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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD CUSTODY RECOMMENDING COUNSELING

Domestic Violence is the use of physical force, restraint, or threats of force to compel one to do something against one's will, or to do bodily harm to self, a person with whom one resides, or the mother or father of one's child.

 Domestic Violence includes, but is not limited to:

  • Assault (pushing, choking, hitting, biting, etc.)
  • Sexual Assault
  • Unlawful Entry
  • Destruction of Property
  • Keeping Someone Prisoner or Kidnapping
  • Theft of Personal Property
  • Infliction of Physical Injury or Murder
  • Psychological Intimidation or Control (through such means as stalking, harassment, threats against children or others, violence against pets, or destruction of property)


The Presence of Domestic Violence is ALWAYS harmful to Children and Inappropriate in All Families!

Children who have witnessed or overheard severe or repeated incidents of violence involving their parents are likely to be traumatized. These children are at risk for developing emotional, behavioral and social problems--including longer-term victim or abuser roles. Even those children who do not directly witness spousal abuse are affected by the climate of violence in their homes and are likely to experience impairment of development and socialization skills.

Even young children and infants who are not thought to be aware of the violence are negatively affected. For these reasons, children--as well as adults--need to be protected from exposure to threats of violence or actual violence by a parent, caretaker, or other adults.



The right to have separate CCRC in cases involving Domestic Violence:

Where there has been a history of domestic violence between the parties, the party alleging domestic violence in a Written Declaration under penalty or perjury, or the party who is protected by a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, may request to meet with the mediator (or screener, assessor, or evaluator in other proceedings) separately at separate times.

  You may be asked to provide a copy of the written declaration under penalty of perjury or the domestic violence restraining order. Copies of other related documentation, such as police reports and medical reports, may also be submitted.

The Right to have a Support Person present in Mediation cases involving Domestic Violence:

If the Court has issued a restraining order, a support person may accompany a party protected by such an order during mediation. A support person may also accompany the party protected by a restraining order during Family Court Services procedures, such as Immediate sessions, during which the parties may be interviewed together. It is intended that the support person provide moral and emotional support for a person who alleges she or he is a violent.

The support person is not present as a legal advisor. The support person is present to assist the victim in feeling more confident that she/he will not be injured or threatened by the other party during a proceeding where the victim of domestic violence and the other party must be present in close proximity. The presence of the support person does not waive the confidentiality of the mediation and the support person shall be bound by the confidentiality of the mediation.

A CCRC may exclude a support person from a session if:

  • The support person attempts to participate in the session.
  • The support person acts as an advocate for the victim in a session.
  • The support person's presence disrupts the process of a session.
  • The support person's activity disrupts the session.

 

Other Safety Considerations

Deputy Sheriff security personnel are available to accompany victims of Domestic Violence to their cars following appearances at Family Court or Family Court Services. The residential addresses and phone numbers of victims of Domestic Violence will be kept confidential by Family Court Services upon request.

When adults experience problems with Domestic Violence, both the victim and the abuser are encouraged to seek professional counseling assistance. Children exposed to Domestic Violence should also receive professional counseling assistance. Some of the local agencies which specialize in providing services for families of Domestic Violence are listed on the following page.

 

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