DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS NOT JUST A WOMAN'S THING!
"DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR THAT ONE FAMILY MEMBER OR SPOUSE EXERTS OVER ANOTHER AS A MEANS OF CONTROL.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MAY INCLUDE PHYSICAL VIOLENCE, COERCION, THREATS, INTIMIDATION, ISOLATION, AND EMOTIONAL, SEXUAL OR ECONOMIC ABUSE."
Everyone is aware of the physical abuse but few ever consider the mental abuse side of domestic violence. While we all hear of the numbers of physical abuse committed on women no one wants to bring up the mental abuse. IT IS NOT JUST A WOMAN THING. 5%of men are also victims of physical abuse.
But while the numbers on physical violence are recorded very few ever consider the mental abuse and how or what it does to the victims. While men are guilty of committing most of physical abuse it is the women by the large part that are committing the mental abuse. Whether anyone wants to admit it the mental abuse is just as damaging if not more so than the physical side of the horrible crime.
As grandparents our concerns are not with the adults, they have a choice. There is much support directed to help women involved in these relationships. Very little if any for the children.
We have to protect the children. Children are the silent victims of domestic violence. Anytime there is domestic violence involved whether it is directed toward them or not they surfer.
Each time a child is use by one parent against another parent it is domestic violence. COERCION, THREATS, INTIMIDATION, ISOLATION, AND EMOTIONAL. Each time a child is witness to any type of abuse it changes their brain waves.
It changes the way they think, learn, solve problems, and how they relate to other people. NOT FOR A SHORT TIME, BUT FOR ALWAYS... It changes the person they may become. This is not just a theory. It is fact and it is past time for all people involved in the PROTECTION and care of children to address these issues.
In all of our state laws the "Best interest of the child" is used in order that the states may look as if they are in compliance with the US Supreme ruling. However, it is clear that the state Legislators, courts and judges have used this term only as a lip service with no intent to adhering to or addressing the problem. If the states wish to be in compliance with the Adoption Safe Family Child Act of 1997 and continue to receive federal funding for support of the child services of the state, this is one area they will have no choice but to address.
Now is the time for all of us that are interested in the welfare of children to step up and force the states to adopt new legislation to help solve this problem.
Every state will be rewriting their domestic relations laws within the near future.
Each one must do so to be eligible for the federal money they all want so badly.
Now is the time to get in there and have a say in what and how it is changed. If you don't like the present laws it is up to you to help change them.
While they are changing laws please help get a written definition of the "Best Interest OF the child." Every state must use this statement in all laws relating to children. But the definition changes with each judge, in each courtroom in every state.
We have researched this statement using the US Supreme Courts ruling and came up with the following definition. If all of the states adopt this definition there will no more of trying to second guess what the discretion of the court will be.
'THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD IS MEETING HIS/HER PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, MEDICAL, PRIMARY EDUCATION AND SPIRITUAL NEEDS.. PROVIDING EMOTIONAL STABILITY, PROTECTING HIS/HER LEGAL RIGHTS AS WELL AS ASSURING SAFE HOUSING, FOOD, AND CLOTHING TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITY. SO THAT THE CHILD WILL ACHIEVE TO THE BEST OF THEIRS."
These are the considerations in cases of separation and divorce of parents. IT IS NOT THE INTEREST IN THE CHILD, BUT OF THE CHILD SYLLABUS BY THE COURT:
(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child. (b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and Guidance And continuation of the educating and raising of the child in its religion or creed, if any.
(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved providing the child with food, clothing, Medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this State in place of Medical care and other material needs.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of Maintaining continuity. (
e) The permanence as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
(j) The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against, or witnessed by the child. This is a clear definition and leaves little to the discretion to the court. It creates constancy and a standard for each court.
Thanks to Lola
Grandparents Rights for WV Organization
(This material is copyrighted and permission must be granted by author for reprint - copyrighted 4/99)
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