We've been incredibly busy over the past months. Here are the highlights:
By invitation, Danielle presented to JCADA’s team of attorneys, therapists, educators, and victim advocates on NFVLC’s work and the dynamics of how abusive parents attempt to take custody from safe parents, court responses, and added complications from the pandemic. JCADA, founded in 2000 by a coalition of women to address domestic abuse in the Jewish community, but providing services to all, aims to create a world free from power-based violence and to upend power structures that perpetuate the continuation of that violence. JCADA works in Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia.
"...We were all so impressed with the work you are doing, and grateful to know that there is this kind of work being done."
- Amanda Katz, MS, Executive Director, JCADA
On December 9, NFVLC hosted and orchestrated the second 7-hour day of our Colorado Evaluators' Training pursuant to Colorado HB1228, a new law requiring that evaluators be trained on interpersonal violence, child abuse, child sexual abuse, coercive control, and trauma. The second day of training went even better than the first, thanks to still more superb presenters and skilled technical help from Danielle and Teri. Approximately 40 child and family investigators (CFIs) and parental responsibility evaluators (PREs) attended, and many offered enthusiastic responses.
“Along with the state training, this was the best program I’ve attended in 41 years of practicing law.”
"I just sent a personal friend the danger assessment. It's amazing how this training is opening my eyes."
"Excellent training. Tough topics tackled by articulate and thoughtful experts. Much appreciated.”
On December 16, Joan presented her empirical research to social workers, attorneys and other professionals primarily but not only from Oklahoma, for HARUV-USA, a leading child maltreatment educational program based at the University of Oklahoma's School of Social Work. Attendees were enthusiastic and requested more training on this topic.
This month, other states which recognize their standards could be improved have been reaching out to NFVLC to inquire how their states practitioners might also be similarly trained.
On November 29, Joan participated in a webinar for Russian domestic violence advocates about domestic violence work and social change in the U.S. The organizer's feedback: "You are amazing in your ability to take complex legal issues and make them accessible and relevant to folks who work in a totally different legal context. I really cannot thank you enough."
On November 30, Joan presented her empirical research to Croatian child custody "high conflict" service providers (the video is in Croatian). Colleagues Ruth Kaddari (Israel) and Jean Mercer (NJ) also spoke eloquently.
LEGISLATIVE ACTION and MEDIA
Danielle met with Kentucky stakeholders to discuss their state being used as an example by proponents of 50/50 shared custody presumptions in other states. Proponents have made the specious claim that Kentucky’s 50/50 2018 law has "reduced domestic violence." Several states, including Ohio and Vermont, have bills pending which would enact a 50/50 presumption similar to Kentucky’s. Such laws have been found to have adverse impacts on protective parents and vulnerable children in custody decision-making, as ProPublica reported recently, following an interview with NFVLC.
Both the state and federal versions of Kayden’s Law, emanating out of Pennsylvania, were in the news this month. The federal provision in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which NFVLC has advised closely on since inception and was introduced by Congressman Fitzpatrick, saw advocacy from celebrity and child rights advocate Angelina Jolie. The provision passed the U.S. House earlier this year and is pending in the Senate.
In Florida, lawmakers introduced Greyson’s Law to improve child safety in custody decision-making and expand the definition of domestic violence. Telemundo interviewed FL Representative Michael Grieco about the bill, Greyson’s mom Ali Kessler about what happened in her case which failed her 4-year old son, tragically ending his life, and Danielle about how such system failures are a nationwide problem and what we can do about it.
We wish you all warmth, love, prosperity and safety in 2022.
Joan S. Meier, Esq., Professor of Clinical Law and Director
Danielle Pollack, Policy Manager
National Family Violence Law Center
George Washington University Law School
You can give using the "Give Now" button above, or if you prefer, by mailing a check made out to George Washington University Law School, with National Family Violence Law Center at GW in the memo line, to:
George Washington University
PO Box 98131
Washington, DC 20077-9756