This is so wrong on so many levels.
The following summaries are a few selected samples of real California Family Law cases (catogorized by county), in which children are taken away from safe parents, and forced to live with abusive parents.
When these children were four, seven and nine years old, they were taken from their mother who was accused of non-evidentiary Parent Alienation Syndrome, and placed in the full custody of their father. This occurred in 1996, after the two girls disclosed molest by their father, despite corroborative medical evidence, explicit disclosures of abuse to law enforcement, and receipt of California Victims of Crime funding for therapy due to the crime committed against them. They had a cluster of symptoms indicative of sexual abuse, including nightmares, encopresis, excessive fears, sexualized behavior, depression, dissociation, anger, physical pains, headaches, constipation, and stomach aches. The mother, found by the court to be a good, loving mother and not accused of any crime, has been on supervised visitation since the reversal of custody three years ago. The mother, bankrupt after spending $250,000, must represent herself in court against the father’s attorney. The children’s attorney functions as a de facto attorney for the accused perpetrator.
Contra Costa County
After disclosing molest by her father, this 11-year-old victim and her two siblings were forced to continue overnight, unsupervised visits with the identified perpetrator. The father admitted molesting his daughter and was convicted. Nevertheless, overnight visits were court ordered to continue. In 1997 the five-year-old daughter disclosed molest by the father. Unsupervised visits continued because the court determined the father was not able to pay a supervisor.
El Dorado County
In 1998 this 4-year-old boy was taken from his mother and given to his physically abusive father. He is barred from any contact from his mother.
This little girl, born in 1994, was taken away from her mother when she was a toddler, and placed with her father, despite her on-going disclosures of sexual abuse by the father. She had a cluster of symptoms indicative of sexual abuse including anger, phobias, eating problems, insomnia, constipation, headaches, nausea, regression, terror when her diapers were changed, night terrors, and attention problems. These problems increased when she was placed with the father, but the numerous reports to CPS have been to no avail. The child cries until she vomits when she leaves her mother on week-end visits and is forced to return to the father.
Los Angeles/Orange County (Torrance)
Born in 1988, this little girl was placed in the custody of her mother when she was five years old, seeing her violent father only in the presence of a court monitor. When she was seven, she was forced to see her father without a supervisor, and reported to professionals that he was sexually and physically abusing her. The abuse was corroborated by medical evidence. She had a cluster of symptoms indicative of sexual abuse including nightmares, night terrors, enuresis, encopresis, excessive fears of her mother dying, depression, suicide attempt, eating disorder, extreme dissociation, intense anger, flashbacks, physical pains, headaches, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches, and a learning disability. Rather than protecting her, Judge F. granted primary custody to her father. In Utah, where her mother had moved, physical and sexual abuse was substantiated and she received complete court protection. However, California regained jurisdiction and placed her with the father. The child, now 11, is only able to see her non-offending mother for 8 hours per month under supervised conditions.
These two children, a boy born in 1982 and a girl born in 1984, were in the full custody of their mother who was a victim of domestic violence. In 1989 and 1990, both children disclosed sexual abuse by the father. They had a cluster of symptoms indicative of sexual abuse, including lack of intact hymen, vaginal infections, nightmares and night terrors, enuresis and encopresis, phobias, sexualized behavior, depression, eating disorders, intense anger, headaches, and stomach aches. The mother was charged by the State of Georgia for not protecting the children from the father. The children received California Victims of Crime funding for therapy due to the crimes committed against them. However, in 1990 the California court took the children away from their mother and put them with the father’s family. The mother was placed on supervised visitation. In 1992 the father gained custody and hid the children from their mother. $36,000 back child support owed to the mother was erased, and the court doubled her payments of child support. In 1997 the mother was assaulted and injured in the courthouse by the father, who continued to terrorize her. The mother, a court monitor herself, was chosen “1995 Humanitarian of the Year” by her university.
Los Angeles County Superior Court
Born in 1987, this child began masturbating at school and reported sexual abuse by her father when she was seven years old. The Department of Children and Family Court Services (DCFS) concluded she had been sexually abused. She was placed in the custody of her mother, and saw her father on court-ordered supervised visits. The child repeatedly asked to be placed with her mother and consistently reported sexual molest by her father, even in court. Nevertheless, in she was taken away from her non-abusive mother and placed in the custody of her father on the recommendation of an evaluator. In 1994 DCFS filed another sexual-abuse petition against the father in juvenile court. However, the child remained in the custody of her father, despite having a court-appointed attorney who does not represent the wishes of the child. In 1998, the court cut off her off from all contact with her non-offending mother. Currently this severely learning-disabled child is allowed to see her mother only twice a week under supervised conditions. The mother is now bankrupt.
Los Angeles/Riverside County (Torrance Superior Court)
This child was raised by her mother who has never been accused of any crime. In 1998 she was taken away from her mother and legal father, and forced to live with a man whom she has continuously stated sexually abused her. She is allowed no contact with her mother, who has tried unsuccessfully to protect her.
Los Angeles County
This two-year-old girl disclosed sexual abuse by father, and was given to identified abuser. The mother is on supervised visits.
These small children were placed in the custody of their mother when they were nearly one and two years old. Their violent father was ordered to take a parenting class. A year later they were taken away from their mother and forced to live with their father. The judge stated he was only interested in the mother’s “alienation” (the mother was breast-feeding), and ignored police reports of the father’s domestic violence and history of DUI’s. The unemployed mother is ordered to pay child support of over $1200 per month to the multi-millionaire Israeli father (who obtained a green card through their marriage). The toddlers are being raised to speak only Hebrew and are only allowed scant contact with their mother, who cannot afford an attorney.
Born in 1990, this child made graphic disclosures of rape by his father, including group sex, to physicians, therapists, and detectives. He had a cluster of symptoms indicative of sexual abuse including sexualized behavior, depression, suicide attempt, eating disorder, extreme dissociation, intense anger, physical pains, headaches, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches, learning disability and attention problems. CPS did not protect him. The child’s attorney did not represent the child’s wishes. Despite saying that he wanted to live with his mother, he was forced to live with his identified perpetrator who then moved to Boston. He is rarely allowed to see his mother, and only with a supervisor.
Born in 1989, this child was taken from his mother after he disclosed that his father beat him when he was 4 years old. There was medical evidence of abuse. The child had a cluster of symptoms indicative of sexual abuse, including sexualized behaviors, depression, intense anger, nightmares and night terrors, headaches, stomach aches, bladder problems and enuresis, diarrhea, phobias, and attention problems. The boy stated he wanted to live with his mother, and instead was forced to live with his father. The child’s attorney does not represent the wishes of the child. The non-offending mother has spent approximately $85,000 and must represent herself in court.
Los Angeles (Long Beach and Concord)
This four-year-old child lived with his mother and 3 brothers in Long Beach after his parents separated in 1997. When the mother decided to move to Northern California, the judge ordered the child delivered to Southern California every week for visits in 1998. An evaluator recommended a change of custody to the father, despite the mother complying with the visitation schedule.
This little girl reported sexual abuse, corroborated by 4 medical reports, by her father who physically abused and choked her mother unconscious. She was placed in the custody of her mother, a bank vice president, and saw her father only under supervised conditions. The father threatened and stalked them until the mother and child took refuge in a battered women’s shelter. The child was forced to visit her father without supervision, and was subsequently re-abused. Her mother was court-ordered not to take her to the doctor. The mother fled with her daughter to Europe in 1992, because she could not obtain protection for the child through California family law court. They were found 1½ years later, and the child was placed in the full custody of her father. Her mother went to prison for depriving the father visitation, is prohibited from contacting her daughter, and is ordered to pay the father $65,000 in restitution.
In 1997, these five- and six-year-old brothers were taken away from their mother, amid allegations that the mother deliberately kept the youngest child sick. The five-year-old was subsequently hospitalized when the father did not take care of his illness. The father threatened suicide at the hospital, and had to be subdued, disarmed and taken to a psychiatric hospital by police. Subsequently, the boys were placed in foster care. The five-year-old, who suffered from a rare blood sugar disease, became fatally ill and died after social worker and foster parents failed to provide appropriate medical care, in spite of the mother’s pleas. The older boy is forced to live with his father, despite his statement that he wants to live with his mother, and statements by his older sister to CPS about sexual abuse by their father. He is only allowed to see his non-offending mother with a court monitor. The mother has won 3 wrongful death lawsuits against the father and the county totaling over $800,000.
This child, when she was 6 years old, was ripped from her mother’s arms and given into the custody of her father whom she had reported molested her. She begs to come to live with her mother, who has spent several hundred thousand dollars trying to protect her.
Born in 1994, this little girl began disclosing sexual abuse when she was only 1½ years old. She identified her father as the perpetrator. She eventually told a doctor, counselor and school teacher about the abuse. She had a cluster of symptoms indicative of sexual abuse, consisting of nightmares, night terrors, sexualized behavior, enuresis, fear of her father, depression, eating disorder, dissociation, extreme anger, physical pains, headaches, insomnia, nausea, and stomach aches. Despite documentation of the sexual abuse to the court, she is forced to stay unsupervised with her father. The child’s attorney does not represent his client’s wishes. The mother has spent approximately $150,000 trying to protect her child and is now without an attorney. She has not seen her child.
This boy, born in 1990, was placed in the custody of his mother after to his parents divorce, with overnight visits with his father. When he was less than two years old, he began reporting on-going sodomy by his father. He had a cluster of symptoms indicative of sexual abuse, including rectal bleeding, nightmares, night terrors, enuresis, encopresis, sexualized behavior, depression, extreme dissociation, intense anger, flashbacks, physical pains, insomnia, diarrhea, and stomach aches. The child disclosed the abuse to 5 teachers, family physician, therapists, police, family and friends. There were over 62 reports of suspected abuse in 7 years. Child Protective Services investigated and substantiated 7 reports of child sex abuse. The child wrote and talked to the judge, asking to live with his mother and grandmother. Instead, the court repeatedly placed him in the custody of his identified perpetrator. He called 911 for help from his father’s house, and his therapist called the police to help him, and was put into expensive private foster care, rather than with his non-offending mother. He was able to stay with his mother while she was dying. Four months after her death, he was forcibly removed from his non-offending grandmother’s care by armed police. He was placed in expensive foster care again for over six months, and is now forced by Juvenile Court to live with his identified perpetrator permanently. The child’s attorneys did not represent his wishes, and functioned as de facto attorneys for the accused perpetrator.
This child, born in 1986, had nightmares and medical evidence of sexual abuse at age 4 ½ years, and identified her father as the perpetrator. The judge ordered that the father’s new wife supervise the visits. The child again disclosed molestation. CPS and the sheriff’s department placed her in the Children’s Receiving Home. After a 6 month investigation and UC Davis Medical Center examinations, the little girl was placed with her mother, and the father was not allowed visits. During reunification, the therapist recommended unsupervised visits. The mother fled with the child to Canada to protect her from further abuse. They were found after 11/2 years and the mother was put in jail. The child was forced to live with her identified perpetrator and did not see her mother for six years. She is currently being treated for suicide attempts and alcoholism.
These two boys were taken from their mother and given to their father when they were 12 and 15 years old, after they reported that their father abused them and threatened suicide. The father had brutally abused the mother during the marriage. When the boys asked their mother to motion the court to remove their court-appointed attorney who was threatening them, the judge gave guardianship of the boys to that attorney. The children protested being removed from their mother, pleaded with the judge and evaluator, refused to get on the airplane to be sent to another state, and were forced to go to live with the father. The younger child ran away from his father’s home and cannot be found.
These three children reported sexual molestation by the father to numerous professionals. Physical evidence of the abuse was found for all three, and the children had psychological symptoms of nightmares, school phobias, eating disorders, and suicidal ideation. Both parents have equal time with the children due to evaluator recommendations.
In 1996 this 3 ½ year old child, who lived in the custody of her mother, stated she was being touched by her father inappropriately during visits. The recommendation from the mediator was to have supervised visits, but the evaluator denied the molest, did not gather evidence, misquoted parties, and recommended 50/50 custody. The child again disclosed molest. When the judge still refused to provide supervised visits, CPS in another county took the child into protective custody and supervised visits were ordered. However, Sacramento County took jurisdiction and the evaluator said the mother had Parent Alienation. The judge forced both the girl and her brother to live with their father, despite ordering the father to attend anger control classes.
This little boy had speech problems, frequent ear infections and leg pains, nightmares, enuresis, fears and phobias. The mother divorced the physician father (who was in treatment for addiction to pornography) due to his violence and alcohol abuse. During the divorce proceedings, a custody evaluation report was written which the mother was not allowed to see. The father demanded custody of the child. The mother’s attorney said she would lose all parental rights if she did not accede to the demand. She acceded and the child is now allowed to see his non-offending mother only under supervised conditions, despite the child’s statements that his father abuses him.
This child reported sexual abuse by the father to numerous professionals. The child had medical and psychological evidence of sexual abuse, yet was required to visit the father unsupervised, due to evaluator’s recommendations.
This child reported sexual abuse by the father. CPS investigation confirmed the abuse and there was medical evidence of sexual abuse. The child was required to visit the father unsupervised, due to the evaluator’s recommendations.
San Bernardino County
In 1993 this child’s mother divorced her father due to his physical abuse of the child. After a visit with her father, the child reported physical and sexual abuse. There was medical evidence of genital warts, bruises and welts. In 1995 after an evaluation, the mother was ordered to bring the child to court. The court forced the child to live with her identified perpetrator father. After the evaluation was overturned in a peer review, the child was placed half time with her mother. The evaluator did another report in 1997, and again recommended the child be placed with her father. After the child told her mother that she wanted to commit suicide, she was not allowed to see her mother at all. Now she may see her non-offending mother only with a court monitor present.
Born in 1989, this child was placed in the custody of his mother when he was 20 months old. His father had physically abused his mother for 9 years. The child returned from visits with the father with bruises, black eyes, a raw penis, headaches, ear aches, stomach aches and throat infections. At age 4, he had sexualize behavior, masturbation, nightmares, night terrors, enuresis, depression, dissociation, insomnia, nausea, and attention problems. The child tried to jump out of a moving car when he had to return to his father. The evaluator ignored hospital reports and police reports. The court gave full custody to the father in 1995, despite the child’s stated desire to stay with his mother. Four months later he again disclosed sexual abuse to 12 professionals and 3 CPS workers. Nevertheless, the court forced him to remain in his father’s custody, and has denied him any visits with his mother. The mother is now bankrupt.
These seven and ten year old children reported physical and sexual abuse by father. The father received full custody and mother is on supervised visits once per week when she can afford it.
San Diego County
Born in 1987, this child reported sexual abuse to his pediatrician when he was six years old. He had sexualized behavior, fears of his mother dying, depression, flashbacks, physical pains, headaches, insomnia, and stomach aches. He has a medical condition called Williams Syndrome in which his body ages rapidly, but he is younger in many ways than his biological age. In 1988 he and his mother had moved to a battered woman’s shelter due to violence in the home. He stated he wanted to live with his mother, a teacher. Instead he is forced by the court to live with his violent father who had been convicted of DUI and stealing, and is permanently disabled with mental disability. The father moved the child to another state, and sees his mother only a few times per year. The child’s attorney did not represent the child’s wishes.
After a short marriage this child’s parents separated in 1986. Custody of the one year old child was given to the mother. He returned from visits with the father with genital irritation. At age 2 ½ he disclosed genital touching by the father, and at age 3 ½ he displayed sexually precocious behavior to a therapist, and a deep bruise on his genitals. An evaluation was ordered. The evaluator recommended full custody to the father. The mother left the state with the child to protect him from further abuse. 1 ½ years later the mother and child were apprehended. Both old and new abuse evidence was suppressed in court, through the efforts of a social worker. Although there was medical evidence of sexual abuse and evidence of abuse by the father from another victim, full custody was given to the father and the mother was placed on supervised visits. The child continued to disclose abuse. The father moved to another state, and the mother’s visits have been thwarted.
In 1993 this three year old child began to reveal she was sexually abused by her father. The family court refused to consider any evidence of sexual abuse and ordered “molest cannot be an issue in this case”. Unsupervised visits, and later temporary custody with the father, were ordered in 1994. An evaluator recommended that the child be removed from the mother’s house due to “severe parental alienation.” The mother was placed on supervised visits, and is now allowed weekends with the child. The evidence of molest is overwhelming, as testified to by 3 psychologists, a police investigator, an expert in child sexual abuse allegations, tape recordings of the child’s disclosures, sexual acting out, photographs of the father naked with the child on his lap, and medical evidence of labial adhesions. . The attorney for the child does not listen to the child’s wants, but indicates he is doing what is “best” for the child. The police determined probable cause, but the District Attorney declined to prosecute the father. This child ran away from her father’s home.
San Luis Obispo County
Born in 1994, this child disclosed that he was being molested by his father when he was nine years old. He told counselors, CPS, and police, and had symptoms of nightmares, night terrors, enuresis and encopresis, excessive fears of men and anger, sexualized behavior, depression, suicide attempt, eating disorder, dissociation, intense anger, flashbacks, physical pains, headaches, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches. Despite this, the child was taken away from his safe mother and forced to live with his identified perpetrator. He has only been allowed to see his mother a few times with a therapist. The child’s attorney did not represent the child’s wishes. The mother has since died.
The underage mother became pregnant at age 16 by the father, who was then 19 years old. She left shortly after the child was born due to the father assaulting her and threatening her with a knife and a gun. The father continued to stalk and threaten the mother, who obtained a restraining order. In April 1999, the court awarded custody of this little boy, age 4 ½, to the father, stating in a court order, “While the court observes that a change in the minor child’s custody could be detrimental to his development, they must give the father custody due to alienation on the part of the plaintiff.”
These two girls, born in 1987 and 1988, disclosed sexual abuse when they were 4 and 5 years old. The children had a cluster of symptoms indicative of sexual abuse, including sexualized behaviors, excessive fears, depression, eating disorder, dissociation, anger, flashbacks, physical pains, headaches, diarrhea, stomach aches, learning disability and attention deficit problems. They named the father, who is on welfare, as their perpetrator. Many CPS reports were made, yet the children were not protected, and were placed in the custody of the father.
This child, born in 1994, and his older brother and sister, were abused. The child reported to the police and therapist that his uncle sexually abused him. He displayed a cluster of symptoms indicative of sex abuse including nightmares, night terrors, enuresis, encopresis, excessive fears, sexualized behavior, anger, headaches, and insomnia. Two CPS reports were made. The father received custody, and the mother is not allowed to talk to anyone about her concerns.
San Mateo County
Born in 1989, this child was adopted and spent the first 9 years of her life with her stay-at-home mother. The father abused the child and the mother (put a knife to her stomach), and left the marriage several times. In 1995 the couple separated after 30 years of marriage. During supervised visits, the father said he was going to take the child away from her mother. The Special Master, chosen by the father’s attorney, selected the therapist, attorney and evaluator. The evaluation, accusing the mother of parental alienation, was so biased that another evaluator wrote a report stating that it was entirely unprofessional. The child reported that the therapist said she would be taken away from her mother, and increased therapy to 3 to 4 times per week. In 1998 the father received full custody, despite the child’s wish to remain with her mother.. The child has symptoms of depression, anger, dissociation, fear of sleeping, nightmares, night terrors, headaches, stomach aches, problems urinating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, phobias, regression and learning disability. The mother, now without funds, has to represent herself against the father’s attorney, and is forced to pay child support. She is unable to see her child and cannot afford the cost of supervised visits. The child’s attorney did not represent the child’s wishes. This child ran away from her father’s home, but was forced by the police to return.
These twin boys, born in 1985, lived with their mother after their parents divorced in 1988 due to domestic violence by their father. The father, a convicted, registered sex offender, was convicted of spousal battery. He saw the children under supervised conditions because of the children’s behaviors which were indicative of sexual abuse. He eventually obtained overnight visits. The father’s attorney motioned the court to appoint a Special Master who then gave the father joint custody. The children disclosed sexual abuse, the District Attorney investigated, yet the mother was precluded from presenting evidence of the abuse, or have witnesses testify. The children, ages 11, were then taken away from their mother and forced to live in the full custody of their identified sex abuser against their will, and began to fail in school. The mother, representing herself, managed to remove the Special Master and the children’s attorney, and have the judge recuse himself. However, the children still live with the father. At age 14 they refused to go back to their father’s home. The police forced them to return. At 15, they succeeded in running away from home and returning to their mother.
San Mateo/Merced County
These young girls, born in 1988 and 1990, disclosed sexual abuse by their father in 1993. They reported the abuse to CPS, police investigators, teachers, sheriffs, nurses, physicians, hospital staff, Sunday school staff and friends. They had a cluster of symptoms indicative of sexual abuse, including sexualized behavior, nightmares, night terrors, enuresis, encopresis, excessive fears of their mother leaving, and being with their father, depression, suicide attempt, eating disorder, dissociation, anger, physical pains, headaches, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches, learning disability and attention problems. They were placed in the full custody of their mother, and received Victims of Crime funding for treatment for the crimes committed against them. Two years later, in 1996, they were ordered by the court to see their father for unsupervised visits. On one visit they stated they were brutally raped, and had bruises, labial lacerations and loss of intact hymen. Physical evidence and documents disappeared, the mother was arrested for child abduction despite having custody, and the father was given temporary legal, but not physical custody. However, the father took the children to his home, and has refused to allow the mother to see them.
Santa Clara County
This child, born in 1996, displayed sexualized behavior, eating disorders, depression, dissociation, anger, physical pains, insomnia, stomach aches and attention problems. He disclosed sexual abuse when he was 5 years old and named his father and girlfriend as perpetrators. The father has been convicted of DUIs. The court ordered that the abuse was not to be talked about, and the child was placed in the primary care of his father, despite wanting to live with his mother. The child’s attorney did not represent the child’s wishes.
This child, born in 1990, began having symptoms at age 1 ½. He had nightmares, excessive fears of being taken away from his mother, sexualized behavior, depression, dissociation, anger, headaches, insomnia, stomach aches, and learning disability. When he was eight years old, he had encopresis. He banged his head on tables, and acted out by hitting. He named his father as perpetrator of sexual abuse, and told the police. There is medical evidence of abuse, and 3 or 4 CPS reports. However, based on the evaluator’s report, the court ordered that sole physical custody be given to the father. Despite the medical evidence of abuse, including cigarette burns, and the child’s wishes to be with his mother, he is forced to remain with his father. He has minimal visitation with his mother. The child’s attorney did not represent the child’s wishes.
This child, born in 1993 was in his mother’s sole custody after the parents divorced in 1995. The child had nightmares, night terrors, anger, stomach aches and attention problems. The court accused the mother of “alienation” and changed custody to the father when the child was 2 years old. The mother was placed on supervised visitation.
This child, born in 1993, was taken away from his mother, who was accused of “alienation”. He and his seven and nine-year-old siblings were placed with their father without a custody trial. The Special Master changed the time share to 95% with the father, despite their wishes to remain with their mother. The mother was placed on supervised visitation which she cannot afford, so these children have been unable to see her. The child had depression, eating disorder, anger, physical pains, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches, weight gain and learning disability. The oldest child, who was not moved to the father’s custody, experienced a drastic reduction in symptoms, including asthma, when he stopped seeing the father at age 15.
These two boys, born after their parents’1990 marriage, have dual citizenship (Finnish/ American). Their mother told Finnish authorities about their disclosures of abuse in 1994. She filed for divorce, after experiencing domestic violence. After the boys were placed in joint custody, their mother fled to Finland with them. The father was awarded full custody and the children were returned to the United States.
This child was taken away from her mother and placed in the custody of her father. The court ordered all contact severed with her mother when she was eight years old. The professionals in this case have multiple roles, and were appointed despite the mother not signing an agreement for a special masters as required by law. The first special master then appointed the second, who continued making orders after her term expired, and issued orders without hearings.
This child disclosed that his father beat him with a belt, and described sexual abuse after sexual acting out behavior. After the judge ordered a new evaluator, the special master recommended that the son be taken away from his mother and forced to live with the father, and the daughter be placed in foster care. Despite the lack of written agreement for the special master, she issued a change of custody order to the father, severely limiting the mother’s contact with her children.
This child lived with the mother, who was the main parent. Eventually the father got de facto custody when the child was seven, after the evaluator recommended a reversal of the 60/40 time share.
Although the parents agreed on a living arrangement, the special master ordered an evaluation, and threatened to have custody changed if the mother did not comply with the evaluation. The special master continued acting after her appointment had expired. When mother complained, the court ordered an attorney for child.
This teen-aged girl is forced to live with her step-father, a convicted sex offender.
When she was 4, this child had a vaginal rash, cuts and a discharge. The doctor called CPS which ordered a rape SART exam. The investigation concluded the abuse allegations were unfounded, despite the child’s comments and later she had another rash. This time, the mother was accused of “parental alienation syndrome” and the mother lost custody. She can only see her mother every other weekend. Now she is seven years old and cries when she has to return to her father. She wants to know if someday she gets to decide where she gets to live.
This child reported sexual abuse by the father who was stalking the mother. When the mother called the police about the stalking, the boy was taken from his mother by the police and immediately placed with his father. He is only allowed to see his mother under supervised conditions. He continues to disclose sexual abuse through his sexualized behavior.
Case Study Review
From the above sample of cases, a pattern is evident:
A young child discloses sexual and/or physical abuse by the father to a variety of professionals and community members.
The abuse is corroborated by medical and/or psychological factors.
Many of the children receive Victims of Crime funding for therapy
The mother may have been battered by the father.
The police do not arrest and the District Attorney does not prosecute the accused offender.
CPS does not investigate incest cases thoroughly.
CPS does not protect the children, even after multiple reports.
The accused offender files for custody of his alleged victim.
Professionals are appointed by the family law court. These professionals often take on multiple roles in cases. All enjoy a high standard of living because of the litigation.
Certain individuals are repeatedly appointed.
Many of the professionals fail to make mandated suspected child abuse reports, even when the child directly discloses abuse to them.
The court-appointed custody evaluator ignores or minimizes domestic violence and child abuse, and recommends the child be placed with the identified abuser.
The court-appointed attorney for the child does not represent his/her client’s wishes regarding placement, and often functions as a de facto attorney for the accused perpetrator.
Special Masters, mental health professionals with powers of a judge, are untrained in the law, yet are given authority to make binding orders on cases.
Evidence of abuse and witnesses for the child are not admitted into the family law court.
The child is not allowed to speak to the judge, or his/her wishes are ignored by the court.
The mother who is trying to protect the child, is accused of alienating the child from the father.
After months or years of litigation, the mother becomes bankrupt and must represent herself.
The child is placed in the unsupervised or full custody of the identified perpetrator.
The protective mother is placed on supervised visitation or not allowed contact with the child
The child pleads to remain with the safe parent, but is taken, sometimes by police force, back to the identified abuser.
Child Abuse: Educator’s Responsibility
Crime and Violence Prevention Center
California Attorney General’s Office
Bill Lockyer, Attorney General
INDICATORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE
Indicators of sexual abuse can surface through a child’s history, physical symptoms and behavior. Some of these indicators, taken separately, may not be symptomatic of sexual abuse. They are listed below as a guide and should be examined in the context of other factors.
The single most important indicator is disclosure by the child to a friend, classmate, teacher, friend’s mother or other trusted adult. The disclosure may be direct or indirect, e.g., “I know someone…” or “What would you do if…?” or “I heard something about somebody…” It is not uncommon for the disclosure by children experiencing chronic or acute sexual abuse to be delayed. Children rarely fabricate these accounts; they should be taken seriously.
The child wears torn, stained, or bloody underclothing.
Knowledge that a child’s injury/disease (vaginal, trauma, sexually transmitted disease) is unusual for the specific age group.
Knowledge of a child’s history of previous or recurrent injuries/diseases.
Unexplained injuries/diseases (parent/caretaker unable to explain reason for injury/disease); there are discrepancies in explanation; blame is placed on a third party; explanations are inconsistent with medical diagnosis.
A young girl is pregnant or has a sexually transmitted disease. Pregnancy of a minor does not, in and of itself, constitute the basis of reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse.
Sexually transmitted disease.
Genital discharge or infection.
Physical trauma or irritation to the anal/genital area (pain, itching, swelling, bruising, bleeding, lacerations, abrasions), especially if injuries are unexplained or there is an inconsistent explanation.
Pain during urination or defecation.
Difficulty in walking or sitting due to genital or anal pain.
Psychosomatic symptoms (stomachaches, headaches).
Sexual Behaviors of Children
Detailed and age-inappropriate understanding of sexual behavior (especially by younger children).
Inappropriate, unusual or aggressive sexual behavior with peers or toys.
Compulsive indiscreet masturbation.
Excessive curiosity about sexual matters or genitalia (self and others).
Unusually seductive with classmates, teachers and other adults.
Excessive concern about homosexual, especially of boys.
Behavioral Indicators in Younger Children
Enuresis (wetting pants, bed wetting).
Eating disturbances such as overeating, undereating.
Fears and phobias.
Overly compulsive behavior.
School problems or significant change in school performance (attitude and grades).
Age-inappropriate behavior that includes pseudomaturity or regressive behavior such as bed wetting or thumb sucking.
Inability to concentrate.
Sleeping disturbances (nightmares, fear of falling asleep, fretful sleep pattern, sleeping long hours).
Drastic behavior changes.
Frightened of parents/caretaker or of going home.
Behavioral Indicators in Older Children & Adolescents
Clinical depression, apathy.
Overly compliant behavior.
Poor hygiene or excessive bathing.
Poor peer relations and social skills; inability to make friends.
Acting out, running away, aggressive, antisocial or delinquent behavior.
Alcohol or drug abuse.
Prostitution or excessive promiscuity.
School problems, frequent absences, sudden drop in school performance.
Refusal to dress for physical education.
Non-participation in sports and social activities.
Fearful of other things (going outside or participating in familiar activities).
Extraordinary fear of males (in cases of male perpetrator and female victim).
Self-consciousness of body beyond that expected for age.
Sudden acquisition of money, new clothes or gifts with no reasonable explanation.
Suicide attempt or other self-destructive behavior.
Crying without provocation.
Sexual abuse of children within the family, or incest, is the most hidden form of child abuse. In spite of its taboo and the difficulty of detection, some researchers believe it may be even more common than physical abuse. In discussing sexual abuse, incest means sexual activity between certain close relatives, (e.g., parents and children, sibling, grandparents and grandchildren); intrafamilial mean sexual activity between persons in a family setting, (e.g., stepparent, parent’s live-in partner).
In most reported cases, the father or a male caretaker is the initiator and the victim is usually a female child. However, boys are also victims more often that previously believed. Embarrassment and shame often deter children from reporting abuse. The initial sexual abuse may occur at any age from infancy through adolescence.