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News from the Center


Golan v. Saada Decision 
Remarkably, a 9-0 decision by the Supreme Court was issued this term favoring the protective mother in a Hague domestic violence case. The Center contributed to a domestic violence amicus brief, and Joan also helped prep the lawyer who made the argument before SCOTUS.
On June 15th the Court in Golan v. Saada held that, once a court has found that a child would face a grave risk of harm if returned to the other parent’s country, the court is not categorically required to examine all possible ameliorative measures before denying the Hague Convention petition for return. This ruling does not create a per se rule that domestic violence equals grave risk, but it supports courts that do so by not requiring them to go further and search for purported safety measures, which, as the amicus brief asserts, research has found are largely unreliable.
The opinion by Justice Sotomayer states: “A court may therefore decline to consider imposing ameliorative measures where it is clear that they would not work because the risk is so grave. Sexual abuse of a child is one example of an intolerable situation. Other physical or psychological abuse, serious neglect, and domestic violence in the home may also constitute an obvious grave risk to the child’s safety that could not readily be ameliorated. A court may also decline to consider imposing ameliorative measures where it reasonably expects that they will not be followed [e.g., a parent with a history of violating court orders].”

FLORIDA - A Dangerous 50/50 Bill is Vetoed in Final Moments
For months, we at NFLVC together with many Florida organizations and individuals actively opposed and strategized against an alimony and the 50/50 custody presumption bill, SB1796. After the bill passed the Florida legislature in March despite stiff opposition, it was unknown whether Governor DeSantis would respond with a veto or a signature.
The deadline for action was July 1st. We along with the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Florida NOW, Florida Protective Parents Association, First Wives Advocacy Group, Families Against Court Travesties (FACTS), and Greyson’s Choice were among those opposing the bill throughout 2022. On June 27, for the third time in a decade, a Florida governor vetoed an alimony and 50/50 presumption bill. Each iteration of this bill has had many of the same backers through the years. No doubt they will be back next session.
MONTANA- Tackling a Decade of PA Influence in Montana
Growing out of NFVLC’s collaborative work with local groups and media to reverse a decade of influence by “alienation” theory proponents in Gallatin and nearby counties, a cover story in the Billings Gazette gave statewide and national exposure to the problem: “Child Custody Legal Tactic Criticized: Although Widely Discredited ‘Parental Alienation’ Still a Weapon in Montana.” Joan’s study is cited, and Danielle is quoted. You can read the full story here
CALIFORNIA California mothers of children who were killed by their fathers speak out to change law
Joan is quoted and her empirical research is cited in this article about California's efforts to strengthen protections for children in custody litigation.

Denial of Family Violence in Court: An Empirical Analysis and Path Forward for Family Law
Joan is delighted to announce the publication of her capstone article about family courts, abuse and alienation. It contains new findings from her empirical study that have not been previously published (beyond the grant report), some new thoughts on why courts are so resistant to mothers' and children's allegations of abuse, and new policy proposals for state legislatures. 

Harman and Lorandos’ false critique of Meier et al.’s family court study
Joan and team's definitive rebuttal of Harman and Lorandos's attack on the team's family court study is now online pre-publication. It can be found here. It is available free of charge under an open access arrangement. Please share widely.

The Post Internazionale Cover Story on Supreme Court Dobbs Decision 
As the shockwaves of the Dobbs decision overturning Roe continue to be felt across the country by those in the U.S., other countries question what is next for them on the abortion question.
Traditionally Catholic countries, including Italy and Ireland, are particularly concerned about what influence the U.S. decision may have in their own countries. The Post Internazionale (TPI) interviewed Danielle on the immediate and anticipated impacts on women and girls in the U.S.
“The burden of this decision will unquestionably fall heaviest on poor women [and girls], on victims of domestic abuse, and on those who are otherwise systematically disenfranchised, including indigenous and immigrant women, black and brown women, and gender non-conforming individuals,” Danielle Pollack, policy manager at the National Family Violence Law Center in Washington D.C., told TPI.

Message on Roe and Dobbs................................................................
We at NFVLC are deeply disturbed by the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs to overturn Roe v Wade and put women's and girl’s control over their own bodies to a majority vote, state by state. We know that abused women and girls will be especially hard hit by this decision, as reproductive abuse and coercion is a common element of abusive relationships, and States' denial of women's autonomy with regard to this decision will play into abusive partners' dominance and control. We welcome hearing from readers if you know of opportunities to support protections for abused women and girls in future abortion litigation or legislation at the state level.
Kayden’s Law Coverage Wins Major Award 
At the 47th annual Gracie Awards ceremony, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt won the prestigious Gracie Award for the national news feature series category for the two-part story created in collaboration with NFVLC on Kayden’s Law. For many months Danielle worked closely with the NBC producers and anchor Kate Snow to bring Kayden’s story and news of NFVLC’s national custody reform efforts to the American public. 
In 2021, pictured here we were shooting with Kate Snow and the NBC team on a chilly day in Bucks County, Pennsylvania as Kayden’s Law advanced at the state and federal levels, thanks to our multi-year strategic policy work and the commitment of lawmakers. In 2022, the federal Kayden’s Law contained in the Violence Against Women Act was signed into law by President Biden. NFVLC is now advising numerous state lawmakers and advocates on the law's implementation at the state level.
The Gracie Awards recognize individual achievement and programming by, for and about women in all facets of media and entertainment. Celebrating with colleagues this June at the Gracie Award Luncheon in New York, anchor Kate Snow, who interviewed Kayden’s mom for the series, shared the following statement: 

“My team [at NBC News] won an award for our 2-part series about the family court system last summer.
Women who allege abuse are often counseled not to mention it in family court. And sometimes abusers continue to see their children. It was an intense story to report on (and I continue to get so many more tips) and I’m proud we told it.” 

You can watch the award-winning series here, Part 1 and Part 2.  

NSPO Live Advocacy Event Series – Next Session is July 14th 6:30pm ET 
The next live advocacy event session from the National Safe Parents Organization will be held July 14th and will focus on getting your opinion into the press with a step-by-step guide to successfully writing and submitting Op-Eds to advocate for policy changes in your state. 
You can preregister for the event at the NSPO website here. Note that new NSPO advocacy event sessions will be held on the second Thursday of every month at the same time.
New GREVIO Report Attacks Alienation Label 
On June 14, the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO), an international body monitoring implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), published its new annual report focusing on child custody, visitation and domestic violence based on its country evaluations.
GREVIO found that many countries lack meaningful protections for children and domestic violence victims, especially in child custody proceedings.
The new report found that minimization of domestic violence within family court processes across countries is closely linked to the increasing use of the concept of “parental alienation” to undermine the credibility of child victims of domestic violence who fear contact with domestic abuse perpetrators, despite obvious risks for both adult and child victims. The report cites research, including Joan’s 2019 study of U.S. courts, finding that claims of so-called parental alienation are being used to negate allegations of domestic and sexual abuse and that in many cases involving indications or findings of domestic abuse, these concerns ‘disappeared’ or were greatly minimized once the focus was on this unscientific label. 
We hope the summer is bringing you new, exciting opportunities along with delightful warm weather. We deeply appreciate your support to help continue our work.

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