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Professor Margaret B. Drew University of Cincinnati College of Law April 15, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Professor Margaret B. Drew University of Cincinnati College of Law April 15, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professor Margaret B. Drew University of Cincinnati College of Law April 15, 2010

2 GOALS  To better understand the responses of survivors of domestic abuse  To better understand the definition of domestic abuse beyond any physical injury  To identify the impact on the trier of fact from hearing abuse accounts on a frequent basis  Techniques for designing outcomes that best support and protect the abused party and the court. 2

3 Basic Facts  Common denominator for women who are victims of intimate partner violence is that they are female  Psychiatric testing is inappropriate in domestic violence cases  Stalking is a High Danger sign in intimate partner cases 3

4 More Facts  Fifty percent of women who are at risk of future serious violence will deny being afraid  Many women are murdered each year with no indication of prior physical violence  Understanding non-physical abuse is key to understanding domestic violence 4

5 Coercive Control  Many women are murdered who had no documented history of physical abuse  Evan Stark: Coercive Control – available through any real time or online book store  Coercive Control by Mary Ann Dutton – article is in your materials  There is no “cycle” that fits all situations.  5

6 Victim Responses  There is no predictable response.  Responses and actions are individual and often counterintuitive  We cannot predict our own responses to trauma  When is a Battered Woman Not a Battered Woman? When She Fights Back, Leigh Goodmark, Yale Journal of Gender and Law and Feminism (2008)  6

7 Trauma Based Presentations  Some behaviors you might have observed:  Non-Linear narratives  Focusing on something other than the worst abuse  Blurting out at the end of the hearing the worst of the behavior  What the survivor feels is the “worst” incident is not what we feel is the worst incident  She will not say that she is afraid  PTSD/Depression 7

8 QUESTIONNING THE SURVIVOR  Ask: What does that mean to you?  Has s/he ever done anything to make you feel uncomfortable?  Use a variation of the uncomfortable question:  E.g. “Has he ever done anything sexually that made you feel uncomfortable?”  Has he ever said anything that made you feel uncomfortable?  8

9 Mental Health Concerns  How someone presents can be changed by the presence of depression or PTSD  Mental Health is not determinative of violence  Those with depression may in fact have a heightened and more accurate sense of danger 9

10 Exercise  List five things/people that are important to you in descending order of importance  Next to the five people or things, place the numbers from the list below of what you would give up to keep that item or person in your life. Do the same for safety. Circle any number that you would give up for safety but not to keep that person or thing in your life. 10

11 Who is a Perpetrator?  There is no test that can diagnose someone who is abusive toward an intimate partner  Only 10% of batterers are mentally ill  85-90% of abusers were abused as children or witnessed abused  Only 30% of men who are abused or witness abuse as children become perpetrators  Many abusers use only as many tactics as are necessary to control the partner or children 11

12 How Perpetrators Respond  Cry in court  Minimize- deny any abuse or it only happened once  Can be very well behaved compared with the victim  In control  Say they are confused, just don’t understand 12

13 A Word About Danger  If a victim says that she is in danger, she probably is  Mutual petitions, stalking, multiple guns, threats of suicide  Jackie Campbell – Danger Assessment cation1/pages/da/ 13

14 Some Readings  “Why Does He Do That?” Lundy Bancroft,  “The Batterer As Parent”, Bancroft and Silverstein  Child Custody and Domestic Violence: A Call for Safety and Accountability, Jaffee and Lemon (Paperback)  Why Batterers Kill, David Adams  In the Name of the Child, Johnston, et al 14

15 Joan Meier  A Historical Perspective on Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation," 6 Journal of Child Custody 232- 257 (2009).  "Domestic Violence, Child Custody, and Child Protection: Understanding Judicial Resistance and Imagining the Solutions" 11 American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 657 (2003) 15

16 Self Care  Impact on those who hear the stories  Assuming the worst e.g. the rate of cpo dismissals  Are you really taking care of yourself?  Why not start a program in your courthouse?  Let’s talk 16

17 What you can do to protect the survivor and protect the court  Use mindful language  You can inadvertently imply to a victim that the abuse is her fault  You can inadvertently imply that she is wasting the court’s time  Judge the legal case - not her responses or presentation  Keep in mind that you may not be hearing the entire story 17

18 How Do We Do This  Voice Empathy - You can do it!  Two things that you could say:  I am sorry that this happened to you  I hope that you realize this is not your fault 18

19 Suspend Expectations  We do not usually recognize what is happening in front of us  Make a clear record that is empathetic but states the reasons why an order is being denied 19

20 For Example  “Ms. Jones, I am very sorry that this happened to you. This is a very difficult situation. Unfortunately, I am not able to give you the order today because our law requires a showing of (physical harm, imminent threat). I want you to know that if anything else happens you should feel free to return to this court.” 20

21 Give Referrals for Safety  “Ms. Jones, would you like me to give you the names of some agencies that can assist you with safety planning?”  Ask your local providers to develop a referral sheet to keep on the bench that you can copy for the petitioner. 21

22 Keep Control of Your Courtroom  Clearly but firmly explain what is going wrong. e.g.  “Ms. Smith, I truly want to hear what you have to say. But if you would, please answer the questions I am asking you.”  Be specific:  “I will give you a chance to discuss that situation, but first please tell me whether or not your children were injured when their father threw the television across the room” 22

23 Remember Your Questions  What does that mean to you?  Did anything happen that made you feel uncomfortable?  If she is not “afraid” ask if she is concerned that he will do this again. Was she afraid when this was happening? 23

24 Dismissals  Let the petitioner know that she can return to the court if anything else happens  If the client wants to dismiss, dismiss. You can first describe options, such as keeping the no abuse order in place and eliminating the no-contact order.  Refer for safety. 24

25 The End  Prof. Margaret Drew  University of Cincinnati College of Law  Tel: 513-556-0193   or  25

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