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Court-Ordered Domestic Violence
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Parental Alienation

1.  Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and other unscientific theories should be outlawed from the court system:  Dr. Richard Gardner made numerous public statements supporting the practice of adults having sex with children.  He attacked Jews for convincing society to adopt laws opposing incest.  It was with this bias and belief system that Dr. Gardner concocted his Parental Alienation Syndrome.  Unlike real science which relies on tests, samples and verification, PAS was based on Gardner’s own (biased) experiences.  His work was self-published and never peer reviewed as required for genuine scientific research.  The basis of PAS is circular reasoning.  If a child doesn’t like the father (PAS is a sexist theory that is virtually only used against mothers), fears the father or opposes visitation, the only possible reason must be that the mother alienated the child from the father. Allegations of abuse made by the mother are treated as proof of alienation and therefore there is no reason to investigate her complaint.  The children are to be forced to live with the alleged abuser and the mother is at most given supervised visitation.  The children are often forced into what they afterwards describe as threat therapy where they are told how horrible their mother is and punished if they express anything positive about her.  Ironically, all this is done in an effort to stop alienation.  PAS is not recognized by the American Psychological Association or any reputable professional organization and is not included in the DSM IV which contains recognized mental health conditions.  Some psychologists have lost their licenses for supporting PAS in their findings because they are in practice diagnosing something that does not exist.  The custody court system is the only entity that permits PAS.  As PAS has been further discredited, it is often used by other names like “parental alienation” or just “alienation.”   You can tell PAS has been used by the failure to investigate or properly investigate abuse allegations and extreme outcomes taken against protective mothers.  Many children have described the horrendous abuse and harm they suffered because of PAS. They were able to reveal the results of PAS after they aged out of the custody order.  It is hard to imagine how something with so little basis and so much harm has been allowed to take such a hold of the custody court system.  The extremists that control “fathers’ rights” organizations have fought hard to support PAS because it prevents abusers from being held accountable for their abuse and instead can be used to maintain control over former partners or punish her for leaving.  Many unscrupulous mental health professionals and lawyers like to use PAS because abusers generally control the finances and thus have the resources to pay these professionals to promote this bogus theory in court.  Less than five percent of all custody cases are contested all the way to trial and often beyond.  These are the worst of the worst cases which often cannot be settled because they involve abusive fathers using custody to maintain his control.  It is in this relatively small group of cases that PAS is so common.  Respect for the court system is based upon the assumption that although they may occasionally make a mistake, we can rely on the findings of our courts and treat those findings as accurate.  This is why PAS and the crisis in the custody court system is so dangerous.  The up-to-date research is now beyond question that a large majority of these contested custody cases (almost all domestic violence cases) are being wrongly decided.  If the public cannot rely on the courts to make fair decisions, this would be a disaster.  Already many mothers have chosen to stay with their abuser and accept his beatings rather than risk going to the court system and risk losing custody.  Unfortunately, some judges and others in the court system have sought to respond to their mistakes by silencing protective mothers through gag orders, threats and punitive actions.  In some cases criminal charges have improperly been brought against protective mothers and disciplinary complaints made against professionals trying to help them.  This is a particularly dangerous response because it spreads the lack of trust in custody outcomes to other parts of the court system.  These mistakes make it critical for the legislature to make sure PAS is no longer used and to reform what we now know are outdated practices used in the custody court system.  This is critical to maintain respect for our courts and laws.  It is particularly strange that conservative politicians who wish to restrict sexual activity between unmarried individuals tolerate the use of an unscientific theory designed to promote sex between adults and children.

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