Misguided DV Groups Back Discredited Battered Mothers Custody ConferenceJanuary 10th, 2011 by Glenn Sacks, MA, Executive Director
The Eighth Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference was held over the weekend in Albany, New York. Several misguided domestic violence advocacy groups, including the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the National Network Against Domestic Violence, co-sponsored the conference. Sadly, this is a prime example of a serious problem afflicting most domestic violence organizations, one which tarnishes the often noble work they do—their consistent failure to recognize and acknowledge false abuse accusations.
For years the Conference, which is also co-sponsored by the National Organization for Women of New York State, has promoted a parade of child custody cases which they use to support their claim that “protective parents” frequently are losing in family court because the courts hand child custody to batterers who employ false claims of Parental Alienation. They advocate reforms which will make it easier to deny fathers shared custody or visitation rights based on unsubstantiated abuse claims.
Fathers and Families does not now nor have we ever denied that there are family court litigants who make false accusations of Parental Alienation, just as there are litigants who make false accusations of domestic violence and child sexual abuse. Certainly there are fathers (and mothers) who have alienated their children through inept parenting, narcissism, drug or alcohol problems, or abuse, and who attempt to shift the blame to their exes by falsely claiming Parental Alienation.
Nonetheless, there is no credible evidence that battering, abusive fathers are being awarded child custody, and this is demonstrated by the extreme trouble that proponents of this view have in producing even a handful of credible cases to support their claims. To this date they have produced one—the Joyce Murphy case in San Diego. There are doubtless others, but not many.
Longtime Fathers and Families supporters will remember that the Battered Mothers Custody Conference was the basis for PBS’ 2005 anti-father documentary Breaking the Silence, which portrayed fathers as batterers and child molesters who steal children from their mothers. We led a massive protest against the film, along with the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. Our protest resulted in PBS agreeing to commission a new film to take a fair look at child custody and parental alienation. That film, called Kids & Divorce: For Better or Worse, aired on most PBS affiliates in September of 2006.
We also exposed Sadia Loeliger, one of the central characters in the film, as a fraud. The filmmakers portrayed her as a heroic mom who had lost custody of her daughter to an abusive ex-husband. We publicly revealed extensive documentation showing that Sadia Loeliger had lost custody because overwhelming evidence led a Tulare County, CA Juvenile Court to conclude she had committed multiple acts of child abuse. Breaking the Silence’s producers were forced to publicly apologize to Dr. Scott Loeliger for the film’s defamatory portrayal of his case, and to obliterate it from any future reproductions of the film.
To read about our protest, click here. To read Dr. Ned Holstein’s detailed analysis of the flaws in the film and the information put forward by the BMCC and other political opponents, click here.
Unfortunately, the Battered Mothers Custody Conference has continued to put forth and promote discredited child custody cases. This year’s lineup of speakers and presenters is a veritable Rogue’s Gallery of dishonest litigants and their attorney/advocate enablers.