Mothers on the Rise
This organization focuses on helping women form local organizations to fight for family court reform. They do not have extensive resources to help women with individual cases; this is primarily a social change group helping with community organizing. MothersOnTheRise.org
Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts
THE COURT SAID
This site has one of the largest collections of articles, guidebooks, and links to organizations for protective mothers.
A website created by researchers committed to confronting sloppy or unethical “scientific” claims that have been made that are harmful to abused children and their protective parents. Includes a large section on child custody and “parental alienation syndrome”.
Website of the California Protective Parents Association, with information that is relevant to everyone.
Website of the Courageous Kids Network, for young people who are forced by a court to live with, or have contact with, a parent who abuses them, and want to reach out to other youth who have shared these experiences.
• Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody, operated by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: (800) 527-3223.
The Resource Center offers a free packet of information for abused women in custody and visitation litigation. It does not become involved in specific cases or provide legal advice. They also offer a book called Managing Your Divorce that helps women prepare for the process of resolving child custody, visitation, and child support whilst going through a divorce.
• Battered Women’s Justice Project: (800) 903-0111, x2
The BWJP provides support, consultation, and referrals to abused women facing custody or visitation challenges from their abusive ex-partners, including assistance in finding a well-trained and sensitive attorney.
• Women and Children Last: Custody Disputes and the Family “Justice” System, by Georgina Taylor, Jan Barnsley, and Penny Goldsmith of the Vancouver (BC) Custody and Access Support and Advocacy Association.
This excellent book prepares abused mothers for the difficult emotional and legal challenges of family court litigation, to help increase their ability to keep their children safe and maintain custody. Advocates and concerned community members can also benefit from the explanations offered here of how the family court system works and why abused women can find the environment so hostile. (For ordering information call Vancouver Status of Women at 604-255-6554.)
Books, Reports, and Videos
• The Battered Mothers Testimony Project: A Human Rights Report on Child Custody and Domestic Violence.
This activist project interviewed 40 abused women about their experiences of being revictimized by family courts through the abuser’s use of custody and visitation litigation, and also interviewed numerous judges, custody evaluators, and advocates. The project report, which exposes these systemic abuses as violations of women’s internationally-recognized human rights, is available from: Publication Office, Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College, (781) 283-2510, or at www.wcwonline.org [LINK].
• “Small Justice: Little Justice in America’s Family Courts,” a video by Garland Waller of Boston University
This one-hour video documents three cases where abused women have faced systematic mistreatment by family courts as they attempt to protect their children from domestic violence and sexual abuse. This well-made and carefully researched film is an important resource for community members working for court reforms. (Available from Intermedia, 800-553-8336)
• Divorced From Justice: The Abuse of Women and Children by Divorce Lawyers and Judges, by Karen Winner (Regan Books).
This is another book that is out of print, but you can find it at libraries, used book stores, or online. The stories are painful ones which makes the book heavy reading, but Winner offers crucial advice to women and to anyone who is trying to help them, in addition to giving important suggestions to people interested in working for court reform.
• The Hostage Child: Sex Abuse Allegations in Custody Disputes, by Leora Rosen and Michelle Etlin (Indiana University Press).
An eye-opening education for people interested in working towards family court reform, this book documents the obstacles that abused women can encounter in attempting to protect their children from abuse even in cases where extensive evidence exists. (I don’t recommend this book for abused women to read themselves if they are currently involved in litigation – it’s very frightening, and most cases don’t go as badly as the ones presented here.)If you notice errors or inoperative linkg in any of the resource listings on this site, or would like to propose additions, please send an email to ResourcesLBsite@gmail.com.