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News from the Center

Maryland Custody Judges Will Be Trained in Child Abuse and DV
Big news in Maryland! In May, Governor Larry Hogan signed a judicial training bill SB17, which NFVLC consulted on and for which we provided testimony, over a period of several years. 
A special thanks to Secretary of State John Wobensmith, Anne Hoyer, Senator Susan Lee, Delegate Wanika Fisher, Senator Chris West, members of the Governor’s Child Custody Workgroup, survivor advocates including Annie Kenny and Hera McLeod, and the team at Child Justice for all their hard work to ensure judges are prepared to hear custody cases involving family violence.
California “Piqui’s Law” to Be Introduced
Upon request, NFVLC is providing technical assistance for the forthcoming “Piqui’s Law” to the office of California Senator Rubio. “Piqui’s Law” is modeled on the provisions (drafted by NFVLC staff) contained in Section XV of the newly enacted Violence against Women Act (VAWA), the Keeping Children Safe From Family Violence Act (“Kayden’s Law”).
The California bill is named after a Pasadena child, Piqui, who was murdered by his abusive father who had been granted parenting time despite risk signs having been brought to the court’s attention by his protective mother, Ana Estevez. Ms. Estevez has fought for protective reforms in family court since her son’s preventable killing. Look for “Piqui’s Law” in the CA Senate in the coming days.
Ohio 50/50 Custody Bill is Opposed by NFVLC, Survivors, Judges, and 90+ Organizations
In May, the Ohio legislature heard testimony from organizations and survivors on a proposed bill that would create a 50/50 presumption in the state’s child custody law. 
NFVLC provided opposing testimony, along with the Ohio Bar Association, Ohio Domestic Violence Network, Ohio Legal Aid, and many other opposing organizations. Survivors and advocates, including Haley Martinelle, Ashley Zibaie, and Jeff Watters, spoke of their own childhood experiences of being terrorized by family violence and forced back to an abusing parent - and how this bill would create more such harms for Ohio’s children if enacted. Family court expert Milfred Dale also offered opposing testimony, citing his new paper critiquing the misuse of social science data by 50/50 proponents. Leading up to the legislative hearing, Ohio Public Radio interviewed Danielle on the implications of HB508. You can hear the clip here and listen to the full segment here
In powerful testimony, Kellie Elliot, Ohio mother of Gracie (10) and Caleb (13) who were murdered by their abusive father during the father’s court-ordered custody time, spoke out publicly for the first time since her children’s preventable murder this January.
Just after murdering his children, the father, a proponent of shared parenting, posted on social media about it and blamed the mother. During her testimony Ms. Elliot told the committee that HB508 would make matters even worse for family violence victims like herself and her children; she asked Ohio Chairman Hillyer if he would be fighting to support a 50/50 presumption law if he were in her place. You can see her testimony here
Family Court Outcomes Study by Meier et al is Highlighted on Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show
In a conversation about violence against women on The Daily Show podcast, Rachel Louise Snyder, author of No Visible Bruises, discusses the Family Court Outcomes Study (Meier et al.) with writer and actress Christiana Mbakwe-Medina and correspondent and actor Roy Wood Jr. Mbakwe-Medina said, “I don’t think most people understand how difficult it is for a woman to escape.” You can watch the clip here or the entire Daily Show segment here
Upon invitation, NFVLC Policy Manager, Danielle Pollack, gave presentations at the Battered Mother’s Custody Conference, the Americas Conference to End Coercive Control, and the Battered Women’s Justice Project. Director and Professor Joan Meier presented online to the Battered Mother’s Custody Conference as well. 
Kathy Sherlock, Kayden’s mom, co-presented with Danielle at the BMCC. Kayden would have been finishing 5th grade this spring and her classmates sang this moving tribute to honor her last week. Read more.
On the second Thursday of each month, the National Safe Parents Organization will present a live advocacy event at 6:30pm ET. You can pre-register here for the free event each month and also join their advocacy community for your state.
OPEN POSITION will help enhance children's voices in court
The Center, in partnership with a generous donor and a leading attorney for children, Suzanne Chester, is seeking a Research Consultant to assist in launching a new project, Enhancing Children's Voices. The project will explore the replication of the paradigm Suzanne utilizes to represent children in court, as part of a special program of North Carolina Legal Aid, The Child's Advocate. Read More
We hope May brought you new, exciting opportunities along with delightful spring weather. We deeply appreciate your support to help continue our work.

Joan S. Meier, Esq., NFVLC Director and Professor of Clinical Law 
Danielle Pollack, NFVLC Policy Manager
George Washington University Law School
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