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Who’s actually TALKS with the REAL stakeholders when it comes to Stalking, Domestic Violence (not “abuse”), and Child Abuse??

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I have a question, after finding an unusually honest commentary on how the model code for stalking laws was developed.  I’ve spent some years, in the process of seeking help, becoming acquainted with the standards for what makes sense, according to LOTS of organizations.  I then tried to bring this common sense into actual practice in our own case after it hit the family law venue.

Yeah, right..

I have a question.  As usual, thinking aloud (and posting as I go), the introduction gets longer and the original content that inspired the post, lower and lower.  Presently, scroll down to just below all the graphics (logos) and there’s the question, and in primarily BLUE content, the quote that started today’s post.  

 

Eventually, over the years,  I got to the point of connecting more and more dots, including why would it take this amount of diligent searching by a woman with two college degrees and highly motivated to get some answers, to come to the inclusion that the tipping point is where the intent to publish hits the point to put it into practice.  This is a fulcrum.

Eventually I stopped just reading only content, and started paying more attention to in which publication things were published (most of which I couldn’t afford to subscribe to).  THEN I started connecting which nonprofit (or, some of these are almost exclusively the project of some government grants, and say so right on the websites) with which publication, which which professionals.  This is what would in interpersonal interactions be called “body language.”  Only, without warm bodies and live voices and actual interaction face to face, the next best substitute, especially for those without a travel fund, is sometimes a little background check.  On-line.  Free.

What I post here today was written a while back by a professional now involved in addressing some family court issues, and who I hope to meet someday soon.  We appear to have been circling around geographically within a few miles of each other, but consistently in different venues.  In other words, she has worked for and at organizations I’ve sought help from and whose halls I’ve sat in as a “client.”

It’s probably time to make a phone call.  Meanwhile, today’s a difficult time for me, and I can’t quite say why without revealing which case.  Please bare with some of the over-writing here, and understand why today (and I acknowledge, yesterday), sarcasm is pretty high.  Fact is, I miss my daughters, and it’s the beginning of a school year.   Instead, I get the back hand and the ugly side (or no side at all) of the parent and other adults in control of their lives.  I can and have read law, and after looking, still don’t see that I’ve committed a crime in these matters, and I most certainly HAVE seen and identified several ones committed since the case switched from civil to family law, which I to this day believe is where batterers go to hide, and keep up the same pattern of behavior, only with more validation.

Oops, there I go again.

 

 

ANYHOW, as to the conferences and subscriptions, I have a suggestion:  Instead of a grant to explicate the context of domestic violence in custody decisions (apparently a recent one) and the “Domestic Violence Conference of the Decade,” whose speakers and sponsoring organizations I did take a pretty good (on-line) look at — and got the general picture for sure — and ANOTHER one I just heard of today:

(boy, the logos, and PR, and branding, is getting more and more professional!):header

(SEE:  http://dvinstitute.org), which it appears just happened in Detroit. . .. 

 

 

 

IDVAAC

 

Here’s another one about to happen in San Diego:

http://dvinstitute.org/announces/files/Partial%20Brochure-5-18.pdf

The logo makes me think I’m back in grade school again (check it out — I couldn’t click & drag).

It has a wooden post with 3 pointers, “Future, Present, Past” all askew on a sky background.

  • “FUTURE” is pointing right (the only one pointing right) and UP (ditto).
  • Present is horizontal and point left, indicating a change of direction.  From WHAT?
  • Past is pointing left and down.  Talk about not very subtle.

I could suggest some more detailed logos.  Perhaps the length of the line I stood in yesterday for $15.00 coupon to go get food, which allowed me to get some nonfoods, which Food Stamps program, onto which I’ve been forced back because of former failed systems, most of which interfered with My system called, working! and complying with court orders.  Because we might also have a problem with drugs, alcohol or tobacco, or who knows, perhaps just for simplicity, and of course for the safety of those distributing (i.e., no cash), we could only go to ONE store (a few miles away, which is great for those without cars, with children, and poor enough to need help with food).  I figure out the expense to time ratio of this, and between wait, and buses, it was approximately $4.00/food benefit per hour, four hours expended in getting coupon and food.  Not including getting home with it.  A far cry from a conference.

This line contained live people with real stories, and mostly people of color, different colors, sizes, and manners;  most of them also, women, many with children, and each with a story, and their own method of dealing with the long wait.  It was detailed and usually cheerful, this waiting is routine.  I didn’t see anyone I recognized although I’d been there many times before.

Perhaps I should show some children crying, with a forensic child psychologist, or CPS worker.  Perhaps I should show a woman crying.  Perhaps I should show General Assistance being cut (as it is) to make way for some of the grants I’ve been blogging on, including yesterday.  

If economic distress causes violence (I don’t believe it does) than perhaps this is partly why.  But an inane signpost over these words? – – 

 

A New Direction for a Safer Tomorrow:  National Conference on Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange

Yeah, that and a new specialty in the field, too. . . . . Not THAT new, but apparently . . . . 

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Office on Violence Against 

Women are proud to sponsor the first National Conference on Supervised Visitation and Safe 

Exchange. This conference will inform professionals  (WILL INFORM WHOM??  WHOM????)

 

about how to provide supervised visitation and safe exchange services that account for (HOW ABOUT PREVENT??) domestic violence. 

 

THink about this:  if there is a need for supervised visitation and safe exchange, that means domestic violence is already there.

Pare

nts who don’t threaten to abduct, or hurt a Mom without supervision, or do this (and many do), wouldn’t need this.

 

 

National experts will provide education on safety for adult victims and children; services for diverse populations; community 

collaboration; and advocacy, in the context of domestic violence and supervised visitation and 

safe exchange.  The conference will highlight effective practice and programs, offer tips and 

tools, provide an opportunity for networking, and inspire and invigorate participants. 

 

 

Expert Faculty . . .  

 

 

 

(I dare site visitors here to look up each and every expert and determine where they are coming from, and who pays their organization’s bills.. . . . . . )

 

Would you like to see a similar brochure?  OK, here.  I found it (this search) at

 

http://parentalalienationcanada.blogspot.com/2009/02/domestic-violence-conference-of-decade.html

 

 

 

California Alliance for Families and Children

Please forward to colleagues and friends
Family Violence Treatment and Education Association (FAVTEA)

THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONFERENCE OF THE DECADE!

From Ideology to Inclusion 2009:

New Directions in Domestic Violence Research and Intervention
With Featured Presentations By:
Murray Straus, PhD
Murray Straus, PhD
* Deborah Capaldi, PhD
Deborah Capaldi, PhD
* Don Dutton, PhD
Don Duton, PhD {{NOTE:  S/BE “DUTTON”}}
K. Daniel O'Leary, PhD
K. Daniel O’Leary, PhD
* Sandra Stith, PhD
Sandra Stith, PhD
* Richard Gelles, PhD
Richard Gelles, PhD
Also Featuring:
Sarah Avery-Leaf, PhD * Mohammed Boabaid, PhD * Ellen Bowen, LCSW
Jan Brown * Wendy Bunston, MFT * Michelle Carney, PhD
Ken Corvo, PhD * Carol Crabsen, LCSW * Christopher Eckhardt, PhD
Lynette Feder, PhD * Richard Felson, PhD * Kimberly Flemke, PhD
Joel Garner, PhD * Lonnie Hazelwood, MSHP, LCDC * Denise Hines, PhD
Jodi Klugman-Rabb, MFT * Christopher Maxwell, PhD * Eric McCollum, PhD
Daniel Sonkin, PhD * Arlene Vetere, PhD * Carolyn West, PhD
Date: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 26-28, 2009
Place: Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel
Los Angeles, CA
More info: PDF 2009 Conference Flier
Most presenters serve on the editorial board of the peer-reviewed journalPartner Abuse, published quarterly by Springer publishing. For more information, go towww.springerpub.com/pa

Sponsored by:
California Alliance for Families and Children
and
Family Violence Treatment & Education Association

TO LEARN MORE OR SIGN UP, GO TO:
WWW.CAFCUSA.ORG

 
Domestic Violence Training DVDs Now Available!
See the founders, the pioneers, and today’s most respected experts together at the one-of-a-kind, historic conference, “From Ideology to Inclusion:.”Evidence-Based Policy and Intervention in Domestic Violence The conference was held February 15-16, 2008, in Sacramento, California.

DID I forget, in addition to any conference fees, there’s (like any good market niche) the collateral sales market too.  Incidentally, downloading information is one of the lowest overhead, most profitable fields of direct selling around, once it’s in place.  It’s a GREAT business model.  

Is that enough Ph.D.’s?  Surely I should just their judgments about my danger level, experience of domestic violence, and whether my kids are or are not at risk of — shall we say — parental abduction — better than my own.  After all, look at the degrees!

I wonder whether it has occurred to any of these people that some women leaving abuse might prefer going for not just “job training” but more degrees themselves, rather than defending from the latest round of accusations through this system, or for that matter, the latests fads sweeping through it. . ..  

Speaking for myself, I already had the degrees, I just wanted “permission to practice” what I was already trained in and couldn’t, formerly, because of the domestic violence situation.

Remind me to get another Piled Higher Deeper (then I won’t call it that any more…), it may pay better than blogging for nothing, if I’m in one of these fixing people fields.  Which, however, I wasn’t.  I was in music, which helps heal people many times.  It changes them.  But it doesn’t approach from the point of view, unilaterally:  “You need fixing, and we will do it!”  It’s more transformative than legislative in nature.  Funding for the arts is in jeopardy, but not for family-fixing.

 

SO, who attended THIS conference?

Who attended this one? (Sorry folks, if you just missed it, this past June):  In the words of one of the groups above:

The conference quickly became an international event after its announcement. This was due to all of the internationally respected experts that presented at the conference, as well as attendees that came from all over the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. Easily 95 percent of those who had registered and attended the conference were with state, local and U.S. government agencies, including officials and staff from the Department of Health and Human Services.  It was also attended by a myriad of public health agencies, Social Services, law enforcement, treatment providers and family law practitioners.  The list goes on. In addition, several states had representatives from their Judicial Branches attend, including judges.

Seems to me about the only people NOT there were:  family court LITIGANTS, battered women, protective mothers, children who had aged out of the system, in the custody of an abusive parent (these young people DO exist and are now speaking out:  Courageous Kids, Alanna Krause, others.  I WONDER what my daughter will say, or realize, when she turns 18, soon.)  I don’t see the category “shelter workers” there.  I don’t see “domestic violence advocates” as a category, do you?  Family law practitioners and treatment providers, You BETCHA!


Because of the historic nature of the conference, {{and surely not because of PR, contacts with someone at the station, or anything of a mercenary or publicity-promotion nature…}} Radio Station KFBK-AM 1530, in Sacramento interviewed Erin Pizzey, the founder of the shelter movement and one of the conference presenters  (incidentally, it seems Ms. Pizzey, daughter of an ambassador, has come to the conclusion that the shelter movement is run by radical feminists and socialists, and was turned on by them for not going along.).. . Everything is always “radical” “new” “Pioneering” and “launched” (etc.) in this field.

Perhaps this next testimonial may explain why the D.A. was so resistant to allowing me to not lose, or help me regain, custody of my daughters when it was their FATHER, not their MOTHER who had taken them so long ago:

After going through the post conference surveys, we learned that most attendees gave the conference overall scores ranging in the 4 & 5’s (with 5 being the highest score). We have heard directly from many attendees who are mediators and evaluators in family courts, and they called the conference the best they had ever attended on the issue. Many of them have been in the practice for 30 years. One District Attorney wrote:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and felt it was one of the best I’d ever attended (I’ve been attending DV conferences ever since the Judicial Task Force put on a statewide conference after the OJ case!)”

(The clear and blatant theme of this one appears to be that women are equally as violent as men.  Hence, the publication “Partner” abuse (and “abuse” not “Violence’)  Title:  From “Ideology” to “Inclusion.”  

Oops:  http://www.cafcusa.org/2008%20conference.aspx

It appears these reviews are from the 2008 conference, which was merely “historic” and not “the conference of the decade.”  Sorry in searching on the latter term a merely Grand conference got confused with the truly Grandiose, which is about how the language goes too.  But it’s not truly likely that the same organizations, in alliance are likely to change directions themselves.  They exist, many of them, to change directions of OTHER venues, and other people’s, well, court cases.

(Tell you what — this inclusion does not appear to work in reverse quite so well…)

 

But, who are the real stakeholders?  

 

Why not instead just raise funds for subscriptions for women leaving abuse to some of the publications talking about us, and our children, and our batterers, and our stalkers, and our children’s abductors, and our options, and how to intervene.  

If we could have some “supervised visitation” to some of these conferences, I’m sure we would be competent to stand up and dispel some illusions circulating around these topics.  I have known for a long time what would and would not take this household towards safety and self-sufficiency and been asking for it from institutions that had it to offer, they said.  

This has fallen mostly on deaf ears. So now I am more interested in talking to these people’s supervisors, and employers, which FYI, happens to be in many cases, the federal grants system.

(note:  I talked myself into two such “Screening for Abuse (or, Domestic violence)” type conferences within recent years, AFTER I lost my kids, and while in PTSD, Poverty, dealing with stalking, and working one remaining job.  I overcame the PTSD of speaking up, and was called “brave” for doing so, in front of many strangers.   One was aimed at health professionals, and was nationwide.  ANother was aimed at custody evaluators and was not, although I would characterize BOTH of them as having analyzed the problem of abuse pretty darn well.

It was extremely validating and didn’t make a damn bit of difference in the case, and I doubt will in a whole lot of others.  Why?

 

Because INFORMATION is not MOTIVATION.

EDUCATION doesn’t produce behavior change unless the MOTIVATION to change exceeds the benefits of NOT changing.

Overcoming PTSD to speak in front of strangers, is not my definition of brave.  My definition of “brave” entails facing potential death, which I have, not facing a strange audience.  It entails facing down that man, with a loaded gun and crazy talk, in my own home, and not just once.  The bravery THAT time related to the fact I was a mother, and young children were in the home.  My definition of brave is, knowing the possible impact, telling my family to go take a hike and get a life, when they violated my boundaries post-restraining order, and made it consistently clear after this clear statement, that this was not on THEIR agenda.

Similarly SOME people need to start recognizing that surviving abuse may be luck, or it may show competence, and start getting a different attitude about who you are dealing with, when a person shows up not too coherent immediately after an incident.  Or when they show up in court (repeatedly forced to, thanks to the family law venue, which specializes on hearsay vs. evidence) also not coherent enough, possibly because of who’s present, and because of the authoritatarian and “it could change on a dime” nature of the interchange.

At this public speaking at a conference for PROFESSIONALS in the FIELD time, I also almost spent a night on the street, because in the process of speaking up, I mislaid car keys, took a commute back home, and found out the keys were in another city.  Getting them back took half a night, and more money (of the very little I’d gotten by chance the previous day, allowing me the commute to this conference), help from two friends by phone (my own cell being off) and it was cold, too.  I then imposed on someone who was actually a music client (so to speak) to stay overnight so I might not, in the fatigue and stress, oversleep work the next mornign which at this point would’ve resulted in being dismissed.

About a year later (this being halfway through the court cases following child-stealing) I was indeed suddenly dismissed by this same group.  Possibly they had what’s called “vicarious trauma” dealing year after year (and it was that) with my inability to get free from ONE abuser, and his friends, and the family law mishandling of a simple, simple restraining order renewal. Which I didn’t, FYI, get.)

I want to say something:

Since then, I have looked into the financing (funding, folks) of this same organization, and at its website.  See my post on “the amazing, disappearing word “Mother.”  (The group is not featured, but the principle applies).  It is a premiere group in the war against violence, not against “women” but, well, “family violence.”  I have to really question why in this same state, funds to shelters have been axed, but not to this group.  I have to ALSO question why I couldn’t get simple help when I needed it (and that includes, to date) from any of the entities that exist to provide it, after some of the original ones made a few policy mistakes, major ones, in designing the original custody order.  

 

So, why not just invite us to the conferences?  Note: before, THAT, raise funds to make sure that their phone and internets stay on (and deal with on-line stalking as well).   For example, the other year, had my phone been on, I trust I could’ve found a job and retained access to a moving vehicle through what’s called “work” — even though, through family law inanity, I lost custody on an overnight over a year earlier, all my profession in the aftermath (and buildup), and all hope of collecting any child support arrears in the process.  

You know what these conferences are to me, any more?  They are like ambulance-chasers.  They are carpet baggers.  

They are like a person with a boat with room in it, and not too far to BOAT to shore, but too far for most people, particularly people in danger of shock, or fatigue, or not in top marathon shape — they drive by in the boat and wave.  Sometimes they grab a kid in the process.  They congregate in boats, and talk to each other about the shipwrecks.  They even SOS — the shore — for more gas, and refreshments — and “technical support” — to converse — exclusively with each other — about “how to rescue shipwrecked sailors.”  SOMETIMES some of them even pull out a child or two, or three, and give the child into the care of other people making a living off the shipwrecks — OR the other parent that helped cause it.  That’s bright.

Then they have conferences about “shared parenting.”  Or, even about “the context of custody-switch.”  Or sometimes even about “the advisability of mediation in family law cases involving allegations of domestic violence or child abuse.”  I’ve read many of these, and they are (unlike this blog) generally copyedited, slick, and even have nice charts, sometimes color coded bar graphs, and the whole nine yards.

But what they don’t have is the voices of the people in the water which might show where they missed the boat in these discussion.

NOW — do I think ALL the people in ALL the conferences have impure motives and self-interest in the forefront of their minds?

NO — I know that ALL people are imperfect and have impure motives and self-interest to some degree, including me.  

That’s what the Constitution is about, and why any sitting President is sworn, under oath and in public, to preserve, protect, and defend it.  It’s about putting some restraint on tyranny.

This includes tyranny by simple exclusion from policy-making conferences.  

It should NOT be necessary for almost every mother (or father) who goes through divorce to switch professions and join one that might help him or herself defend herself in a family law custody action, and it PARTICULARLY is not fair where one partner (and it’s most likely to be the female one) has a life in the balance.  Not just an emotional economic life, but also a physical life to her or her kids.

TRUTH has a lot of depth and nuances, but the underlying principles are basic, and basically, SIMPLE.  When we are talking about human behavior.  As a teacher of many years, and I have taught, coached, directed, co-taught, co-directed and/or performed with beginners (tone-deaf) to professionals (in 3 venues:  piano/vocal/choral), I know that the same basics work every time, as much as how people sing and their particular voices differ.  Certain basics HAVE to be there, including:  Air, vocal cords, something to sing, and to do it well — a REASON to sing.  

Same for offices, lifestyles, businesses.  There is income, expenses, cash flow, overhead, etc.  There is some basic math involved.

What the extended decades-long (I’m approaching 10 years, I know others who have been in longer) nonending family law venue DOES is simply divert cash flow.  It STOPS what existed before, and recreates a NEW version according to its paradigm.  Many times, it stops the process and incentive for either parent to work.  

So, IF the actual desire is to STOP VIOLENCE, or CHILD ABUSE and SAVE LIVES:  I recommend starting to pay parents, particularly those who are experiencing stalking, abuse, or other threats, for some of these subscriptions, so we can keep up with what’s being proclaimed about us and our kids and our lifestyles, 

Or, alternately, we could stop the conferences and get back to something halfway reasonable,  like our own businesses.  Right now, this thing is really getting out of hand. . . . .  After a few years of chasing around the experts, and being ever so happy they had “analyzed” a situation well, I began to realize this is about where it stops.   With the talk.  (Well, not really, the dynamic of the situation is changing, but the “you’re making it up” folk are cancelling out the “you’re minimizing abuse” folk.  Even when they “collaborate.”)

I actually DO have a life (still — not the same one, but a life) to get back to, and it’s clear that this is going to go on, well, forever.  I DO have some things I wish to do in life than stop people so intent on stopping domestic violence, they have kept it going a good long while, and people so intent on sharing custody that they are not about to, ever, acknowledge that this is getting too many people hurt.  No, “supervised visitation” is NOT a good alternatives, that I can see.  For one, I was not offered it once in many years, although it would have been very appropriate given where the problems were happening in our case.  Most people I know that HAVE supervised visitation (at their own expense) are women who got it AFTER they reported abuse.  They lost custody and have to pay to see their kids.  

Do I want to spend the rest of my life fixing this problem?  No.  I don’t think it’s going away soon.  On the other hand, do I accept what has happened and zero accountability for what was stolen from my daughters, and me, and the unnecessary destruction involved?  No.  Do I want to lose something more if I confront again?  No.  Would you?

So. why not let the real stakeholders in on the discussions with the “stakeholders” in these systems?  Why should we have to run around studying the industry, and finding out about each new conference half of us can’t attend anyhow?  And with speakers we have already been exposed to their work, and a sometimes (I speak for myself) even know which grant or grants program is funding the thing and the policy?  Have we become a nation of actually employed experts whose very jobs are robbing from the unemployed, whom they are studying?

(I do apologize for my sarcasm here.  But my phone is only on today because someone had a good hair day, as opposed to a bad hair day, and another dribble of child support arrears showed up, enough for phone and not much more.  In order to get some nonfoods (which is illegal on Food Stamps) rather than ask someone I know for this (again), I waited 2 hours to get a single coupon unredeemable except at one store — not nearby.  I waited til the next day to redeem it.  On that day, which involved approximately SIX total bus trips, none of them involving more than  10 mile radius total, and after having walked 2 of those miles without proper shoes, I took the baggage home (involving a sack of potatoes and more) and looked for work, a lead on charity cars, and more.  Then my phone went off (as happens when one doesn’t pay in time).  THIS MORNING, I talked the bus driver into letting me on half price, because the feet wouldn’t make a similar distance this time.  It just so happened (couldn’t have been planned around or predicted) that — just under the deadline, a deadbeat Dad paid again. I reflected at how similar this was to life when I LIVED with this man (particularly as to unpredictable access to any kind of cash, and having to dedicate half a day or more to something that would take 20 min to an hour in a car). 

The primary difference being then that I had the joy of a little company with my daughters, who were growing up still.  I wonder where they are and what they are thinking today.

 

So, let’s change the dynamics:

Benefits (from OUR point of view, at least):

  • Life
  • Liberty, hopefully
  • Pursuit of happiness
  • Decreased National Debt ($1.9 TRILLION, I just heard?)
  • Safer classrooms, probably
  • Many, many more benefits.

Detriments (possibly from publishers, conferrers, model code designers, and a WHOLE lot more):

  • Some professions would have to find a new market niche, because the problems their professions live off would likely abate.  Like those who have lived through (see subject line) they would have to be resourceful, flexible, think on their feet, and probably no longer have a “captive” audience or a steady stream of federal grants to solve problems, but enter the free marketplace like the rest of us.
  • The professed Ph.D. experts would have to move over for the actual “experts.”  An expert is one who has experienced a thing, and has a vocabulary sufficient to communicate to communicate to others what it was.  Typically, this entails knowing others involved in the same thing.  OUR vocabulary, not the expert social science vocabulary.
  • Cash and jobs would flow in a different direction.

 

I think those would be the primary differences.  The question is, HOW would America Survive without the economy of pathology?  And the paradigm of the us/them; subject/object expertise heirarchy?

 

What year do you think this was written?

(Scroll to bottom for answer).

I have pasted an entire section from an article I found on-line today, as I was thinking about the mental segmentation and disconnect between different types of justice (courts), between courts & police, between police & prosecutors (from what I can tell), between “domestic violence” professionals and “child abuse professionals” (meaning, these professionals desire to STOP domestic violence and child abuse, by analyzing and, based on analyses, communicating their results and asking for policy changes.  Then, if the policy changes, the matter comes up, is the PRACTICE changed.  Again, the typical mentality is to “train” the professionals to practice what’s right.

Very few actually deal with the realities of human nature, namely, that there is no single branch of employment, business, and no profession, where most of the employees are altruistic, and none of them are dangerously self-serving, or motivated by, for example, basic human greed, denial, or lust for power.  

This excerpt is a sample of what I’d call honest writing, which shows how even a “model” practice that is published — certain perspectives were omitted. I would imagine that in this case, the voices of the people with these perspectives (the victims the model code was hoping to help) were not present for the dialogue.  THAT is indeed a problem, this gap.

 

it’s really a matter of language.  You see, calling an intersection of court, law enforcement, and social services workers when discussing issues that affect people who come under the category victims (i.e., of crimes) without including the victims — IN THOSE DISCUSSIONS — is exclusionary.  

It is a larger subset of a larger divide, called “service-providers” (including the “service” of JUSTICE) vs. Recipients/clients.

I’ve blogged on another post here about the effect of stalking on me, and including through other family members.  It is a total life-changer (and illegal).  I do not know how to sustain regular employment around the degree of it that has come into my life, and have totally switched goals in order to accommodate, if possible, the safety factor.  I know other women who have done this.  It’s NOT a game, and NOT a joke, but every law enforcement officer I reported to treated it as such, and added in some verbal abuse to go along with my attempt to report.  I have reported it to almost every agency or type of individual involved in my case, as I also reported the risk of child-stealing (which happened) and my concerns about the lethality factor in our case, a combo. of gut instinct, only to then find literature that shows my gut was right.

It is an odd feeling to find out how much of one’s life had already been discussed and conferenced about, and how long ago, and relate this to how many women have been killed since because even this (in its own words) “flawed” model still isn’t being followed.

Nevertheless, here it is.  It is in off-blue (not “link” color) italics.  Any bold or underlining, or variations from italic blue, are my additions,or emphases, except obviously the bolded section headings:

 

National Institute of Justice Project to Develop Model Anti-Stalking Code for States

Limitations of Report from Domestic Violence Perspective

In response to the great and sudden interest in state stalking codes, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) created a project to develop a model anti-stalking code for states, releasing their final report in _________. (see below) Interestingly enough, the report does not refer to the NIJ’s history of involvement with this issue, which included the development of a model harassment code over 10 years ago.

Unfortunately, the resource group which developed this model code included no domestic violence advocates. (An issue which continues to this day/Let’s Get Honest comments in other fields) Presumably this accounts for the fact that domestic violence, rather than being seen as a central issue in the development of the model code, is relegated to tangential status.

Domestic violence is rarely mentioned in the report, and when it is it may be in a footnote. See, e.g., footnote 83, pages 38 – 39, which touches briefly on the overlap between domestic violence and stalking, and reports without comment on law enforcement attitudes that domestic violence stalking incidents aren’t worth much attention: “… While 77 percent of responding jurisdictions in Australia and Great Britain reported investigating stalking-type incidents, none considered stalking a major problem . High-profile cases were rare in the responding countries, and most agencies consider stalking primarily a domestic violence problem. Typical victims are women of any age escaping abusive relationships with dominant males , they reported… Stalker’s methods did not seem to vary from those used by American stalkers, and the course of events seemed to escalate from unwanted contacts to following and face-to-face threats…” (emphasis added) The message appears to be that a crime in which the primary victims are battered women is not “a major problem.”


Domestic violence is hardly mentioned again until page 92, where one paragraph acknowledges the usefulness of drawing upon criminal justice personnel’s experience with domestic violence in formulating strategies against stalking. However, the report then lays out a research agenda which downplays the body of applicable domestic violence research which has already been conducted. The report calls for research on stalkers (i.e. their behaviors, motivations, demographics, histories), stalking as a crime (i.e. its prevalence and reponse by the criminaljustice system), and the usefulness of restraining orders in stopping stalking (i.e. how well the victim, defendant, and criminal justice personnel understand how to enforce them). Given that the overwhelming majority of stalking cases are domestic violence cases, we can already answer many of these questions.  {{I alternate emphasis so every sentence is read in this paragraph.}}

In the discussion on sentencing, the report does not mention batterer’s counseling even once in its three-page discussion of evaluation, treatment, and mental illness, {{I’m not at this point highly enamored of batterer’s counseling, probably because of so many incidents I’ve read where counseling was ordered over incarceration; the batterer then aced the counseling, and went promptly out and murdered his former, reporting, partner.  And I believe that where even a 10% outside chance of “murder” as a side-effect of ineffective counseling happens, the chance should not be taken.  The concept that behavioral science, which is “prognosis” can substitute some how for safety, is not sound thinking, in my view. }}or in the principal recommendations where counseling is mentioned. This is unfortunate, since there is a growing body of literature on the efficacy of batterer’s counseling which would be applicable to the 70-80% of stalking cases involving domestic violence, and since there are also studies showing that most therapists are woefully untrained and uninformed in the area of domestic violence.  {{Cobblers see shoes.  Lawyers see legal issues.  Therapists see personality problems.  I have been stalked, battered, and lost access to the children through “family court matters,” so obviously this is kind of what I notice, too.  So even correcting the “training” and “uninformed” factors (imagine the expense) would still be in essence asking a professional in a field to change their outlook on the field. }} 

The timing of NIJ’s model code report was also unfortunate. The research was done before any appellate cases on stalking had been published, before the volume of commentators in law review articles, and when very few states had amended their statutes. The model code was based on two surveys sent to police departments around the country and to four other English-speaking countries, telephone interviews with prosecutors and defense attorneys, and analyzing the various state statutes on stalking and related issues.  {{THIS PATTERN IS COMMON WHEN IT COMES TO GRANT SITUATIONS FOR POLICY CHANGES.  FIRST, “DEMONSTRATION,” SOMETIMES (NOT ALWAYS) STARTING SMALL. THEN, “PROCLAMATION” BASED ON THE PRIOR “DEMONSTRATION” WHICH WERE NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WHOLE PICTURE}}

 

It is unfortunate that the NIJ report was not seen as Part I of a two-part process, since it is necessary have an in-depth assessment of how the statutes are actually working in order to evaluate the NIJ’s proposed model code.  {{This may have  been “unfortunate,” negligent, or intentional.  I don’t know which; I wasn’t there.  At least this author comments on it.  After a while, one begins to notice how many things termed “unfortunate”  — weren’t quite left up to fortune.  This word cropped up in a mediator report in my case, referring to something which had happened specifically and ONLY after repeated interventions and decisions prompted by said mediator. }}

Analysis of utility of model code proposed by NIJ for battered women

Benefits of Model Code

But even with all the above limitations, the NIJ Report has a great deal of useful information and policy recommendations which could help battered women and their children.

For example, the Report’s principal recommendations for a model stalking code include the following, all of which could be helpful to domestic violence victims:

  • a continuum of charges, including felony status
  • option of incarceration
  • orders to stay away from victim
  • counseling
  • victim notification before stalker released
  • early intervention
  • systems put in place so that civil and criminal judges know what the other courts are doing with the same case
  • a research agenda
  • a multidisciplinary approach

In Chapter Two of the Report, the proposed model code is discused in detail. Probably the most beneficial statement is the following: “Of utmost importance is a state’s decision to require the criminal justice system and related disciplines to take stalking incidents seriously.

{{CAN YOU NAME AT LEAT 3 RECENT INCIDENTS WHERE IT WASN’T?  TOM’S RIVER, A TOLLBOOTH IN CALIFORNIA, AND A HOME (WITH TWO LITTLE GIRLS TRYING –BUT FAILING — TO SAVE MAMA’S LIFE) WHERE THESE RESTRAINING ORDER VIOLATIONS OR STALKING OR SEPARATION DANGER WAS NOT TAKEN SERIOUSLY?}}

The useful elements of the proposed code include a broad definition of prohibited acts; allowing “implied threats”, as opposed to “credible threats”, to be sufficient; the use of increasingly serious penalties to deal with increasingly serious acts, and encompassing misdemeanor and felony sanctions; and the broad definition of intent: “In other words, if a defendant consciously engages in conduct that he knows or should know would cause fear in the person at whom the conduct is directed, the intent element of the model code is satisfied.” The drafters made a similar comment in regard to the fear element: “In some instances, a defendant may be aware, through a past relationship with the victim, of an unusual phobia of the victim’s and use this knowledge to cause fear in the victim… a jury must determine that the victim’s fear was reasonable under the circumstances. ” (emphasis added) This language may open the door to the introduction of evidence regarding the stalker’s past threats toward the same victim, and to expert testimony on stalking generally, which will probably be beneficial to victims.

Similarly, Chapter Three’s sentencing provisions are also generally useful for battered women. The overall goals include protecting the victim, allowing law enforcement to intervene when appropriate, sanctions, and treatment for those defendants who can be helped.

The requirement of victim notification, and accompanying acknowledgements that some stalkers may be more dangerous when released from prison, and that stalking behavior often escalates into violence as time passes are very important for battered women. So are the enhanced penalties for restraining order violations, use of a weapon, minor victims, or prior offenses toward the same or another victim. All of these are typical of domestic violence cases. The no-contact orders upon release are likewise key for protecting battering victims. The advantages and disadvantages of requiring convicted stalkers to wear electronic bracelets are discussed sensitively.

Chapter Four, on pre-trial release, also contains recommendations which are generally good for battered women whose batterers stalk them. These include taking danger to the public into account, considering eliminating release on one’s own recognizance, recommended factors for courts to consider in each case, possible conditions of release, including no-contact orders, victim’s right participate in bail hearings, victim notification of pre-trial release and copies of release orders to the victim.

Chapter Five’s strategies for implementation are also generally helpful for battered women. The emphasis on a multidisciplinary approach underlines the need for all societal systems to work together to end this problem. The recommendations about the response of the criminal justice system are good as well, including training, better police policies and procedures, strengthening restraining order enforcement, providing judges with full criminal and restraining order histories of the defendant at every stage of the case, and the need to keep DMV and voter records of stalking victims confidential.

The NIJ’s proposed model code generally complies with the model code recommended by Susan Bernstein, which was discussed above. The NIJ code includes “threats implied by conduct”, and uses the history between the parties as a context in determining the nature of the threats. While the NIJ code does not mandate using computerized informational tracking systems, the larger NIJ Report recommends these, and also recommends the imposition of increasingly stronger penalties, including felonies. Though Bernstein’s recommendation that harassment include “unconsented conduct” is not addressed directly in the NIJ code, it appears that the NIJ drafters intended to encompass such conduct. Thus, the only key element listed by Bernstein which is not addressed by the NIJ Report is the reasonable woman standard.

Flaws of Model Code

On the other hand, the code has some flaws. First, threats toward the victim’s family are limited to those directed at her “immediate family”, which is defined very narrowly. It would be better to encompass the extended family, both because stalkers do not so limit their behavior, and because many ethnic groups in the US have a much broader definition of family than the nuclear version. Coverage should be provided if the stalker is threatening the victim’s aunt, uncle, grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, godparents, godchildren, in-laws, etc.

Second, “[t]he model code language does not apply if the victim fears sexual assault but does not fear bodily injury.” The drafters discuss the risk of contracting AIDS or being injured for resisting, and state that states may want to include fear of sexual assault in their statutes. However, the idea that sexual assault is not bodily injury in and of itself is ludicrous, and any historical distinction between these two types of injuries should not be maintained.

Third, the drafters propose that states allow for either restitution to the victim, or civil causes of action. It is unclear why victims should not have access to both remedies, since they are not interchangable: restitution is ordered by the criminal court, and covers only out of pocket expenses, while tort suits are under the control of the victim, and also allow for awards for pain and suffering and punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.

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Effectiveness of anti-stalking codes in general for battered women

We last turn to the question of the effectiveness of anti-stalking codes in general for battered women. On the one hand, such codes can be useful. They serve as an acknowledgement that stalking behavior is wrong, and should be criminalized. They contribute to societal awareness that stalking is often part of the overall pattern of domestic violence. They may be an additional charge which prosecutors can use. In some cases, stalking laws can stop the cycle before more violence occurs by criminalizing behavior which otherwise would be non-actionable. On the other hand, there are many limitations to the efficacy of stalking laws in preventing abuse and violence. In some jurisdictions, stalking laws are the latest fad: they represent feathers in the caps of legislators and criminal justice system personnel, without attempting to solve the underlying problems of men’s violence toward women generally and domestic violence in particular. Secondly, there appears to be a belief in some locations that stalking statutes will be a panacea, that if the legislators can merely write the magic combination of words, they will be able to stop this offense. Such viewpoints fail to take the big picture into account — i.e. without fundamental attitude changes on the parts of law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, juries, media, therapists, and the general public, the same old attitudes about domestic violence will attach to stalking cases and result in inaction, undercharging, light sentences, and ineffective orders.

In order to be effective, stalking statutes must be one piece of a much larger coordinated community response. Key pieces of such a response would include in-depth training and written policies addressing domestic violence and stalking, and would be an integral part of the criminal justice system, health care system, educational system, and other social stystems. The training and policies would state that domestic violence is wrong, criminal, and not tolerated. An additional key piece of the response would involve cooperation between all the different parts of the above systems, such as protocols for cooperation, regular interdisciplinary or inter-agency meetings, and death review teams, reflecting the reality that everyone has to work together if we will ever be able to stop domestic violence.

But even with a true coordinated community response, anti-stalking laws are still a limited tool in preventing domestic violence.Even with severe sanctions, some stalkers, like some batterers, will not stop or will repeat this behavior with other victims when released from jail. And some victims may still be reluctant to cooperate with prosecution because protections they are offered by the criminal justice system are inadequate to prevent retaliation. They may also feel sorry for the stalker, love him, want him to get counseling, etc., or they may be forced to deal with him for years to come because they have children in common. It is notable that many state stalking statutes do not cover situations where the former spouse/stalker has visitation rights. This is a major problem for battered women, whose batterers often escalate the violence after separation and transfer their attempts to control the woman to the custody/visitation arena.

In conclusion, anti-stalking laws are a step in the right direction, but in and of themselves will not solve the problems of battered women or other stalking victim.

 

 

MY SUMMARY:

(I only commented on top part of article, for a pattern of asking questions.  ALL of it brings up good points, and I hope was read).

 

I COME BACK TO CONCEPT OF SELF-DEFENSE, AND a Survive! mentality for women.  (See my Toms River, NJ post).  Don’t break any laws, but do like the Boy Scouts, “Be Prepared.”  AND, prepare to survive.  I suggest that women pretty much be very pro-active in figuring this out themselves and with their own resources, until such day arrives where model codes are appropriate, or if appropriate, enforced, and if enforced, enforced seriously.

I deeply regret the years of my

(1) calling out for others to help me, while

(2) trying to maintain and help myself both, and immediately leave the situation.

I would have been BETTER engaged in time and energy not to have bothered with the first part.  Unfortunately, like many women leaving abuse, economics was a huge issue, not just recovery and safety.  This is why any effort to address DV issues not taking into account economic issues is simply unrealistic.  At this point, i also believe that any discussion of domestic violence which does NOT discuss the negative impact that the realm of family law has had upon all the research, all the laws, and all the protective meaures in place, will not make a major difference.  The efforts cancel each other out.

 (Verbal Confrontation, or even taking protective action, on  my part just brought greater escalations and punishments.  In fact, this was typically where it got physical).  I am talking about both IN the battering relationship (in my case, called “marriage, co-habiting years” AND in the afterwards years (taking a stand as  a separate woman, with children in the household.).  I remember one year of emotionally healthy, solvent, sanity — while a restraining order was in place.  There was a storm brewing, but the majority of the situation was a sense of growing prosperity and strength, and — apart from the source of this — peace.  This was BEFORE I’d had a few hearings in the family law venue.

The only benefit I can see from the whole process is that I now caution women to avoid absolutely every facet of it possible, and go about establishing their own:  Safety, solvency and self-determination.  It is also necessary to understand that doing so is not just a threat to one’s ex, potentially, but also to the entire “SYSTEM” if you don’t do it “their” way.  Which means becoming dependent on aspects of this for safey, solvency, and forking over self-determination to a parenting plan (or something similar) obtained through a custody evaluator or mediator, who are influenced by forces one doesn’t normally have input to deal with, in part because one doesn’t know they exist to start with.

Now, as to my doing this myself, it may entail abandoning this blog, also.  However, speaking out is part of a healing process also, and it’s a vital part.

While advocates from more than once side of the fence now dialogue and collaborate with each other (as women and thereafter sometimes men (including men who killed them) continue to die, and children continue to suffer abuse, and some go missing — the one side of the fence that is often not heard — IN the policymaking discussions, IN print IN the publications on these matters, IN the professional organizations that make a livelihood dealing with these matters, and basically on the IN, not the OUT, in these discussions — will continue to be the people with most at stake — their lives.

It is common sometimes to list the “stakeholders” in each new conference.  I have looked at many of these lists.  Rarely are the actual parents, targeted child, or targeted spouse (when it comes to child abduction or domestic violence or stalking, ALL of which are related, by the way) invited to confer.  And if they did, and what such people said WAS published, or broadcast, what about retaliation?  Ever think about that?

 

WHEN WAS THE EXCERPT WRITTEN?

About 15 years after Toms River, NJ – – 1994:


Found at:

http://www.mincava.umn.edu/documents/bwjp/stalking/stalking.html#id2355674


Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse

Domestic Violence & Stalking: A Comment on the Model Anti-Stalking Code Proposed by the National Institute of Justice

Nancy K. D. Lemon
Battered Women’s Justice Project

 

 

Publication Date: December 1994

(And the blank date in the excerpt was Oct. 1993).  


 

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