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NCJ Number: 182332 Find in a Library
Title: Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence: How Should Judges Apply the Best Interests of the Child Standard in Custody and Visitation Cases Involving Domestic Violence?
Journal: UCLA Law Review  Volume:47  Issue:3  Dated:February 2000  Pages:813-857
Author(s): Amy B. Levin
Date Published: February 2000
Page Count: 45
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of children’s interests in child custody and visitation cases involving domestic assault proposes two approaches: (1) mandated treatment for batterers and supervised visitation; and (2) mandatory training for judges regarding domestic violence issues and children’s adaptations to divorce.
Abstract: A standard of the best interests of the child generally governs child custody and child visitation cases. However, the parents’ interests usually guide judges’ decisions on custody and visitation in cases involving domestic assault. Two different perspectives have guided judges’ decisions in the context of domestic violence. Battered women’s advocates argue that children experience psychological harm and are at risk of physical harm. In contrast, fathers’ rights advocates argue that fathers have a right to custody and that children benefit from contact with their fathers after divorce. Mandated batterer treatment and supervised visitation would allow children the opportunity for continued contact with their fathers. In addition, mandatory judicial education and training would help judges make more effective and sensitive custody and visitation arrangements for children from violent homes, because judges currently have little guidance in applying the best-interests standard in these cases, especially in cases involving domestic violence. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Juvenile witnesses
Index Term(s): Child custody; Child welfare; Children at risk; Court procedures; Domestic assault; Involuntary treatment; Judicial discretion; Judicial educational programs; Marital problems; Parental rights; Parental visitation rights; Professional in-service education; Spouse abuse treatment programs
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