

Domestic Violence

Domestic homicides are double what they were a year ago. To learn more about why, Attorney General Bill McCollum is forming a domestic violence fatality review team.

Posted: 3:51 PM Oct 27, 2009


Florida Domestic Violence Showing A Rapid Rise

Domestic homicides are double what they were a year ago. To learn more about why, Attorney General Bill McCollum is forming a domestic violence fatality review team.

The team will determine where the system, including cops or shelters, failed and provide recommendations to fix the problem.

Florida Police Chiefs Association President Dorene Thomas of Pinellas Park says the problem is the economy.

"Our economy is affecting families. You are having more families living together, more people blending and it’s causing tension and your seeing an increase, overall, in domestic violence"

Each month more 200 children are affected by domestic violence, which often leaves lasting scars.

http://www.myflorid alegal.com/ newsrel.nsf/ newsreleases/ 4E400DDA7E8C12A2 8525765C00536589

Attorney General Bill McCollum News Release

October 27, 2009

en EspañolPrint Icon Print Version

Media Contact: Sandi Copes
Phone: (850) 245-0150

McCollum, Partners Launch Statewide Initiative to Combat Domestic Violence Fatalities

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Joined by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence and numerous state agencies and law enforcement organizations, Attorney General McCollum today announced his office will create and lead a statewide domestic violence fatality review team. The team will conduct fatality and near-fatality reviews and will ultimately create policy recommendations to address issues which may prevent domestic violence homicides.

“There is an urgent need to identify strategies that will address the brutality of these homicides, and will ultimately help us save lives,” said Attorney General McCollum.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement data comparing Jan-June 2008 to Jan-June 2009 reflects 8.9 percent increase in domestic violence homicides, 100 percent increase in domestic violence manslaughters, and 38 percent increase in stalking which often serves as a precursor to homicide. These statistics indicate there is an urgent need to identify strategies to address the brutality of these homicides.

“The domestic violence community is overwhelmed by General McCollum’s foresight to create a statewide domestic violence fatality review team. Florida has experienced some of the most brutal domestic violence homicides in our state’s history and there has never been a more important time to shine a light on domestic violence fatalities,” said Tiffany Carr, CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “We have no doubt this will be the first step to reverse the increase of domestic violence homicides in Florida. As always, we applaud Attorney General McCollum for his commitment to end violence against women.”

Reviews conducted by local fatality review teams in Florida are a critical component in helping communities to understand the events that may have led to a domestic violence homicide, and ultimately to determine how to prevent such homicides. However, local fatality review teams, comprised almost exclusively of volunteers, have limited resources to conduct reviews, and the focus of their conclusions and recommendations is to effectuate change at the local level.

Section 741.316, Fla. Statutes authorizes the establishment of a domestic violence fatality review team at the state level to review fatal and near-fatal incidents of domestic violence. With the establishment of a Statewide Fatality Review team, Florida will be the only state in the country to have both statewide and local fatality review teams. Representatives of the domestic violence advocacy community will provide the leadership to the team because it will be critical to view systemic response to domestic violence through the eyes of victims of domestic violence.

In addition to the Attorney General’s Office, team members will include, at a minimum, the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Corrections, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Education, representatives from the Sheriffs, Police Chiefs, Prosecuting Attorneys, and Public Defenders Associations, Florida Legal Services, certified domestic violence centers, batterers’ intervention programs, the Office of State Court Administration, a clerk of the court, a medical examiner, a child death review team representative, a physician, a psychologist or other mental health professional, a sexual assault counselor, and a survivor of domestic violence. The initial organization meeting will occur on December 9, 2009 in Tallahassee and will be hosted by the Attorney General.

The Statewide team will be separated into two working groups – one group will conduct case review of selected cases, and the subsequent group will review the data from local fatality review teams to ascertain trends and systemic gaps. A final report is anticipated by September 2010.

###

See DOJ on how it isn’t the economy that causes domestic violence.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/crime/intimate-partner-violence/murder-suicide.htm

Although personal economics like the loss of a job may be one of several critical factors, most experts agree that the strength or weakness of the national economy is not related to the frequency of murder-suicides, despite media coverage that suggests otherwise.

Next section: Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research.

###

and Wendy Murphy on the reasons why abuse is so rampant

http://www.enterpri senews.com/ news/news_ columnists/ x665151444/ Wendy-Murphy- Punishing- abusers-key- to-protecting- women

Wendy Murphy: Punishing abusers key to protecting women

By Wendy Murphy

GateHouse News Service

Posted Oct 27, 2009 @ 12:01 PM


It’s October, which means it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

But we don’t really need an “awareness month” anymore. There’s so much domestic violence, we’re in a chronic state of awareness. What we really need is a revolution.

First the facts:

- A woman is beaten every 15 seconds.

- Nearly two dozen victims of domestic violence are already dead this year alone in Massachusetts. Other states report similar numbers.

- As many as 10 million children a year are exposed to domestic violence, causing them to suffer emotional and psychological harm, not to mention that they grow up believing that smacking your spouse is part of a “normal” relationship. No surprise then that boys who watch their fathers beat their mothers are far more likely as adults to do the same thing to their female partners.

- According to the Justice Department, women suffer violent victimization more than 4 million times a year. Approximately one-third of the crimes are committed by intimate partners.

- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury for American women between the ages of 15 and 44.

- Among homeless women and children, half are homeless because of domestic violence.

- Medical expenses resulting from domestic violence amount to around $4 billion annually.

Now a few of the embarrassing reasons for so much suffering:

- Most cases of domestic violence are not reported to law enforcement because victims fear retaliation, are financially dependent on their abuser, or believe the justice system will not protect them and/or is useless to deter the violence.

- Of the cases that are reported and accepted for prosecution, only about half end in conviction while one-third are dismissed by the prosecutor. For the small percentage of cases that end in conviction, the punishment is usually trivial.

In sum, there are three main reasons why women are abused in such large numbers by men who claim to love them: Offenders aren’t being punished! Offenders aren’t being punished! Offenders aren’t being punished!

Some argue that punishment doesn’t stop domestic violence and that we need to do more “education and prevention” to change the way males are raised so they will learn to respect women more. These tend to be the people who get funding to do “education and prevention.” In other words, they’re paid to co-opt victims into believing that justice and punishment aren’t important even though some research shows that the only thing that stops violent men is incapacitation (read: jail).

Even if education and cultural retraining might help some day, while we’re waiting around for our species to evolve, we need to give all endangered women a .45 caliber equalizer and we need to ramp up the punishment of batterers so that beating a woman isn’t sentenced on par with spitting on the sidewalk.

Anti-incarceration advocates will tell you that prison isn’t fun – and that it often spawns a toxic mental software that makes men who enter come out worse than ever when their sentence wraps up.

But if fear of becoming a monster in prison, and respect for women isn’t enough to deter a man from beating his wife, he’s already toxic – and putting him behind bars will prevent him from infecting innocent others with his poison. Punishment isn’t the only way to stop violence, but it is a legitimate and effective feature of our legal system. Lots of research shows how states that send a higher percentage of criminals to prison have lower rates of crime, even after controlling for all of things like poverty and urbanization.

But incarceration is a dirty word in the lexicon of some liberals who claim that locking people up gives the government dangerous amounts of power and threatens the freedom of the individual.

They’re wrong.

The freedom of FEMALE individuals is actually greatly enhanced when criminals who target women for violence are incapacitated.

But our legal s

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Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Crisis in the Family Courts; Our Children are at Risk~!.
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29 October 2009

Punishing abusers key to protecting women

 

Wendy Murphy: Punishing abusers key to protecting women

Wendy Murphy


By Wendy Murphy

GateHouse News Service

Posted Oct 27, 2009 @ 12:01 PM


It's October, which means it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

But we don’t really need an “awareness month” anymore. There’s so much domestic violence, we’re in a chronic state of awareness. What we really need is a revolution.

 

 

First the facts:

- A woman is beaten every 15 seconds.

- Nearly two dozen victims of domestic violence are already dead this year alone in Massachusetts. Other states report similar numbers.

- As many as 10 million children a year are exposed to domestic violence, causing them to suffer emotional and psychological harm, not to mention that they grow up believing that smacking your spouse is part of a “normal” relationship. No surprise then that boys who watch their fathers beat their mothers are far more likely as adults to do the same thing to their female partners.

- According to the Justice Department, women suffer violent victimization more than 4 million times a year. Approximately one-third of the crimes are committed by intimate partners.

- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury for American women between the ages of 15 and 44.

- Among homeless women and children, half are homeless because of domestic violence.

- Medical expenses resulting from domestic violence amount to around $4 billion annually.

Now a few of the embarrassing reasons for so much suffering:

- Most cases of domestic violence are not reported to law enforcement because victims fear retaliation, are financially dependent on their abuser, or believe the justice system will not protect them and/or is useless to deter the violence.

- Of the cases that are reported and accepted for prosecution, only about half end in conviction while one-third are dismissed by the prosecutor. For the small percentage of cases that end in conviction, the punishment is usually trivial.

In sum, there are three main reasons why women are abused in such large numbers by men who claim to love them: Offenders aren’t being punished! Offenders aren’t being punished! Offenders aren’t being punished!

Some argue that punishment doesn’t stop domestic violence and that we need to do more “education and prevention” to change the way males are raised so they will learn to respect women more. These tend to be the people who get funding to do “education and prevention.” In other words, they’re paid to co-opt victims into believing that justice and punishment aren’t important even though some research shows that the only thing that stops violent men is incapacitation (read: jail).

Even if education and cultural retraining might help some day, while we’re waiting around for our species to evolve, we need to give all endangered women a .45 caliber equalizer and we need to ramp up the punishment of batterers so that beating a woman isn’t sentenced on par with spitting on the sidewalk.

Anti-incarceration advocates will tell you that prison isn’t fun – and that it often spawns a toxic mental software that makes men who enter come out worse than ever when their sentence wraps up.

But if fear of becoming a monster in prison, and respect for women isn’t enough to deter a man from beating his wife, he’s already toxic – and putting him behind bars will prevent him from infecting innocent others with his poison. Punishment isn’t the only way to stop violence, but it is a legitimate and effective feature of our legal system. Lots of research shows how states that send a higher percentage of criminals to prison have lower rates of crime, even after controlling for all of things like poverty and urbanization.

But incarceration is a dirty word in the lexicon of some liberals who claim that locking people up gives the government dangerous amounts of power and threatens the freedom of the individual.

They’re wrong.

The freedom of FEMALE individuals is actually greatly enhanced when criminals who target women for violence are incapacitated.

But our legal system doesn’t care. And despite decades of disastrous statistics, our political leaders don’t care, either. In fact, nobody in a position of leadership is even complaining about the lack of justice for victimized women.

Earlier this month, there was a big to-do in D.C. about women’s issues in the Obama administration. Lynn Rosenthal, whose responsibility it is to deal with violence against women on behalf of the president, gave a lovely talk about all sorts of things, but never once mentioned the profound failure of law to redress domestic violence or the desperate need for tougher punishments for batterers.

Obviously, the men who promised “change” and “hope” for a better society, and who haven’t shied away from talking about the need for tough punishments for corporate criminals, have little “hope” to offer women in danger. It's just more politicians in a long line of others who value stuff more than women’s lives.

Patriot Ledger contributor Wendy Murphy is a leading victims rights advocate and nationally recognized television legal analyst. She is an adjunct professor at New England Law in Boston. She can be reached at wmurphy@nesl.edu. Read more of her columns at The Daily Beast .

Wendy Murphy: Punishing abusers key to protecting women - Brockton, MA - The Enterprise



ALLOWING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A WIN/WIN SITUATION FOR OUR GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMY

 

 

By Gail Lakritz

The following is a cost analysis of whether or not to prosecute domestic violence as a crime.  My conclusions are frightening to myself, as it should be to the entire nation.  It is not so much a crisis of violence, but a crisis of economics. 

One of the reasons that abusers are not jailed for domestic violence is that DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A PROFIT CENTER .

FOR ATTORNEYS: The revolving door of court assures attorneys of a never ending source of income. If prison were the reward for domestic violence from the first offense, attorneys would not have their bottomless pits of income. Abusers are abusers for their entire lives. Attorneys are the ones who dictate laws. They are not going to cut off their own noses.  According to the Michigan Bar Association, five percent of lawyers practice in Family Law.(2)  Projecting this figure across the United states and basing it on the number of lawyers  according to the ABA, there are 58,106 Family Law attorneys in the United States, however, not all lawyers are members of the American Bar Association.  Traditionally, the ABA membership is only comprised of large law firms, having shunned the inclusion of the small firm in the past. (3)  According to the Michigan Bar Association, the only state bar association this author could find to publish the figures quoted, the only larger specialty was Litigation or "trial lawyers". (2)

FOR EMPLOYERS:  There needs to be, for our society and economic system to function, a certain percentage of people who are beaten down enough to accept the lower paying service jobs. Victims of abuse are forced into these jobs by circumstances. Most suffer from PTSD and are unable to find and hold a well paying job. Abusers often place impediments in the way of a good job. Repeated court dates for the victim, hospital visits due to abuse and workplace interruptions caused by the abuser are not something an employer is willing to put up with for very long, so the victim is forced to take these lower paying jobs that do not check references, thereby discovering a history of missed work. The restaurant industry, hotels, retailers and even schools need victims to keep costs down. Victims offer ready source of bodies to fill low paying jobs. 
FOR THE MEDICAL PROFESSION:  The mental health industry, doctors and the pharmaceutical companies do not want to see and end of their incomes as well. These specialties make money from domestic violence. Medicines to treat injuries, mental and physical, and the visits to the doctor all produce profits. 
FOR THE UNDERGROUND ECONOMY:  And this does not even address the underground economy produced by domestic violence. Payments to police to write ambiguous or false reports, Court Clerks and District Attorneys to lose or not use evidence and judges to not find these abusers guilty of felony assaults produce unreported incomes. 
FOR THE GOVERNMENT:  Finally, there is the economics of incarceration. It is cheaper for governments to allow domestic violence to continue than to jail abusers. There would be a need for at least 16% more jail cells and the staff to oversee the prisoner population  if domestic violence were to be prosecuted as a crime.

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/IPVBook-a.pdf

Costs of Intimate Partner Violence in the United States

      The costs of intimate partner rape, physical assault, and stalking exceed $5.8 billion each year, nearly $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health care services. The total costs of IPV also include nearly $0.9 billion in lost productivity from paid work and household chores for victims of nonfatal IPV and $0.9 billion in lifetime earnings lost by victims of IPV homicide. The largest proportion of the costs is derived from physical assault victimization because that type of IPV is the most prevalent. The largest component of IPV-related costs is health care, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the total costs.

The average cost for a prisoner per year is  $19,903 per year per person. With 4 million incidents of domestic violence per year, the cost to incarcerate abusers would be just over 80.5 BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR.  Welcome to reality.  It is cheaper to kill us than to stop the abusers.  To our government, we are better off dead and so are any of the successive victims of the abuser. And this figure does not take into account the cost of prosecution.

Using the cost of arresting and prosecuting an abuser in Washington DC and projecting it across the country, here are just some of the costs involved :

Police (Just 2 hours per case, low side)                       $      257,680,000

Court costs                                                   320,000,000

Prosecutor                                                    273,000,000

Incarceration for 1 year in local jail                                  79,612,000,000

            Total             $80,462,760,000

Here is another interesting fact:  It is cheaper to get a violence file sealed than to fight the offense in court  according to  http://www.dccourts.gov/dccourts/superior/dv/filings.jsp

Filing a notice of appeal costs $100 and sealing a criminal record costs $20.

The United States Government is practicing selective death for the bottom line.  The victim or their insurance company generally pays the dollar cost of domestic violence.  If the government were to take action, the costs of reducing or eliminating domestic violence would significantly impact the National Debt.  With over one-half of the population female and one-third of those females being victims of domestic violence, the government has chosen to allow one-sixth of the population become possible victims of murder.  Isn't it nice to know your life, as a female, isn't worth enough to prosecute these crimes?

References:

(1) http://www.abanet.org/marketresearch/2009_NATL_LAWYER_by_State.pdf

(2) http://www.michbar.org/pmrc/articles/0000142.pdf

(3) http://www.abanet.org/marketresearch/2009_NATL_LAWYER_by_State.pdf

http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/news_columnists/x665151444/Wendy-Murphy-Punishing-abusers-key-to-protecting-women

http://www.simplyhired.com/a/salary/search/q-Criminal+Prosecutor/l-washington+DC

Police Officer:  $67,000/52/40x2x4,000,000= $67,000=1288.46=32.21=64.42=

$257,680,000

Washington DC  Prosecutor:  $71,000/52/40x2x4,000,000= $71,000=1365.38=34.13=68.27=

$273,080,000

http://www.dccourts.gov/dccourts/superior/family/domestic.jsp

Court Cost, Washington DC:  COMPLAINT/PETITION $80.00x 4,000,000=

$320,000,000

http://www.dccourts.gov/dccourts/superior/dv/filings.jsp

Filing a notice of appeal costs $100 and sealing a criminal record costs $20.

Your browser may not support display of this image.

Average cost per year to incarcerate an inmate
Federal prison (1997)
$23,542
State prison (1998)
$20,261 ($8,895-$36,526)
Local jail (1998)
$19,903 ($8,037-$66,795)
Sources: Federal Bureau of Prisons, Key Indicators/Strategic Support System, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, October 1997; Camp, Camille G., and George M. Camp, The 1998 Corrections Yearbook, South Salem, NY: Criminal Justice Institute, 1999.

$19,903 x 4,000,000=

$79,612,000,000




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Abuse network ringleaders jailed

This one guy, Strachan, has already served time in jail for abusing a boy AND he is HIV positive AND he attempted to rape an 18 month old AND he sexually assaulted a six year old.....he gets a minimum of 16 years in prison....WTF?!?!?  He should get life, ya know....just in case the HIV doesn’t kill him!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/8331388.stm

James Rennie and Neil Strachan

Rennie (left) and Strachan had denied being involved in the abuse network

The two men at the centre of Scotland's largest known child abuse network have been jailed for life.

Neil Strachan, 41, attempted to rape an 18-month-old boy while 38-year-old James Rennie sexually assaulted a three-month-old.

Strachan was sentenced to a minimum of 16 years in prison, while Rennie was ordered to serve at least 13 years.

Six other men had already been sentenced for their involvement in the network.

Strachan and Rennie, both from Edinburgh, were also found guilty after a 10-week trial of conspiring to get access to children in order to abuse them, while Strachan was convicted of a further charge of sexually assaulting a six-year-old boy.

Strachan, who is HIV positive, has already served a three-year prison sentence in 1997 for abusing a boy. Rennie was the chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, which offered advice to young gay and lesbian people.

Passing sentence on the pair, judge Lord Bannatyne referred to Strachan's abuse of the 18-month-old boy, which was captured in a photograph known as the "Hogmanay image".

The judge told Strachan: "By its very nature, what is shown in that photograph is utterly appalling and would shock to the core any right-minded person who has had to see it.

"Over and above that, this offence involves the most gross level of breach of trust. You were invited into a house, treated as a friend of the family, and then entrusted with their child.

"You then breached that trust in the way shown in the 'Hogmanay image' in order to satisfy your base sexual interests. This, in my judgment, can be properly described as a dreadful crime."

Lord Bannatyne said Rennie had also betrayed the trust of the parents of his victim to a "truly appalling" extent.

More suspects

The judge said Rennie was at the heart of the conspiracy to abuse youngsters and likened him to a spider weaving an electronic web to bring about his crime.

Co-accused Colin Slaven, 23, from Edinburgh; Neil Campbell, 46, John Milligan, 40, and John Murphy, 44, all from Glasgow; Ross Webber, 27, from North Berwick in East Lothian; and Craig Boath, 24, from Dundee, were also convicted of various offences.

They were given prison sentences of between two and 17 years.

The men had been arrested during the Operation Algebra police investigation, which uncovered nearly 125,000 indecent images of children.

Operation Algebra also uncovered dozens more suspects around the country and worldwide, many of whom have already been charged.

The investigation was sparked by a single indecent image of a naked 11-year-old which was found on paint company engineer Strachan's computer when it was sent for repair.

Detectives discovered that Strachan and Rennie had filmed themselves sexually abusing children before distributing the images over the internet.

The two paedophiles had been trusted by the children's parents to look after the children.

Lothian and Borders Police said their inquiry had led to more than 200 suspected paedophiles being identified internationally, and at least 70 in the UK.

Detectives have said there were further suspects in Scotland as well as Avon and Somerset; Devon and Cornwall; Merseyside; South Wales; West Midlands; Sussex; Essex; London; Thames Valley; and Hampshire.

Speaking after the sentencing, Morag McLaughlin, procurator fiscal for Lothian and Borders, said recent advances in technology were making it easier for the police to bring child abusers to justice.

She added: "It is clear from the evidence in this case that the accused saw no limits on how far they would share, exploit and abuse children in order to satisfy their own horrific sexual gratification.

"However, our specialist prosecutors will use the constantly improving technology available to the police to stop and bring to court those who think they are hidden by the anonymity of the internet.

"The conspiracy charge in this case showed the extent of the accused's common intent, and ensured that they could be punished not only for what they did, but what they planned to do."

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Edinburgh, East and Fife | Abuse network ringleaders jailed




Poverty, domestic violence

Poverty, domestic violence: Women bearing brunt of economic crisis

Jess Moore

25 October 2009
A domestic violence shelter in Alice Springs told ABC radio’s AM on May 1 that between January 1 and mid-April this year, it provided accommodation for 157 children and 149 women. However, due to lack of funding, it turned away a further 158 women and 100 children seeking support.

In other words, for each woman it provided shelter to, one was turned away. Where did she go? In all likelihood, she ended up back with her abusive partner.
We live in a society that still, in many respects, treats women as second-class citizens. Women’s supposedly predominant role as bearers and carers of children, combined with inadequate childcare services and maternity leave provisions, mean women are discriminated against in employment. Women are highly concentrated in part-time and casual jobs.
This situation leaves women more vulnerable to economic hardship. When the chips are down, such as in the current global economic crisis, women are the first hit. Women are the first to lose their jobs. Financial independence, and the options that come with that — such as leaving an abusive partner — is still a dream for many women.
Women bear the brunt of trauma and hardship, such as war and economic recession. The global economic crisis has disproportionately affected women in terms of poverty and unemployment.
However, women are also experiencing an increase in violence within the home. A 2009 United Nations report also noted a rise in the number of women remaining in abusive relationships because of a lack of affordable alternative accommodation, an inability to sell property and decreased support services.
In Australia, ongoing funding cuts to women’s services mean national domestic violence statistics are sketchy. However, the available state and local figures are alarming.
In Queensland, in the first quarter of 2005, 6874 new cases of domestic violence were reported. In the first quarter of 2009, it rose to 9739 new cases — a 42% rise.
The January 29 Newcastle Herald said that between 2005 and 2008, the number of domestic Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) issued rose by more than 7%. However, in Queensland, the numbers did not peak until 2009, so the real rise in NSW could be significantly higher.
In poor and regional areas the situation is worse.
US figures tell a similar story. The National Domestic Violence Hotline had a spike of calls in September 2008, which were up 21% from September 2007. The organisation conducted a six-week study to determine the cause of the rise.
It found a strong link between financial stress and domestic violence: 54% of callers reported a change in their household's financial situation in the past year and 64% of callers answered “yes” to the question "do you believe the abusive behaviour has increased in the past year?"
A 2004 study by the National Institute of Justice found that women whose male partners experienced two or more periods of unemployment over five years were three times more likely to be abused.
Frighteningly, the violence is also becoming more deadly. The December 25 Boston Globe reported: “Economic stresses often lead to more frequent abuse, more violent abuse, and more dangerous abuse when domestic violence already exists.”
A series of reports in the Sydney Morning Herald in November 2008 revealed that, in NSW, the number of deaths of women and children as a result of domestic violence had risen to a 10-year high.
In Australia, domestic violence is now the most likely cause of preventable death for women under 45. It is also the leading cause of preventable disabilities and illnesses for women under 45.
Higher assault rates are made worse by inadequate support services. Government funding for women's services is considerably less than it was a decade ago, despite the marked rise in demand.
This situation is the result of neoliberal funding cuts and a conservative anti-feminist ideological campaign. Consecutive governments have blamed domestic violence on individual family breakdowns and unhealthy relationships, rather than recognising the social basis of violence against women.
The swell in the number of domestic violence cases is not a setback in an otherwise generally improving situation. Before the economic crisis, domestic violence in Australia was already a growing social problem.
Rates dramatically rose across NSW between 1997 and 2002. Figures released by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show that, for this period, the recorded instance of domestic assault rose by 40% in the Sydney area and 50% across the rest of NSW.
A huge injection of public funding is needed to support essential crisis services for victims of domestic violence to prevent the needless death of so many women and children.
Beyond that, the underlying causes of domestic violence — unemployment, insecurity, poverty, disadvantage and women’s financial dependence on male partners — have to be addressed.
Collective opposition to attacks on women’s rights is the only force powerful enough to empower women, to change sexist social attitudes and stop all forms of violence against women.

From: Comment & Analysis, Green Left Weekly issue #815 28 October 2009.

http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/815/41932



28 October 2009

Most Cases Going To Court As High Conflict Contested Custody Cases Have History Of Domestic Violence

 

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Battered Mothers Rights - A Human Rights Issue.
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Most Cases Going To Court As High Conflict Contested Custody Cases Have History Of Domestic Violence  

By JOAN S. MEIER, George Washington University Law School

Janet Johnston’s publications

Janet Johnston is best known as a researcher of high conflict divorce and parental alienation. Not a particular friend of domestic violence advocates or perspectives, she has been one of the first to note that domestic violence issues should be seen as the norm, not the exception, in custody litigation.

Johnston has noted that approximately 80% of divorce cases are settled, either up front, or as the case moves through the process. Studies have found that only approximately 20% of divorcing or separating families take the case to court. Only approximately 4-5% ultimately go to trial, with most cases settling at some point earlier in the process.

- Janet R. Johnston et al, “Allegations and Substantiations of Abuse in Custody-Disputing Families,” Family Court Review, Vol. 43, No. 2, April 2005, 284-294, p. 284;
- Janet R. Johnston, “High-Conflict Divorce,” The Future of Children, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1994, 165-182, p. 167
both citing large study by Maccoby and Mnookin, DIVIDING THE CHILD: SOCIAL AND LEGAL DILEMMAS OF CUSTODY. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U. Press (1992).

Johnston cites another study done in California by Depner and colleagues, which found that, among custody litigants referred to mediation, “[p]hysical aggression had occurred between 75% and 70% of the parents . . . even though the couples had been separated... [for an average of 30-42 months]”. Furthermore, [i]n 35% of the first sample and 48% of the second, [the violence] was denoted as severe and involved battering and threatening to use or using a weapon.”

Johnston (1994), supra, citing Depner et al., “Building a uniform statistical reporting system: A snapshot of California Family Court Services,“ Family and Conciliation Courts Review (1992) 30: 185-206

After surveying the research, Johnston concludes:

“Taken all together these studies suggest that, in divorces marked by ongoing disputes over the custody and care of children, both inside and outside the court, there is often a history of domestic violence in the family and a likelihood that the violence will continue after the separation.”
-Id. (1994) at p. 169.

It has previously been observed, based on research which predates the domestic violence/parental alienation battles that are now a feature of the field, that “multiple allegations of abuse are a feature of those higher conflict families” whose cases become contested custody litigation.

- Johnston (2005), supra (citing Maccoby and Mnookin (1992))

Peter Jaffe’s compilation of studies

Peter Jaffe is one of the world's leading experts on children, domestic violence, and custody. His latest publication on this subject states the following:

Myth: Domestic violence is rarely a problem for divorcing couples involved in a child custody dispute.”
Fact: The majority of parents in “high-conflict divorces” involving child custody disputes report a history of domestic violence.”
Peter Jaffe, Michelle Zerwer, and Samantha Poisson, "ACCESS DENIED: The Barriers of Violence and Poverty for Abused Women and their Children After Separation" (2004), p. 1

Jaffe et al also list the following studies (with the following descriptions) as supporting the position that most custody litigants have had a history of domestic violence:

· In a review of parents referred for child custody evaluations by the court, domestic violence was raised in 75% of the cases.

· Jaffe, P.G. & Austin, G. (1995). The Impact of Witnessing Violence on Children in Custody and Visitation Disputes. Paper presented at the Fourth International Family Violence Research Conference, Durham NH (Rep. No. July 1995)

· Of 2,500 families entering mediation in CA, approximately three quarters of parents indicated that domestic violence had occurred during the relationship.

· Hirst, 2002

· Between 70-75% of parents referred by the family court for counseling because of failed mediation or continuing disputes over the care of their children, physical aggression had taken place.
- Johnston & Campbell, (1988), Impasses of Divorce: The dynamics and resolution of family conflict. New York, NY, US: The Free Press.

· Attempts to leave a violent partner with children, is one of the most significant factors associated with severe domestic violence and death.
- Websdale, N. (1999). Understanding Domestic Homicide. Boston, MA: University Press.

· A majority of separating parents are able to develop a post-separation parenting plan for their children with minimal intervention of the family court system. However, in 20% of the cases greater intervention was required by lawyers, court-related personnel (such as mediators and evaluators) and judges. In the majority of these cases, which are commonly referred to as "high-conflict," domestic violence is a significant issue.
- Johnston, J.R. (1994). “High-conflict divorce.” Future of Children, 4, 165-182.
- all cited in Jaffe et al, ACCESS DENIED, supra, at p. 1.

National Center for State Courts

Finally, studies conducted by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), looking solely at court records, have found documented evidence of domestic violence in 20-55% of contested custody cases.

· The NCSC’s study, looking only at documented domestic violence in custody court records, found that 24% of court records contained some evidence of domestic violence in Louisville; 27% in Baltimore; and 55% of Las Vegas cases indicated domestic violence.
- Susan Keilitz et al, Ðomestic Violence and Child Custody Disputes: A Resource Handbook for Judges and Court Managers, prepared for the National Center for State Courts; State Justice Institute,” NCSC Publication Number R-202, p. 5

· The same study found that a screening process (utilized by the mediation program) “revealed a much higher incidence of domestic violence than a review of court records alone would have indicated.”
- Id. at 7.

Custody Courts Regularly Fail to Note or Lack Information about history of Domestic Violence

Peter Jaffe and Robert Geffner have stated that “’nonidentification of domestic violence in divorce cases’ is a prevalent and problematic issue.”

- Kernic et al, “Children in the Crossfire: Child Custody Determinations Among Couples With a History of Intimate Partner Violence,” VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, Vol. 11, No. 8, August 2005, 991-1021, 1013, citing Jaffe & Geffner, ”Child custody disputes and domestic violence: Critical issues for mental health, social service, and legal professionals,” in Holden et al (Eds.), CHILDREN EXPOSED TO MARITAL VIOLENCE: THEORY, RESEARCH, AND APPLIED ISSUES, pp. 371-396, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

· Kernic et al, from the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center in Seattle, go on to state that “[o]ur study provides strong support for this assertion.” This study looked at divorce cases, including both those with a documented, substantiated, and/or alleged history of domestic violence, and those without. The study found that in 47.6% of cases with a documented, substantiated history, no mention of the abuse was found in the divorce case files.
- Id. at 1005.

· The same study found that “the court was made aware of less than one fourth of those cases with a substantiated history of intimate partner violence.”
- Id. at 1016.

· In the same study, fathers with a history of committing abuse were denied child visitation in only 17% of cases. Mothers in these cases were no more likely to obtain custody than mothers in non-abuse cases. This study found that mothers were “more likely” than fathers to be awarded sole custody, but does not identify what proportion of cases resulted in equal sharing of physical custody (which is available in Washington even when one parent is designated “primary”).
- Id. at 1014-1015.

· The Virginia Commission on Domestic Violence Prevention commissioned a study of these issues at University of Virginia in 1997-98. The study found that in custody cases where there was also a domestic abuse case in court, only 25% of the custody files referenced the existence of the domestic abuse case.
www.courts.state.va.us/fvp/history.html

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Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Battered Mothers Rights - A Human Rights Issue.
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27 October 2009

Children rescued, hundreds charged in child prostitution crackdown - BostonHerald.com

 

By Joe Markman / Tribune Washington Bureau

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - Added 8h ago

WASHINGTON — Federal officials announced Monday that 52 children had been saved and nearly 700 people had been arrested and charged over the past three days in a nationwide crackdown on child prostitution.

Officials of the FBI, along with representatives of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and police agencies throughout the country, said the arrests were the results of investigations in 36 cities.

The sweep, dubbed Operation Cross Country, is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, started in 2003 to addr...More: 

Children rescued, hundreds charged in child prostitution crackdown - BostonHerald.com




Domestic violence before shooting | CJOnline.com

 

ANTHONY S. BUSH/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

A Shawnee County Sheriff’s deputy walks around the house where Gerald S. Eberhardt, 51, was shot and killed on Sunday. The sheriffs department still has the house at 2835 S.E. Shawnee Heights Rd. taped off with crime scene tape as of 2 p.m. Monday.

 

Deputies dispatched 14 times this year to home where man was shot

By Ann Marie Bush

Created October 26, 2009 at 3:57pm

Updated October 27, 2009 at 12:10am

TECUMSEH -- Shawnee Heights Fire Department's water rescue team on Monday evening located a piece of evidence around Lake Shawnee involving a shooting death of a 51-year-old Topeka business owner, authorities said.

Gerald S. Eberhardt, who owned Wizz By Auto Sales in North Topeka, was pronounced dead Sunday morning at his home, 2538 S.E. Shawnee Heights Road, in southeast Topeka, said Sheriff Richard Barta. Two of his family members -- his wife, Michelle L. Eberhardt, 43, and her son Scott M. Mosher, 19, who lived with Gerald Eberhardt -- and Stephanie A. Menard, 21, of Topeka, were arrested Sunday evening.

On Monday, a fourth person, 20-year-old Derrick Dewayne Haase, of Topeka, was arrested. All four on Monday were charged with premeditated murder in the first degree, an off-grid person felony, and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder in the first degree, a severity-level 2 person felony.

Barta said Monday more arrests could be made.

"On the surface, it appears to be a domestic problem," Barta said Monday afternoon at a news conference.

Since January 2009, deputies have responded to the Eberhardts' house 14 times, Barta said, including five times for domestic reasons.

"We have responded to that residence numerous times," he said.

A neighbor said she has noticed several sheriff's vehicles at the residence in the past month, but she also said the area is usually fairly quiet.

At the news conference, Barta also said law enforcement officers were searching for a weapon used in the crime Monday at an undiclosed location. He didn't go into further detail.

The house remained a crime scene Monday and wasn't scheduled to be released until Monday night, Barta said.

On Monday afternoon, a deputy patrolled the perimeter of the home on foot and a crime scene investigation van was sitting in front. Yellow crime scene tape was stretched around the residence.

"Our investigation from top to bottom is very thorough," Barta said.

Michelle Eberhardt made a 911 call Sunday shortly before 3 a.m., the sheriff said, but he wouldn't elaborate. He did say deputies knew something was wrong at the scene when they discovered "it was not a suicide."

Gerald Eberhardt was pronounced dead at the scene.

A search warrant was obtained for the house, which sits north of a Shawnee Heights Fire District station, and an investigation began.

"Numerous interviews have been conducted," Barta said. "These people have been interviewed extensively. The individuals, at this time, have been cooperative."

Dakota Loomis, a spokesman for the Shawnee County District Attorney's office, told a judge Monday that Mosher confessed to shooting Eberhardt. Mosher was being held on $750,000 bond.

Michelle Eberhardt and Haase were being held on $300,000 bond, while Menard was held on $200,000 bond.

Barta said Haase and Mosher were acquaintances and were known gang members. The defendants didn't have legal representation when they appeared before a judge via a live secure video feed from the jail.

Loomis said Mosher and Haase were members of a Topeka gang affiliated with the Folks Nation, a larger collection of gangs that operate throughout the Midwest. However, Barta said investigators see no reason that the shooting was "gang-related."

Mosher has a history of violence, including a conviction in September for domestic battery, court records show. In that case, Eberhardt paid $114 in court and probation fees for her son.

Haase was sentenced in June to 90 days in jail for a domestic battery charge and was given credit for time served. He remained on probation.

A six-month period in 2005 highlights a tumultuous relationship between Gerald Eberhardt and his wife, court records show.

A peek at court records shows a history of violence for Gerald Eberhardt -- at least 15 criminal cases filed against him in the last 17 years. Many of them were for battery against a law enforcement officer. Many others were for domestic battery.

In July 2005, he was arrested for domestic violence and witness intimidation of Michelle Eberhardt. One month later, in August 2005, she filed for divorce. In September, he was formally charged with the crimes.

But by December of that year, Michelle Eberhardt had changed her mind about divorce, and she withdrew her petition. One month later, in January 2006, Gerald Eberhardt was convicted of the domestic battery charge.

They weren't the first domestic battery convictions for the man. In 1998, he pleaded no contest to the charge, and in 1999, he was found guilty by a jury of domestic battery and criminal restraint.

That all led to the 2006 conviction, which netted him one year in county jail.

A white piece of paper was taped in the window of Wizz By Auto Sales, 1316 N.W. Topeka Blvd., on Monday notifying customers that the business was closed because of a death in the family.

Capital-Journal staff writer James Carlson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Domestic violence before shooting | CJOnline.com




Quebec man pleads guilty to kidnapping, sex assault

I am glad that the little boy doesn’t have to testify and relive that nightmare!  I agree too with the father, it is nice to know the judge cared enough to ask how the little was doing; and yes let’s hope the judge keeps this little boy in mind when handing down sentencing!

By CBC News

Pierre Defoy, accused of snatching an eight-year-old boy from a Quebec City suburb, pleaded guilty Friday to kidnapping, forcible confinement and sexual assault.

The parents of a boy who was kidnapped in broad daylight last year say they are relieved their son won't have to testify in a trial.

The man accused of taking the boy, Pierre Defoy, pleaded guilty on Friday in Superior Court in Quebec City to kidnapping, forcible confinement and sexual assault.

The boy's mother, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of her son, said she relives the trauma of what happened last year every time she sees Defoy.

She sat at the front of the courtroom Friday as Defoy entered guilty pleas on three of the six charges he was facing. The other three charges included a child pornography possession charge that the Crown agreed to drop.

In July 2008, Defoy grabbed the eight-year-old boy in broad daylight near the family's home in Lévis, south of Quebec City, and put him in the trunk of his car. Defoy then drove to Quebec City.

Less than 30 minutes later, a witness, Ryan Murphy, was sitting in traffic when he saw the trunk of the car stopped ahead of him pop open. Murphy caught a glimpse of a boy in the trunk before the car sped off. He followed the car to an apartment building, where the driver took the boy inside.

Murphy called police, who found the boy bound, gagged and locked inside a nearly-empty heating oil tank in the basement.

The boy's father said he's relieved details of the attack won't have to go before a judge and said he is grateful the judge asked how his son was doing. The father added he hopes the judge will remain that concerned about his son when the judge decides on Defoy's sentencing.

Crown prosecutor Valérie Lahaie said it's too early to say what kind of sentence she'll request. The maximum penalty for kidnapping is life imprisonment.

CBC: Quebec man pleads guilty to kidnapping, sex assault