When divorce court judges take our kids away from safe parents and put them with identified abusers, they mock every value our country holds dear. And they do it every day, to an estimated 58,000 children per year (www.leadershipcouncil.org)
Here's how it usually works:
A child discloses physical or sexual abuse by a parent.
The protective parent (usually the mother) takes the child to doctors and therapists who make mandated reports.
There is a big flap. A cadre of child welfare agencies, law enforcement agencies, medical professionals, mental health professionals, specialists, mediators, guardians ad litems, and attorneys poke, prod and scrutinize the child with interviews, examinations and evaluations. Every professional gets paid handsomely. Private evaluators charge whatever the market will bear, ranging from $15,000 - $60,000 per evaluation. Attorneys charge $250-$350 per hour.
Then the game is over.
* Medical professionals close the case as not having clear physical evidence (only a tiny fraction of children show physical evidence)
* Child welfare agencies close the case as unsubstantiated (only a tiny fraction of cases are substantiated).
* Law enforcement agencies close the case as not having enough evidence for prosecution, or the child is too traumatized or not acting traumatized enough to be a credible witness (only a tiny fraction of child abusers are prosecuted).
* Poorly trained, biased or corrupt mental health professionals write reports that the protective parent is trying to alienate the child from the other parent by making up the abuse.
* The accused has a high powered attorney while the protective parent is impoverished and self represented.
* The child is assigned a new court therapist who refuses to believe any disclosures.
* The judge reads the reports in advance, which turns hearings into "star chamber proceedings".
* The protective parent cannot afford a court reporter or transcripts.
* The judge rubberstamps the reports recommending custody to the accused and supervised visits or no contact with the protective parent.
* The child is retraumatized, reinjured and sometimes killed.
* The protective parent cannot afford an appeal (only a tiny fraction of appeals overturn the trial court decision.)
* Mandated reporters are sued by the accused.
This process works splendidly to protect batterers and molesters.
Here's how it should work:
A child discloses being physically or sexually abused by a parent, and mandated reports are made.
The child is protected by a restraining order, ensured physical and sexual safety, and allowed to heal.
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