Pass the Safe Child Act
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This bill requires that the health and safety of the child is the judge’s top priority in family court decisions regarding custody and visitation. It also ensures that everyone participating in such a decision has specialized training needed to recognize and respond effectively to domestic violence and child abuse, and that their training is based on current scientific research. The undersigned organizations and individuals are working to advance the rights of women and children and to prevent the pain, damage and financial burden domestic violence causes to individuals and society.
Make the health and safety of children the priority of Massachusetts family courts.
Put the health and safety of children first. Pass the Safe Child Act. Our family courts should lead, and adopt this as their priority. They must support this by using the latest research. And they must bring in experts in domestic violence at the beginning of a case so they may determine if coercive control exists in the relationship.
In contested custody cases children's lives depend on it. Some children survive being returned to abusive parents, the ACE study shows they are scarred for life. Others don't. Remember Aaden Moreno?
Science has evolved. Our family courts should adopt it. Protecting our children and preventing their trauma.
We're sure they want to. This will bill will require it.
Massachusetts custody courts must put the health and safety of our children first.children first.
According to the CDC's ACE study witnessing domestic violence traumatizes children. There were 702,000 victims of child abuse and neglect reported to child protective services (CPS) in 2014.
The youngest children are the most vulnerable with about 27% of reported victims being under the age of three.
About 1,580 children died from abuse or neglect in 2014.
Nationally 58,000 dangerous abusers are given unsupervised visitation or custody with their children every year, and when there are allegations of sexual abuse, the alleged abuser is granted custody 85% of the time. In a recent two year period 175 children were murdered by abusive fathers involved in contested custody cases, often with the inadequately trained court professionals helping them to gain access to their children.
Massachusetts has an unprecedented opportunity to become a state where abuse is prevented, not tolerated. Because no child needs to experience witnessing domestic violence. Because no child deserves abuse. Because children deserve to be protected from trauma.
Act now, sign and share the petition, protect Massachusetts children from court mandated abuse.
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