I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Parental alienation syndrome leaves bruises deep inside



Mar 31, 2009 04:30 AM Susan Pigg Living reporter


In the end, it was one tiny voice that silenced anyone who still had doubts that parental alienation is real and one of the most insidious forms of child abuse. The voice wasn't real – Dashiell Hart opened his arms wide and threw himself off a Vancouver bridge eight years ago at the age of 16. But his voice was brought to life at a Toronto conference by his devastated mother, Pamela Richardson, who endured a 12-year court battle with her ex-husband to try to win back the heart and mind of her son. 

Dash was just one tiny soldier in the growing army of children who are becoming collateral damage in bitter battles between ex-spouses that are overwhelming Canada's divorce courts, the first Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) heard recently in Toronto. "Over 12 years I had four different sets of lawyers trying to convince the courts my son, who lived less than 10 minutes' drive from me, needed to see the mother who loved and raised him," Richardson told the conference. "Maybe it's still believed that no parent would wound their child for their own selfish gain.

Maybe people still believe that the loss of a parent is not that big a deal – parents get sick, have car accidents, get cancer, they die. But alienated parents aren't dead – and the children know it." According to Richardson, it was her ex-husband, Peter Hart, a criminal lawyer, who began a concerted campaign to win sole custody of their then 6-year-old son and cut off all contact with his mother, physically and psychologically, shortly after the couple separated in 1989. "With PAS children there are generally no outward or tangible signs of maltreatment," said Richardson, who later wrote a book called A Kidnapped Mind: A Mother's Heartbreaking Story of Parental Alienation Syndrome. "Instead of bruises, the wounds of PAS children are buried deep in their heart." Hart was granted interim custody of Dash – Richardson blames that on his strong connections in the court system – while the couple sorted out their divorce. 

Richardson had visitation rights, but increasingly Hart would claim that Dash was too busy with soccer, sleepovers or homework to see her. She was even asked to stop helping out at Dash's school. To show her love, she would leave freshly baked cookies on Dash's front doorstep. The year that Dash was 11, Richardson saw her son for just 24 hours. Every time she asked a judge to enforce her access time, Hart would accuse her of being obsessive and "trying to break up their happy home." "There are transfers of time followed by transfers of power and children know enough to keep themselves safe," said Richardson. "A shift takes place in the child's mind. This is the heartbreak of PAS: children are forced to choose between their parents because, in their mind, they've already lost one parent (to the divorce), and they're terrified of losing the other." Dash went from being a happy, healthy 7-year-old to threatening to jump out the second-storey window of his school at the age of 9. At almost 12, he showed up at court in his father's clothes. 

Judges are now starting to tackle PAS head-on, with an increasing willingness to switch custody to the alienated parent and order the children into treatment. But back in the 1990s, most wouldn't even acknowledge it as a real issue, said Richardson. After years of being told she was "idiotic," "uncaring" and even "dangerous," Dash grew into a teenager who lashed out constantly at his mother, who by now had remarried and had two young sons. PAS "has everything to do with who has custody," she said. 

"It's a crime of calculation and opportunity. Arguing about whether or not PAS is a syndrome or a mental health disorder or abuse just ties everyone up in knots while real children and real families suffer this harm. A child's fundamental right to be loved by both his or her parents is destroyed by PAS." And the effects are long-lasting, as parental alienation expert and researcher Amy Baker told the conference. Her study of 40 adults who were alienated as children revealed lifelong battles with low self-esteem, alcoholism and drug abuse, as well as high divorce and suicide rates. 

Parental alienation used to be known as "malicious mother syndrome." But it's become a more equal-opportunity form of emotional abuse of children over the last two decades, according to a new study of some 74 Canadian cases, which was released at the conference. In 24 of the 74 high-conflict divorce cases examined by veteran Toronto family lawyer Gene Colman, men turned their kids against their mothers, while 50 of the cases involved women alienating the kids from their fathers. Canada's family courts have tended to deal with contentious divorces by awarding sole custody to one parent, believing that joint custody is simply unworkable among ex-partners who are at war. 

Many divorce experts, mental health professionals and child advocacy workers, some of whom spoke at the conference, have long argued that this approach encourages parental alienation by treating the children as prizes to be won or lost in bitter battle. Colman said the study's results confirmed for him that Canada's divorce laws need to be amended to make "equal, shared parenting" the norm in all divorce cases, except when there are extenuating circumstances such as domestic violence, mental health or other issues that make one parent clearly unfit

The Winnipeg Free Press ~ When men are victims

THERE is small, but undeniable evidence that men trying to escape abusive relationships are poorly served in Manitoba. Given the level of services avail­able to assist men suffering violence in the home, it is not surprising that few ask for help.

The few men who overcome the social stigma to reach out must, in Winnipeg, do so during regular working hours of the work week, or stumble through with the best efforts of stand-in aid organizations that answer the call when other resources have closed for the day. The problem, advocates say, frequently a man running from violence gets short-term help through emergency shelters established to help women -- there is no full-time shelter open to men -- they are typically put into a hotel room for a night. They then disappear back into the community. Those men then miss a critical part to breaking the cycle of abuse -- counselling. That counselling is widely available to female victims of domestic violence, who have full-time shelters at their disposal and a cadre of practitioners plugged in to the centres where women frequently seek help.

The extent of the problem of abuse against men is poorly defined. Statistics Canada has historically charted alarming levels of domestic violence against men and women, far outstripping the number of charges Winnipeg police lay in such incidents. Stats Can records six per cent of men surveyed in domestic relationships experienced violence in the last five years. In Winnipeg, those numbers would involve more than 8,000 men. Winnipeg police statistics record 14 per cent of domestic violence cases, or 304 charges, involved men as victims in 2008. Those numbers, however, rarely break into the light of day.

It took decades of activism to change societal perceptions, including those of the police and courts, of domestic violence from a private affair that happened behind closed door, between married people, to a complex social scourge that requires social solutions.

Domestic violence, in fact, is a pernicious crime that threatens lives and indelibly marks the development of children, setting in motion a tenacious cycle of abuse that visits upon future generations. That activism is only beginning to address perceptions about men as victims of domestic violence, whether in same-sex or heterosexual relationships.

Defining the size of the problem is a critical first step. To that end, the Men's Resource Centre is working with Osborne House, a shelter for women, to begin tracking the number and nature of calls they receive from men who ask for help. Changing attitudes to dispel the stigma men battle will take time, probably decades. The first step is admitting there is a problem -- something that would come as a surprise to many people who cling to antiquated views of roles in relationships. That discussion must start in the public forum, with the kind of advertising campaign that helped put wife abuse in the public consciousness.

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6 Commentscomment icon

Gerdy, Gerdy, Gerdy your attitude is the same as most gender feminists who by and large just do not like men. Intimate Partner Violence is pretty much equal between genders but men are socialized to "suck it up" rather than report it. Only about 10% of men report the abuse to the police. Judges, many police services, the DV Industry, welfare amongst others all line up to provide assistance to the female even if the allegations are false, which happens frequently to get a "leg up" in custody. In Ontario $208,000,000.00 per year is allotted specifically for women's issues - not one cent for men's issues. This blatant gender discrimination has to stop. Over 3,000 men in Canada commit suicide per year. If a conservative estimate of 400 is given to Family Law (FLAW) cases that is an epidemic greater than SARS back in 2003 but one which gets no attention and is ongoing. Things have to change.

All victims (including men) deserve sympathy and support. Research shows with absolute consistency that women are at least as abusive as men in relationships. And, even though research also shows that children are just as harmed when mom assaults dad as when dad assaults mom, Gerdy sums up the attitude of most police, judges, etc. (If you are an abused man, "I suggest you leave the province.") Leaving one's children behind (especially since abusive women are likely to be abusive moms) is just one of many reasons why Gerdy's philosophy is pathetically insufficient.

Gerdy's comments show just how ignorant and out of touch some women can be in such relationships. Just where are these battered men supposed to go. Whats stopping the abusive wife from hunting them down and abusing these men again. These women dont respect restraining orders and the police. Society should protect these men.....Society should allow mens only clubs so battered men can share their stories of suffering with their fellow men. Teasers strip club would be a perfect meeting centre where abused men could gather without fear of abusive wives entering.

I have to say that I agree with article. I know of at least two men who actually called the police only to be threatened with being charged with assault because the police didn't seem to believe that they could be being abused by a woman.

Still no phone # for these men to call?????? There are many forms of abuse against men, by there spouses. A lot of cases, the man is hit big time with unreasonable maintenance payments. As a result, his life is ruined. When once he lived in a fairly nice home and ate steak once in a while, he is now in a grubby rooming house, living on hot dogs. "He" even had to give up his car. His job is starting to mean nothing to him, because "she" gets most of his hard earned money. "She" is living the high life, not only by herself, but with her "new love", who is probably supporting her as well, and/or enjoying the benefits she receives from her ex. It costs a lot of money to prove his rights and "allegations" in court. Furthermore, there are far too many Good men (fathers) that have committed suicide because of the unreasonable demands of the ex and the courts. I also think it is totally unfair that "he" cannot claim support payments on his income tax. This has to change!! In one case that I know of, some "women's support groups" totally misled "her". As a result, "she" was taking him to court over the least little thing,and more lies, costing both of them thousands of dollars and lasting 3 years. Long story, but thank God, the judge saw right through her "scam", and now, she's eating the hot dogs!!, and he's eating the steak!! Because he served as his own counsel and she paid the lawyers!!

Does anybody take this issue seriously? I noticed that the staff writer didn't even want to be associated with the topic. Who is the lobby behind this movement? This is the second such op-ed calling for a men's shelter and more govt. moneys allocated to this supposed need. Most assault charges of female domestic violence are countercharges made by men who also have been charged with assault, thanks to our zero tolerance policy. As for those few men who are being physically or psychologically abused and need someplace to hide, I suggest you leave the province.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Baby P and the Child Abuse Industry

There are those who live off the avails of poverty and I call them Poverty Pimps. Should those who should be protecting children whether it be social workers or others inside the industry who take actions that cause children to be put in greater danger be called Child Abuse Pimps. What should judges who routinely make these decisions be called aside from enablers of child abuse. Read on and you be the judge.MJM The Salisbury Review
Baby P and the Child Abuse Industry Print
Written by Stephen Baskerville, March 14th 2009

The Baby P killing reveals the child abuse industry at its most cynical. The Soviet-style ineptitude revealed daily is the product not of poor training or underfunding but of the logic inherent in bureaucratic politics.

We have long known what causes child abuse and why children like Baby P die. The vast preponderance of child abuse and child deaths occurs in single-parent homes. Very little abuse takes place in married, twoparent families. London’s Family Education Trust long ago demonstrated that children are up to 33 times more likely to suffer serious abuse and 73 times more likely to suffer fatal abuse in the home of a mother with a live-in boyfriend or stepfather than in an intact family.

Figures from the US Justice Department show that single mothers accounted for 55 per cent of child murders. Shorn of politically correct euphemism, what this means is that the principal impediment to child abuse is a father. ‘Fathers have often played the protector role inside families,’ writes Adrienne Burgess of Fathers Direct. A study in the journal Adolescent and Family Health found that ‘The presence of the father … placed the child at lesser risk for child sexual abuse.’

Yet instead of allowing fathers to protect their children, fathers are forcibly and systematically removed from their homes and children by family courts with the active support of social work bureaucracies. Ironically, this is often effected using trumped-up charges of child abuse against fathers, though statistically biological fathers are responsible for very little abuse. Judges claim they remove fathers, even without evidence of abuse, to ‘err on the side of caution’. In fact they are erring on the side of danger, and it is difficult to believe they do not realize it. Thus the child abuse apparatchiks remove the children’s natural protector, whereupon the real abusers — the single mother and her boyfriends — are free to abuse his children with impunity. Groups like Fathers4Justice and protesters like Jolly Stanesby are vilified for calling attention to the confiscation and abuse of their children, when they are merely responding as any parent can be expected to do when someone interferes with his child.

The sanctimonious hand-wringing now on display in Britain is endemic throughout the industrialized world.‘We cannot tolerate the abuse of even one child,’ says the US Department of Health and Human Services. But HHS funds an army of officials and programmes that remove children from their fathers’ care and then claim to protect them from subsequent abuse. The logic is marvellously self-justifying and self-perpetuating, since by eliminating the father, officials can then present themselves as the solution to the problem they themselves create. The more child abuse, the more the proffered solution is to further expand the cadres of what amount to plainclothes police. Clich├ęs about social workers being ‘overworked and underfunded’ and in need of more ‘resources’ provide a fairly clear indication of a thriving bureaucratic enterprise expanding its turf.

Refusing to face these truths also means an increasingly repressive state machinery and authoritarian habits of mind that are unhealthy in a free society. Urging citizens to watch and report on their neighbours should they detect ‘signs’ of abuse, and requiring professionals to do so, can only foster a society of busybodies and snoops and will certainly mean more harassment of innocent parents and removal of their children, as is already happening.

Child abuse is entirely preventable. The current epidemic grew up with the welfare state and the divorce revolution, with the resulting proliferation of fatherless homes. It continues because of entrenched interests employed pretending to combat it. It is a textbook example of bureaucratic government creating a problem for itself to solve. As Dickens observed ‘the one great principle of the English law is to make business for itself’. Appalling as it sounds, the conclusion seems inescapable that we have created a massive governmental machine staffed by officials with a vested professional interest in abused children.

Britain deserves credit for the huge public discussion prompted by this case — a discussion that has not been held in the United States or elsewhere. But until we have the courage to tell the truth about who is abusing children and the state’s role in permitting and even encouraging them to do it, then all our professed concern for children is mere posturing.

Stephen Baskerville is associate professor of government at Patrick Henry College in Virginia, USA, and author of Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage and the Family (Cumberland House, 2007).

Mother loses kids for anti-dad stance

This story is interesting in that the term Parental Alienation isn't used even once but it is a classic case of same.MJM Mother loses kids for anti-dad stance

Caroline Overington | March 31, 2009

Article from: The Australian

TWO children who have been in the care of their mother since their parents separated in 2005 have been sent from Hobart to live with their father in Melbourne after the Family Court heard the mother encouraged them to have "negative" feelings about their dad.

The two children - a girl, aged nine, and a boy, aged seven - had been struggling with "change overs" between parents, saying things such as "I don't want to go" and "I don't have to go" when their father arrived in Tasmania from Melbourne to collect them for access visits.

The court found the mother did not discourage them from saying these things, and did not encourage a positive relationship between the children and their father.

The children told counsellors they were angry their father had left their mother, and lived with his new girlfriend in Melbourne .

Family Court judge Robert Benjamin said the children "clearly wanted" to stay with their mother, who had been their primary carer since birth, and acknowledged the "disruption to the children's family unit and their stability if they were to move to Melbourne to live with their father".

But Justice Benjamin said the "mother could see what was happening at change overs and did little abut it".

"I have concerns that this will continue in the future," he said.

"Sadly, this is a case where the children may be at unacceptable risk of psychological harm if they remain with the mother."

Justice Benjamin said the girl, B, was becoming "emotionally estranged from her father" and was at risk of "psychological damage, if not psychiatric damage" if she was not allowed to have a relationship with her father.

The decision was made under new laws, introduced by the Howard government, that require the Family Court to adopt the presumption of "shared parenting" when dealing with children of divorce.

The Australian last week reported on new data that showed fathers had a much better chance of getting access to their children by going through the Family Court than they did by negotiating directly with their ex-wives.

A review of recent cases found fathers were given majority custody in 17 per cent of litigated cases, compared with just 8 per cent of cases settled directly with their ex-partners.

The Australian has also reported the case of NSW deputy fire chief Ken Thompson's wife, who fled Australia with their

son Andrew, saying the Family Court had become biased towards fathers.

In the case of the brother and sister sent from Hobart to Melbourne , Justice Benjamin ordered the children be removed from their mother's care, and to see her for school holidays and Mother's Day. She is also entitled to a phone call "each Sunday between 6.30pm and 7.30pm".

The court took evidence from a psychologist who helped facilitate a change over between the parents on June 27 last year.

When the time came for the children to get into the car with their father, the girl "started what can only be described as a mantra, or a chant".

"She kept repeating: 'I don't want to go' and 'I don't have to go'," the psychologist told the court. "When her father greeted her, she (said), 'I hate you'.

"The father showed me photographs of the last visit he had with the children, where they were cuddling, laughing and clearly having a very happy time."

The father put the children in the car, but B "was trying to climb out the window" while her brother was "distressed and was hitting and kicking".

B gave the psychologist a list that said: "I don't want to go with my father because he tells lies, he hurts me, he left our family and he has got a girlfriend and I don't like her."

"These children are slowly indoctrinated into believing that their father is cruel

A Survey on Shared Equal Parenting- Facts and Fiction

Research Brochure by

DR. LINDA NIELSEN

Professor of Women’s Studies

Wake Forest University

ACFC President 2008

Nielsen@wfu.edu

American Coalition for Fathers & Children

www.acfc.org

Michael McCormick, Director

1-800-978-3237

Mccormick@acfc.org

Almost half of the children in the U.S. are deprived of the lifelong benefits of two parents who share the parenting throughout the first 18 years of their children’s lives.

Who are children living with? 42

55% mother & father - 4% unmarried

21% single mother - half divorced & half never married

14% mom & stepdad

5% neither parent

2% mom & her boyfriend

2% single dad

1% dad & stepmom

.5% dad & his girlfriend

Only 15%- 20% of parents share parenting after divorce.6,9,15 Existing legal pro-cedures & attitudes of people who influence the decisions about children’s living arrangements often make shared parenting harder to achieve.25, 26,33,43-47

FACT and FICTION related to Shared Equal Parenting

Fiction: Most children are satisfied with the amount of time they spend (or spent) with their fathers after their parents divorce.

Fact: The vast majority of children say they want–or wanted-more time with their fathers after their parents stopped living together. Kids want more shared parenting 1-16

Fiction: As long as the mother has enough money, children don’t pay a price for having too little or no contact with their father.

Fact: Kids with too little fathering are more likely to have problems throughout their lives related to father absence than kids whose fathers remained actively involved after the parents stop living together. 1-17

Fiction: Most divorced or never married parents are too hostile to share parenting or to benefit from programs on co-parenting.

Fact: Parents generally cooperate more after attending shared parenting programs. Only 10-15% are in high conflict. 18-22

Fiction: Shared parenting is bad for infants or young children because they should not be separated overnight from their mother.

Fact: Very young children should not be away from either parent for more than a few days & are able to spend nights in each parent’s home.23-26

Fiction: When parents share parenting, children are worse off financially because their dad pays much less child support.

Fact: Fathers who share parenting are the most likely to pay child support, spend additional money on their kids, & contribute to college educations. 27, 28, 33, 9

Fiction: Shared parenting is less important than good mothering because fathers know so much less about raising kids than moms do.

Fact: Fathers contribute as much as mothers to children’s well-being, even if their ways of parenting are different. 12, 17, 29-31

Fiction: Most divorced fathers are not interested in sharing more of the parenting.

Fact: The overwhelmingly majority of divorced fathers want more time with their children & more shared parenting. 32- 39

Fiction: Children dislike shared parenting if they actually have to live part time in both parents’ homes, moving back & forth.

Fact: Kids who live part time with each parent after divorce prefer this to living only with one parent.2, 10, 40, 41

===========================================================================================================================================================

1 Ahrons, C. We’re Still Family: What grownup children say about divorce, 2004.

2 Fabricus W. Listening to children of divorce. Family Relations, 2003.

3 Emery, R. The truth about children & divorce. 2004.

4 Finley & Schwartz Father involvement & young adult outcomes. Family Court Review, 2007

5 Harvey & Fine Children of Divorce: Stories of Loss and Growth. 2004.

6 Kelly, J. Children's living arrangements following divorce. Family Process, 2006.

7 Marquard. Between two worlds: Children of divorce. 2005.

8 Sobolewski. Nonresident Fathers' Ties to Children. Marriage & Family, 2005.

9 Wallerstein & Blakeslee What about the kids? 2004.

10 Warshak, R. Listening to children. Family Relations 2003.

11 Scott, Booth & King Post divorce father-adolescent closeness. Journal of Marriage and Family, 2007.

12 Nielsen, L. Fathers & daughters In Teaching about Families, 2005.

13 Nielsen, L. Between Fathers & Daughters: Enriching & Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship, Fall, 2008.

14 Smith, A. Children’s involvement in decision making. Family Law, 2003.

15 Hetherington, M. & Kelly, J. For better or worse: Divorce reconsidered. 2002

16 Bauserman, R. Child adjustment in joint vs. sole custody. Family Psychology, 2002.

17 Lamb, M. The Fathers Role in Child Development, 2004

18 Blaisure & Geasler Educational interventions for divorcing parents In Fine & Harvey’s Handbook of Divorce, 2006.

19 Braver. Prevention programs for div-orced fathers. Family Court Review,2008

20 Pruett et al. Collaborative divorce project. Family Court Review, 2005.

21 Brandon, D. Can four hours make a difference? Divorce & Remarriage, 2006

22 Stone, G. Education programs for div-orced parents.Divorce & Remarriage, 2006

23Assoc. of Family & Conciliation Courts, Planning for shared parenting, 2006.

24 Kelly & Ward. Social science research and ALI’s approximation rule. Family Court Review, 2002

25 Pruett, M. Parenting plans for young children. Family Court Review, 2004.

26 Warshak, R. Overnight contact between parents & young children. Family Court Review, 2000.

27 Fabricus & Braver. Divorced parents financial support of college expenses, Family Court Review, 2003

28 Custodial mothers, fathers & child support: 2005. Population Characteristics.

Department of Commerce. Census Bureau

29Flouri, E. Fathering & Child Outcomes 2005

30Farrell,W. Father- Child Reunion, 2004

31 Tarnis & Cabrera. Handbook of Father Involvement, 2002

32 Nielsen, L. Demeaning, demoralizing & disenfranchising divorced dads. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 1999.

33 Braver, S. Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths, 1998

34 Bokker, Farley & Denny. Well being among recently divorced fathers. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 2005

35 Fagan & Hawkins. Educational Interventions with Fathers, 2003.

36 Hallman & Deinhart. Fathers’ experiences after divorce. Fathering, 2007.

37 Stone, G. Divorced fathers well being. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 2007.

38 Frieman, R. Understanding noncustodial parents. Divorce & Remarriage, 2007.

39 Warshak, R. Divorce Poison, 2002.

40 Buchanan & Maccoby. Adolescents after divorce. 1996.

41 Laumann & Emery. Adults from divorced families Family Psychology, 2000.

42 Children’s Living Arrangements:2003. Census Bureau.

43 Kelly,J. Ethical problems with custody. Family Court Review, 2005.

44 Stamps, L. Judges maternal preferences in custody Family Court Review, 2002

45 Williams, G. Judicial response to cus-tody. Law & Society Conference, 2007

46 Kruk, E. Shared parental responsibility law reform. Divorce & Remarriage, 2005.

47Dotterweich & McKinney Gender bias in custody cases Family Court Review,2000.

Mischief and Domestic Violence with tragic Consequences

The following letter was published in The Sault Star on April 2/09 and can be viewed here: http://www.saultstar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1506965 Murphy [mailto:mike.murphy@nospam.ca] Sent: March 26, 2009 8:35 AM To: 'ssmstar@saultstar.com' Subject: Janet Laforge Sentencing Sault Star, March 25, 09

The Editor, The Sault Star

I read with interest yesterday two stories about the sentencing of females, one in your paper, the other in a sister paper, the Edmonton Sun. Kudos to the police in the Sault for charging Janet Laforge with mischief for making false allegations and getting a conviction registered. This seldom occurs when a female makes false allegations against a partner in Canada.

It is very common and in Family Court under Family Law (FLAW) it is unhealthily widespread and works against the father in custody disputes. Judges and the acolytes in the DV Industry, welfare, mental health and child protection all line up behind the false accuser. The woman in this case was troubled with mental health issues which more often than not go unnoticed or are ignored as the judge will say “ no proof.” Not until serious damage is done and becomes a criminal matter will they act in most cases in FLAW. The woman in this case got a discounted sentence given her over all behaviour so those of us who have been falsely accused but are victims of DV and abuse hope the rehabilitation approach works for her.

The other story involves a Domestic Violence case in Edmonton, http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2009/03/25/8874596-sun.html, where Julie Starr got 6.5 months already served in pre-trial custody (no doubt in a 2-1 format) for the killing of her partner who she punched several times, knocked him down and broke his nose after he accused her of cheating on him. While on the ground she continued to punch him. He was hospitalized and died 5 days later. Conveniently no cause of death was reported. This won’t show up as a DV incident, therefore Stats Can will not include it as such which happens all too often with female on male violence. Intimate Partner Violence is pretty much equal between genders but those reported to the police show female victims as far greater due to men only reporting about 10% of the time. DV is a serious issue but keep in mind it is almost equal between the sexes and both genders require support not just one.

I may launch a human rights complaint with respect to the treatment of men as no facilities or tax supported services are available for battered men in this community and indeed in most every city in Canada. In one case locally a man was told he would not be able to get a bed and would have to turn his children over to the CAS and go to a hostel. What parent should have to give up his children to the state to protect them and get shelter. It is blatant gender discrimination. There are over 550 tax supported DV shelters for females across the country. Calgary may have a couple of shelters, privately funded, for battered men but no others exist to my knowledge.

Michael Murphy

Sault woman who stabbed herself released from jail

COURT: Makes false allegation against father of her daughter

Posted 6 days ago

There will be no more time behind bars for a local woman who stabbed herself in an effort to have her daughter's father charged.

Janet Laforge was able to convince both the Crown and the judge Monday that she deserves a chance to turn her life around.

The 38-year-old woman pleaded guilty in February to attempting to commit public mischief by causing police to begin an investigation into the false allegation.

She also was convicted of three other offences, including assault and two counts of breach of a recognizance, stemming from the Jan. 11 incident.

As well, Laforge pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property and three counts of possession of stolen credit cards.

These charges were in connection with a Dec. 11 shopping spree where she made purchases with credit cards stolen from another woman's purse.

On Monday, Laforge told Ontario Court Justice Kristine Bignell mental health issues and a drug addiction have been the root of her legal problems.

"I've been abusing cocaine on and off for the past 10 years,'' she said. "It is my main problem. I've come to realize I need treatment for drugs.''

The addiction developed after she was prescribed pain killers after a back injury, she said.

"The last 72 days I've had a chance to step back and look at things,'' said a weeping Laforge, who has been in custody since the Jan. 11 incident.

Prosecutor David Kirk indicated that the Crown had been looking at a further month in custody, but would be satisfied with a sentence of one-day time served.

"If she's serious we should put some things in place for her,'' he said.

Bignell agreed and opted for no further jail time, but did place Laforge on probation for two years with numerous conditions to assist the woman to deal with her problems.

"This is your chance, but if you breach you will be back in jail,'' Bignell told her. "You've said you recognize you need help and you're going to get it.''

Copyright © 2009 The Sault Star

March 25, 2009
Woman guilty of beating husband
By TONY BLAIS, COURT BUREAU

EDMONTON -- A city woman admitted yesterday she punched her common-law husband several times, knocked him down and broke his nose after he accused her of cheating on him.

But, she never killed him.

Julie Starr, 40, was handed a six-and-a-half-month jail sentence, which has already been served by time spent in pretrial custody, after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of assault causing bodily harm.

Starr had initially been charged with aggravated assault after a battered Andrew Rademacher, 50, was found lying in a pool of blood on the side of the road near an abandoned home at 95 Street and 107A Avenue on June 29.

He died in hospital five days later.

After getting test results from the medical examiner relating to cause of death, city police announced last month that Starr would not be facing homicide charges.

However, the cause of death was not released.

Yesterday, provincial court Judge Harry Bridges accepted a joint submission on sentencing and ordered Starr to provide a DNA sample for the national DNA databank and banned her from possessing weapons for 10 years.

Court heard Rademacher accused Starr of cheating on him and she took offence and a heated argument began.

Starr punched Rademacher in the face a couple of times, he fell down and she punched him a few more times while he was on the ground, court heard.

He suffered a broken nose and redness and bruising on his face and died five days later in hospital, court heard.

Rademacher's family said the couple had lived on the streets together for the past three to four years and had a stormy, booze-fuelled on-and-off relationship.

At the time of the incident, Rademacher's niece told Sun Media that Starr had contacted Rademacher's brother Robert to tell him that Andy was in the hospital after he slipped and hit his head on some concrete.

When she saw the extent of his injuries, she became suspicious and relatives began searching Rademacher's inner-city haunts for any witnesses and on June 30 found a woman who claimed to have seen what happened.

The woman alleged she saw a female throw Rademacher to the ground and beat him after he struck his head.

TONY.BLAIS@SUNMEDIA.CA

Sunday, March 29, 2009

CUSTODY JUDGES RULE ON VENGEANCE

I'm in attendance at this conference and will provide a report later. It is a historic gathering of the pioneers of this malady.MJM

 
 
CUSTODY JUDGES RULE ON VENGEANCE
Courts criticized for recognizing 'parental alienation'
Kathryn Blaze Carlson, National Post
Saturday, March 28, 2009 
The scope of the courts' reach into family affairs has long been contentious, but a recent trend in Canada's legal system has brought a new controversy that has some onlookers praising judges and others condemning them for accepting what they call "voodoo science."

More than ever before, Canada's judges are recognizing that some children of divorced and warring parents are not simply living an unfortunate predicament, but rather are victims of child abuse and suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Though debate swirls as to whether the occurrence should be termed a syndrome, a disorder or simply "parental alienation," Canadian and American judges, lawyers and psychologists are increasingly buying into a view that sees programming a child to despise a non-custodial parent as grounds for removing the "brainwashed" child from the alienating parent's custody -- or what is known in the extreme as a court-ordered "parentectomy."

Yesterday in Toronto, about 200 of those lawyers, parents and psychologists kicked off Canada's first international conference on this lesser-known subject, a concept developed by psychiatrist Dr. Richard Gardner in 1985 but which is increasingly catching the attention of a broader audience.

High-profile and extreme cases in Ontario and British Columbia, as well as that of celebrity actor Alec Baldwin, have sparked debate over whether it is appropriate for courts to accept these extreme views of parental-custody disputes, or whether they are harmfully overstepping their bounds.

In the past two months alone, an Ontario Superior Court judge and a British Columbia Supreme Court judge ruled in both cases that the parent who embarked on a "campaign of vengefulness" toward the other parent must relinquish any custodial or visitation rights of his or her child for at least a period of about one year.

In the British Columbia case, which wrapped up last week, Justice Donna Martinson ruled that the mother had been "resourceful, highly manipulative, and untruthful" and upheld the court's previous decision to grant sole custody to the targeted father. According to court documents, the mother "undermined" the child's relationship with her therapist, breached an earlier court order by sneaking inappropriate messages to the child through a birthday card, taunted the child with pictures of the dog she left behind upon moving in with her father, and accused the father of abuse -- as many alienating parents do.

And in the Ontario case, the judge recommended the targeted parent and his daughter attend a controversial four-day Dallas-based Family Workshop in Parental Alienation that some opponents liken to a "deprogramming" centre.

Though these cases garnered headlines, praise and backlash alike, they are but a small and extreme sample of a wider trend that sees the targeted parent acquire at least some modicum of interim custody. Between 1987 and January 31, 2009, there have been roughly 74 cases in which Canada's courts acknowledged parental alienation in its decision, according to research presented at the conference by Gene Colman, a Toronto lawyer.

Significantly, 53 of those cases occurred in the past eight years and 28 of them occurred in Ontario. Out of the total 74 cases, the mother was determined to be the alienator about two-thirds of the time.

While many agree that parental alienation is a sad phenomenon, tension arises over whether children should be plucked from their homes and planted into the custody of the very parent they have been conditioned to despise or even fear. Some go so far as to criticize the system for what they consider to be "Orwellian interference."

One blogger on a divorce custody Web site wrote that the children involved in Canada's recent cases are "being psychologically tortured, kidnapped" and dismissed the alleged parental alienation as "fictitious." Another blogger responded in kind, also citing "torture."

But to one Ontario father at the conference, parental alienation is anything but fictitious -- he says it is to blame for depriving him of time with his three daughters and the "get-up-and-go" to find a job since being let go in 2002. He asked not to be identified as the case is now before the courts.

"I was kicked out of the house in 2003, and my visitation with the girls became sporadic since then," he said, adding that his ex-wife has repeatedly violated visitation orders. "Their mother just slowly started taking them away from me, a little bit more, then a little bit more, and a little bit more to the point where I haven't seen my eldest daughter since June, 2006."

He said he is sure his youngest daughter misses him, from her reactions the few times he has been allowed to see her. "She'll run up to me and just wrap her arms around me. But when I hug the oldest one, it's like hugging a totem pole -- she's just not even there. I feel like I've lost her." Though he hopes to gain custody of his daughters, he said he would never retaliate by depriving his children of contact with their mother.

Indeed, some believe a swift transfer of a child from one parent to another carries its own set of problems, which include the trauma associated with broken attachments, trust issues, as well as low self-esteem and depression.

But Richard Warshak, a Dallas psychologist who runs the Family Workshop in Parental Alienation and author of the popular book Divorce Poison, said while children suffering from "toxic parenting" may at first resist change, their stunned protest quickly dissolves and they are often grateful for the intervention.

"Anyone who has worked with divorcing families have seen angry parents lose sight of what's best for their child," he said. "People don't want to stick their heads in the sand anymore. They are increasingly recognizing the damage and that sometimes children need adults to protect them and manage this."

Those who recognize parental alienation as a legitimate concern insist that damage includes depression, suffering adversely in future relationships, and feelings of abandonment, guilt, and unworthiness.

Toronto lawyer Brian Ludmer, who is trying to launch a family reunification workshop in Canada, said while it is sometimes difficult to overcome the 'he-said, she-said' factor in such cases, third-party witness statements and interviews with the child are important in solidifying a case against an alienator.

"It is important that everyone work together to properly determine whether the parent is a good trustee of that child's relationship with the other parent," said Mr. Ludmer, who is speaking at the conference today.

He was quick to add that care should be taken to ensure the interview does not make a child feel pitted against either parent which is, ironically, the very stress the court process is attempting to mitigate. Likewise, Mr. Ludmer and others at the conference said professionals should be careful not to over-diagnose or exaggerate parental alienation -- one psychologist at the convention said he has been pressured by lawyers to "use the language of parental alienation syndrome" in his custody assessments.

This raises another set of red flags among those who fear that parental alienation cases may result in a child being transferred to the custody of an abusive parent, essentially undermining the custodial parent's right to protect the child and justifiably refuse contact.

But Dr. Demosthenes Lorandos, a psychologist and lawyer who will speak at the conference Saturday, said these concerns are, for the most part, unfounded.

"The idea that parental alienation is a scheme to allow abusers to get custody of children is a baseless potshot by people who have either had their children taken away because of abuse or who don't have a real sense or knowledge of what's going on," said Dr. Lorandos. "This isn't some sort of Machiavellian scam. This abuse is happening, and that's the bottom line."

GLOSSARY

Parental Alienation Syndrome A disorder arising primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child's campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign without justification. It results from the combination of a programming parent's indoctrinations and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the target parent.

Alienator The person who participates in the alienating behavior toward a parent or significant other. The three categories of alienator are Naive Alienator, Active Alienator, Obsessed Alienator.

Targeted parent The parent who is the target or object of the alienating behaviour.

Parentectomy The forced removal of the "brainwashed" child from an alienating parent's custody.

National Post

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