There is a problem in America, no actually it is a world wide problem. I am talking about the Family Court Systems and their various members who court order child abuse, abductions, and murders all in the name of justice being served.
This is something that has been getting to me for quite some time now and I have been mulling over how best to approach this situation from the standpoint of an ordinary person with no great reach beyond just a few people. I have decided to just write my thoughts out as they are and to for go the listing of sources and trying to back myself up.
Feel free to take my word for it or do the research on your own. I have done the research and been involved in following cases of domestic violence and child abuse for years. I know what I have experienced and what I have personally witnessed others go through. I have read tons of court documents involved in cases being heard in Family Courts, divulging any of that here would put those that have shared these at great risk.
The main point I’d like to make is this: If a crime has been committed, then report it as such. Along with that you have to report it to the proper authorities and that in my opinion is law enforcement; not a Family Court, not Child Protective Services (CPS), not Department of Human Services (DHS). None of these people can really help you and many do more harm than good.
Now, I am not trying to put any of them out of a job, or even saying that they are all bad. You have to keep in mind that in far too many instances the workers in CPS are overworked and underpaid. They initially went into the field of social work to try and make a difference and many become numbed from the atrocities that they wade through on a daily basis. Not all of these workers are bad, nor all of them good.
Reporting a crime at the time it is happening or shortly there after is usually the best route to take in protecting your children and yourself. Most of what I am going to say here applies more to domestic violence than to child abuse but they are one in the same as far as I am concerned. Both are terroristic power and control acts committed by someone that is in a position of trust to the victim.
If you are in a domestic violence situation and are facing divorce proceedings, do not rely on getting an order of protection signed by a Family Court judge. In most cases these are not worded in such a way that the violator can be arrested and the cops are not at liberty to protect you if your order isn’t worded right. Many lawyers do not even know, until it is too late the correct wording to use.
Most often what happens when there is a violation of an order of protection that has been issued in Family Court, the only recourse a victim has is to request a Contempt Hearing and tell the judge that the order was violated. Which puts the burden of proof on the victim. So, save yourself all of this hassle and just get a criminal restraining order.
I have been told many times that a victim was refused the opportunity to file for a criminal restraining order because the situation was of a family nature and thus must be heard in the Family Court. While on the surface this may sound correct it is not. Most states (I actually believe all do now) have criminal laws regarding domestic violence. Press charges. Let me repeat that, PRESS CHARGES! Once you have pressed charges ask for the restraining order. Then if it is necessary ask that any pending case hearings in the Family Court be put on hold pending the outcome of the criminal case.
When you file charges you will more than likely to be asked at some point for any evidence that a crime has been committed, so make sure you are prepared for that. Have pictures to show, witnesses to write statements anything that can prove you were assaulted. Be prepared to testify in court! You can contact the local DDV Agency for help in preparing yourself. They can also support you through this and help to minimize your fears as the court date approaches.
There is so much more involved in this that in order to cover every nuance I’d end up writing a book. There are several places online and in your local area where you can gain information about this process. The best one that I have found on line thus far is WomensLaw.org, do your research and be prepared.
If however, you have already gotten away from an abuser and are now facing him in Family Court for divorce proceedings and he is still abusing you, stalking you, or harassing you; you can still apply what I have said above. If the abuse was too long ago or you don’t have proof and can not file charges for it (or are told by the police that you can’t) , go to your local DV Agency and request help on how to proceed.
Family Court judges can not determine which one of you are telling the truth, and remember abusers are manipulative.
Lets move on to child abuse allegations after separation and/or divorce where custody is still being looked at. Even though you know your child is in danger, trying to prove that in Family Court is a waste of your time.
Calling CPS should be reserved for when there is a suspicion of child abuse, neglect, maltreatment, molestation, etc. Key word here being suspicion. It is the job of the case worker to investigate. These case workers have no power to arrest, the most they can do is call the cops once they are finished with their investigation. In most sates they have a very short amount of time to determine if that call should be made and children removed from a home.
Remember this: Abusers are manipulative. If an abuser was able manipulate their current victim into a relationship, they can definitely fool someone that doesn’t live with them and quite possibly has only met with them for a few minutes to a few hours!
If you know that you child is being abused, then call the cops. Tell your child to call the cops. Dial 911! Do not waste time with calling anyone else, do not waste time with going to a Family Court Hearing and convincing a judge that the child is being abused. Do not even waste your time trying to convince a Family Court judge that you were abused by this person. An abuser has the ability to manipulate the court officers just as easily as they can the CPS workers; or anyone else for that matter.
Yes there are a list of mandated reporters, however, even telling them will probably get you no where; as the only recourse they have is to call CPS since they are not a direct witness of the abuse.
If your child tells you anything at all, do not question them further. Doing so will probably only get you accused of prompting them and you could even loose custody.
If you have already lost custody and you know there is abuse going on, educate and empower your child. Tell them about 911. Tell them about calling the cops. Yes, it will be hard for them; but I dare to say not as hard as what they are already going through.
The reason I suggest calling the cops for everything, is that quite frankly they are the only ones that can arrest someone right then and there. Cops are also trained in a different type of investigative skills than social workers and Family Court officials. They are trained to deal with investigating crimes, and after all domestic violence, child abuse and molestation ARE crimes. By law they can be more intrusive with their investigation and can uncover evidence that social workers are not allowed to even look for.
I will agree that not all cops are good; as with any profession there are bad and good mixed. We do hear far more about the bad people in all professions than we do the good ones which taints our opinions of all in that certain field. I myself as a victim of domestic violence years ago was let down by the police on more than one occasion. Each time I was in the hospital from a beating received at the hands of my abuser. I actually had a cop tell me then that there was no way for me to prove who beat me up because my abuser said he wasn’t home when it happened. End of case.
But, I can tell you this...laws have changed since then, drastically! I can also tell you that if I were to ever find myself in another abusive relationship I would not hesitate to call the cops again, even after being failed by them in the past.
Please feel free to leave comments below on what I have said. If you are in a situation and need help in finding resources feel free to email me at email@example.com I will not reply to those that email me to argue or even to debate, we can to that here through our public comments. I will only answer those that are seriously in need of help in locating resources that will help them!