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Sign if you believe rapists should not be awarded joint custody with their victims.

This petition had 325 supporters

Please sign this petition to stop the rise in abuser winning sole or joint custody of children with their victims.

Ninety percent of all U.S. child custody arrangements are worked out between two loving parents and don't need court intervention. But, the fate of thousands of children and victims of rape, assault, extortion, stalking, molestation, terrorism, theft and other crimes are in the hands of the judicial system every day as abusers use loopholes in family laws to use children as pawns and further abuse their victims.

This form of abuse has led to rapists, violent offenders and sexual predators winning joint custody, unsupervised visitation and even sole custody of their children and traumatized their victims after the break-up.

Experts are beginning to see a reverse trend in victims leaving their abusers. After years of work to make it easier for victims to escape abusers, a rise in victims staying with their abusers as a way to protect their children daily rather than risk an expect joint custody award. As many as 75% of abusers who use the legal system in this way are winning some form of unsupervised custody even when the abuse is documented.

The family court desperately needs reform to end the standard of awarding joint custody and shared parenting to abusers.

No study supports that it is in "best interest of children" to be parented by an abuser. In fact, studies show that abusers should not be co-parenting.

Thousands of children are suffering. Hundreds of children have been killed and thousands have been sexually molested by their abusers every year as a result of the practice based in the sentiment that abusers have a right to their child.

Even though legislation in many states direct judges to consider domestic abuse as a factor in awarding custody, most jurisdictions have heavy case loads and don't have the time or inclination to investigate claims. Child custody cases often last less than an hour before a judge. Victims are often seen as hysterical, as they are reacting to the trauma of abuse and fear for their children. Abusers, who are often narcissist, are often seen as charming and financially stable. This makes it hard to peel apart what is really going on in the home and protect the children.

The American Bar Association says many myths are driving tragic custody decisions that favor male abusers over female victims. Studies by the Department of Justice, and other organizations, show that a majority of those disputed custody cases (though not all, of course) are driven by abusers seeking to gain back control of the family and the decision-making OR by victim parents trying to protect their children from on-going family abuse.

This phenomena is relatively new. Though child custody was awarded to men prior to women's rights in the early 1900s, during the mid-part of that century, custody was based on the ages of the children. After the introduction of "No-Fault" divorce and the increase in divorces after the 1970s, changes began to take place and the standard evolved.

Judges reacted to what looked like a positive change after years of chasing down fathers for child support issues or abusive mothers automatically awarded custody. They often erroneously see the uptick in custody disputes as a sign that children are lucky to have two parents who want them so much rather than what the studies show: Abusers are using the court to grab back power and control of the family.

What can be done?

1. Require ALL family court professionals to be trained in domestic abuse dynamics by experts in the field of domestic abuse.

2. Require screening for domestic abuse in child custody contested cases by professionals trained in domestic abuse dynamics and take protective action when identified.

3. Stop awarding joint parenting, shared parenting or sole custody to abusers.

4. Make it a standard that victims of abuse will be the sole decision-maker in parenting. This is more important that custody issues, because the non-abusive parent will often facilitate a relationship between abuser and child but under protective conditions. This better achieves the goal to do what is in the best interest of any child.

5. Provide legal assistance to victims to navigate child custody issues after leaving their abuser.

6. Provide trauma treatment therapy to victims of abuse.

7. Hold abusers accountable beyond a slap on the hand.

8. Stop repeated court actions and other forms of legal abuse by abusers who are using the children as pawns.

You can make a difference in the lives of children and help raise a generation who understand that abusing another person is never OK.

Thank you for taking the time to read this petition and thank you for signing it. Please forward this to everyone in your address book, Facebook, and so on. Let's make this change now before one more child is hurt and one more victim is abused.

Our children deserve better!




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