In a groundbreaking move, the Washington Supreme Court in America has ruled that the children of domestic violence survivors can now receive protection orders against anyone who has abused their parents.
The judges’ decision was unanimous, and stemmed from the view that children exposed to domestic violence are deeply affected, even if they are not physically hurt. This is something we campaign on often, and there is a growing body of research which supports this school of thought.
In the judgment Justice Steven Gonzalez notes the effects of exposure to domestic violence on children:
“The harm caused by domestic violence can be physical or psychological … Scholarly research supports the conclusion that exposure to domestic violence is a simpler, more insidious method of inflicting harm…. While exposure to abuse may not leave visible scars, the secondary physical and psychological effects of exposure are well documented.”
The case involved a woman whose partner was facing domestic violence charges in court, including trying to choke her whilst threatening to kill her. They had a two year old son together. She was granted a Protection Order, which is the strongest civil protection order available in the state. The mother tried to extend the Protection Order to include her son, but her several applications were turned down. The Supreme Court then overturned the lower courts’ decision and granted her son a Protection Order.
The position in the UK is a little different. The decision was easily overturned in Washington due to a law which explicitly allows for domestic violence protection orders to protect victims’ loved ones. The UK has no such law.
Whilst some here might argue that the right to contact is a priority when deciding cases of this nature, we would argue quite strongly that the right to protection from harm must be considered before anything else.
What do you think? Should we have this kind of law here, or do you feel it could be abused by parents looking to get back at their partners?
Very many thanks to Charles Pragnell for alerting us to this development.
Roya Azal said:
Hello – at first sight this seems like a good decision. But I want to alert readers to the sad but by now widely known fact that perpetrators know how to manipulate courts – and that they exchange information on how to play courts. In the US in particular a growing trend is observed that turns the tables on victims of domestic violence and turns them into perpetrators of the crime when they fight back.
The perpetrators call the police on the victims should they fight back and get them evicted and isolated for DV.
Hanging On By My Fingernails: Surviving the New Divorce Gamesmanship, and How a Scratch Can Land You in Jail
by Janie McQueen
US prisons are filled with women who fell foul to “Gameman-Ship”. And the UK and Western family courts have left too many women bereaved already who fell foul to local versions “gamemen-ship”.
What use are such laws that can be so easily used against victims, when there is no oversight over practises by judges in evidence gathering, fact finding etc, when there are no resources made available to courts, social services etc etc. Such a law will only work if it goes hand in hand with better care, higher standards and much more attention to detail.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Thank you so much for your thought provoking comment Roya, azizam.
Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..
dr. manhattan62 said:
“could be abused by parents looking to get back at their partners?”
i would say yes it could very easily be abused. this is the world we now live in where attack, counter attack and so on has become the norm.
christine morrison said:
Download JUSTICE COMPLAINT READ PGS 6-9
JUDGES/Appeals courts ABOVE ALL LAWS