Stop Family Violence - get help, get informed, get involvedwww.stopfamilyviolence.org/365
Published on October 02, 2006 by California Protective Parents Assn.Protective Parents Survey
Geraldine Butts Stahly, Phd
There appears to be an increase in contentious custody disputes between
divorcing parents. Some mental health professionals have suggested that this has created an "epidemic" of false abuse reports
as a strategy of accusing parents. Other professionals report evidence of an increase in the labeling of parents who report
child abuse or domestic violence during custody disputes such that parents who attempt to protect their children from abuse
may actually lose custody as a result. Several high profile cases have led to increased public attention, and fractious public
debates have erupted between groups supporting the alleged perpetrators of abuse as victims of malicious accusations on one
hand, and groups supporting the reporting parent as the victim of malicious psychiatric labeling on the other.
studies have established the increase in child abuse in families in which there is domestic violence, and the increase in
custody challenges by fathers who have a history of battering. There is increasing recognition that custody disputes are an
extension of the power and control tactics of domestic violence, and battered women's problems of child custody are now well-established
and have been addressed in many states by changes in family law statutes. A few studies document the custody problems of battered
women, who make up a subset of "protective parents." However, there have been no studies to date on the extent of the overall
phenomenon of "protective parents," the psychiatric labeling of protective behavior, or the extent to which protective behavior
appears to be justified by the circumstances and evidence in custody cases.
The current study is the pilot results
of a national survey undertaken to study the issue of protective parents. Sixty-seven self-identified "protective parents,"
male and female, completed a 101-item questionnaire describing aspects of their custody disputes. The pilot data to be presented
includes the systematic documentation of the phenomenon of protective parents by including demographic factors, economic impact,
and the full variety of protection issues including the range of allegations by both parents and others, the variety of expert
examinations, diagnosis and testimony, family court response, and outcomes for children.
The following information
is preliminary data from a national survey sponsored by California Protective Parents Association and Our Children Our Future
Charitable Foundation. Self-identified "protective parents" completed a 101-item questionnaire describing aspects of their
custody dispute. The following information is pilot data from the first 67 participants, as of May 2003.
66 mothers; 1 father
105 children involved (59 girls, 46 boys)
253 attorneys involved (average of 4 per participant)
spent on cases: $4,618,150.00:
Average per case: $74,000.00
90% of mothers were
primary caretakers and had custody at separation
87% of mothers reported domestic violence
58% of mothers
continued to experience violence after separation
76% of fathers threatened to take custody of the children
of protective parents reported allegations of abuse in court:
of protective parents were advised not to report abuse (due to the risk of losing custody) This advice was given by:
- 76% reported allegations of child sexual abuse were raised in court
- 67% reported allegations of child physical abuse were raised in court
- 58% reported medical/physical evidence of the abuse
- 76% reported other corroboration of the abuse
- 23% of children received Victims of Crime funds for related therapy
88% had psychological evaluations:
- attorneys - 55%
- mediators - 10%
- court personnel - 7%
- advocates - 7%
- others - 23% (AFDC worker, police, psychologist, judge, family court advisor, shelter staff and 11
other protective parents)
84% reported they were denied adequate presentation of information or witnesses
- The average cost of the evaluation was $6,541.00
- 61% were not permitted to see the evaluation/recommendation
- 96% believed court personnel ignored or minimized allegations of abuse
- 48% of mothers were labeled with "PAS" (Parental Alienation Syndrome)
- 36% were labeled as "alienators"
- 69% lost custody as a result of the psychological evaluation
98% believed they were discredited
for trying to protect their children
67% lost custody in ex parte proceedings
59% lost custody in proceedings with no
court reporter present
67% were threatened with sanctions if they "talked publicly" about the case
(Some participants reported more than one outcome)
Father has custody; mother has unsupervised visitation - 48%
has custody; father has unsupervised visitation - 17%
Father has custody; mother has supervised visitation
Mother has custody; father has supervised visitation - 3%
Father has custody;
mother has no contact with the child/ren - 29%
Mother has custody; father has no contact with the child/ren
Mother and father have joint custody - 17%
91% of mothers believe their
children are still being abused
67% have stopped reporting abuse for fear that contact with their children
will be terminated
75% of the children continue to report abuse
81% of mothers
no longer believe they can protect their children
This survey project is ongoing. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive a survey form by mail, or get the survey form online at the Mothers of Lost Children site.
Listed below are protective parents who are high profile and lost their children to the parent who
the children accused of abuse and for many there was actual physical evidence also and medical testimony validating abuse.
There are many cases in all states where parents are denied their Constitutional right to protect their children.
Some are jailed for trying some law abiding good parents becomes felons themselves as they try to flee with the
child to protect their offspring. There are who are forced into silence by their state laws and fear to go public would
jeopardized the time they do have with their children.
Please read with caution the following as it is the
truth about what is happening around us and for many in our own families. Please support these parents and help fight
for their rights but most of all for the rights of the children.