America’s family court crisis truly defies all logic, and people involved find it very easy to believe they’re the only person going through this. But there is plenty of research to show that this happens across the country to good parents everywhere.

The Safe Child Act will refocus the courts on the health and safety of children. Something most people think is already the case.

On this page you’ll find information and links that will help you understand the Safe Child Act and play a role in having the bill passed in your state.

 

Barry Goldstein

Barry Goldstein

Research Director

 
Barry Goldstein is a nationally recognized domestic violence author, speaker and advocate; he has written some of the leading books about domestic violence and custody.
 

The Problem

In this article custody expert Barry Goldstein talks about brand new research (released in 2017) that documents the extent of the problem, particularly the impact of gender bias and the impact of Parental Alienation Syndrome diagnosis.

Here is the research itself

The Saunders Study by the Department of Justice was revolutionary, as it identified that most court officials have a poor understanding of domestic violence and officials with a poor understanding of it are likely to make particular mistakes that endanger children.

The Solution

Judges and court staff across the nation are beholden to a dizzying collection of laws, precedents and standards when it comes to making their custody decisions. But a fundamental part of the problem is that the “best interest of the child” standard is very loose and open to interpretation. Changing that standard to health and safety of the child, when coupled with training and recognition of the fact that any exposure to direct abuse or domestic violence inherently threatens a child’s long-term health and safety, will go a long way in fixing the problem. Federal Resolution H. Con. 72  will have an important influence over state decisions, and lawyers can cite the resolution for its persuasive value. This resolution is an important step to protecting children in all 50 states, although once passed it will not have the binding power of  law. You can click here to sign a petition in support of H. Con. 72.

The Safe Child Act is a binding law that governs a judge’s decision making process and outcomes. It is binding, but it can only be passed on a state level, one state at a time. Like H Con 72, the bill makes a Health and Safety standard a judge’s top priority and has requirements for training and research that must be used. It also mandates that if there are accusations of child abuse or domestic violence that there is an early evidentiary hearing, and if evidence of abuse is provided during the hearing the non-abusive parent gets custody. This piece is important, as it limits the abuser’s ability to use the court system against their victim and saves countless taxpayer dollars and court hours.

Currently the bill has been introduced in Hawaii and Pennsylvania, and is about to be introduced in Utah, Washington, New York and Maine. To see if there is a Stop Abuse Campaign state chapter working on the bill in your state, email [email protected]

Get Involved

What are some things you can do to fix America’s family court crisis?

  • Sign our petition in support of H. Con.72
  • Call and email your federal representatives and ask them to support H Con 72. If you don’t know who they are or how to contact them, you can go to www.vote-smart.org and find out.  Here’s a simple script you can insert into an email or say while you’re on the phone

Dear ___,

 

Every year family and custody court judges award custody or unsupervised visitation to dangerous people who abuse their partner, their child or both.This happens 58000 times each year, and causes unimaginable suffering to each of those children. Federal Resolution H. Con 72 is an important step in raising awareness about this issue and in preventing it from happening. Please, I am asking you as a constituent and as a human being to support this important piece of legislation. Thank you.  

 

  • Sign up for our mailing list to keep up-to-date on where the Safe Child Act has been introduced.
  • If you live in a state where the Safe Child Act has been introduced call and email your state representatives and ask them to support this legislation. You can learn who your state representatives are by going to www.vote-smart.org, and use this as an email and phone script.

 

Dear ___,

 

Every year family and custody court judges award custody or unsupervised visitation to dangerous people who abuse their partner, their child or both.This happens 58000 times each year, and causes unimaginable suffering to each of those children. The Safe Child Act fixes this problem, and will save taxpayer money and court resources at the same time. Please, I am asking you as a constituent and as a human being to support this important piece of legislation. Thank you

 

  • Consider joining, or forming, a Stop Abuse Campaign state chapter. Email [email protected] for more information.

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