Battered Mothers and Child Custody

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					Battered Mothers and Child Custody
Abusing women is becoming an epidemic in the current world. Witnessing a
physical assault on their mother and growing in such an environment can
have a devastating impact on the growing minds of children. According to
a research conducted by American Judges Association, 75 percent of child
custody cases that go through intense battle between the parents involve
history of domestic abuse. And interestingly, the men who perpetrate
domestic violence on the mothers often contest for the custody of the
child. But, there is a sharp contrast in the decisions taken by different
courts with respect to battered mothers and child custody.
According to a research report published by Battered Mothers Testimony
Project (BMTP) in 2002, courts are biased towards battered mothers.
Courts have been inefficient in protecting battered mothers and children
from physical abuse. Often, fathers or batterers are preferred more than
the battered mothers in awarding the custody of the child. According to
the findings of BMTP, courts have violated human rights. They have
allowed the batterers to continue with their abuse through court system.
During the court proceedings, mothers are treated with disrespect by the
investigators. They are harassed emotionally and financially.
According to a gender based study conducted by Massachusetts Supreme
Judicial Court Gender Bias Task Force, many judges, investigators and
family service officers usually ignore physical abuse of women while
determining this and visitation. Even if any woman accuses her husband of
physical abuse, it is considered as an act of revenge. Surprisingly,
during many of these trials, the batterers have been awarded with either
joint custody or sole custody of the child. According to this report, in
almost 94 percent of the cases involving battered mothers and child
custody, the fathers have received sole or joint child custody.
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