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         Case Studies


New Organization, CKN

We are currently involved in supporting a new organization called the Courageous Kids Network (aka CKN). This growing group was formed by, and consists of some of the older children whom have been caught in the middle of destructive custody battles, many of whom have recently been able to free themselves from court-ordered abusive situations.

They are joining together now to educate, speak out, and work toward bringing forth a change for children nationwide.

Click here for a letter by our director, Karen Anderson, introducing CKN and requesting your support for this moving group of very "Courageous Kids."

The CKN's first speaking engagement prompted a standing ovation for their powerful and moving testimonies at the Tenth Annual Northern California Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Conference. They have been asked to speak at the Ninth International Conference on Family Violence in San Diego on September 20, 2004 and are now in need of donations (which can be made through CPPA) to cover their expenses for that upcoming engagement.

New Bill

AB 2652. An act to add Section 69520 to the Government Code, relating to courts, and making an appropriation therefor.

AUTHORS: Assembly Members Chu and Cohn
COAUTHORS: Assembly Members Alquist, Aroner, Bates, Chavez, Corbett, Diaz, Jackson, Koretz, Liu, Longville, Robert Pacheco, Strom-Martin, & Vargas;
Senators Kuehl & Romero

Existing law establishes the jurisdiction of superior and municipal courts, as specified. Existing law also prohibits acts of domestic violence, as defined, and provides both civil and criminal sanctions for acts of domestic violence.

This bill would establish the California Domestic Violence Court Task Force, to be composed of 11 members, as specified, and to be staffed and coordinated by the Judicial Council. The bill would set forth the goals and duties of the task force, as specified, which would have as its primary mission the creation of a set of model guidelines for establishing and operating domestic violence courts throughout the state. The bill would require the task force, by March 1, 2004, to submit its report and recommendations for model guidelines to the Judicial Council, and, at the same time, submit the report and recommendations to the Legislature. These provisions would be repealed on January 1, 2005, unless a later enacted statute that is enacted before that date extends of deletes that date.

The bill would appropriate $100,000 from the General Fund to the Judicial Council for those purposes.
Appropriation: yes.


SECTION 1. Section 69520 is added to the Government Code, to read:
(a) There is hereby established in the judicial branch the "California Domestic Violence Court Task Force," which shall be staffed and coordinated by the Judicial Council.

(b) The task force shall be composed of 11 voting members who shall be appointed, as follows:
  1. Six members appointed by the Chief Justice of California
  2. Two members appointed by the Governor
  3. One member appointed by the Attorney General
  4. One member appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules
  5. One member appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly
(c) Members of the task force shall include judges with experience hearing domestic violence matters in criminal, civil, family, and juvenile courts, representatives of probation departments, advocates on behalf of domestic violence victims and children exposed to domestic violence, public and private attorneys who specialize in domestic violence matters, and domestic violence experts. It is the intent of the Legislature that advocates against domestic violence have a strong presence on the task force.

(d) The primary mission and responsibility of the task force shall be to create a set of model guidelines for establishing and operating domestic violence courts in this state. In carrying out this responsibility, the task force shall do all of the following:

  1. Assess current available information relating to domestic violence courts, including the report of the Judicial Council issued pursuant to Section 6390 of the Family Code, and studies of domestic violence courts conducted by the National Center for State Courts. The task force shall assess domestic violence court models in this state and other states.

  2. Evaluate and describe the best practices adopted for the operation of domestic violence courts in this state and in other states, from both a substantive and a procedural prospective, with particular emphasis on how each model will ensure the safety of, and support for, domestic violence victims and their children.

  3. Examine, by sampling methodology, the following data elements with the goal of assessing who is being served by existing domestic violence courts and which models appear the most successful:

    (A) How domestic violence courts define and rate their success and the factors these courts use to determine their success rate.

    (B) The percentage of cases involving formal criminal charges, types of crimes charged, conviction rates, sentencing data, judicial oversight mechanisms, recidivism, and probation requirements.

    (C) The percentage of cases involving civil and family law issues, including custody, dissolution, support and other financial issues, and restraining orders.

    (D) The percentage of cases involving Child Protective Services or the juvenile court system.

    (E) In addition to creating model guidelines for domestic violence courts, the task force shall make recommendations for policies and procedures for the appropriate and effective handling of domestic violence matters for all courts that adjudicate domestic violence matters outside of a domestic violence court.

    (F) The task force shall, on or before March 1, 2004, submit its report and recommendations for model guidelines to the Judicial Council for adoption, and shall at the same time submit the report and recommendations to the Legislature.

    (G) For purposes of this section, "domestic violence" means any act described in Section 6211 of the Family Code. "Domestic violence court" has the same meaning as provided in Section 6390 of the Family Code.

    (H) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2005, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2005, deletes or extends that date.

Interaction with CA Judicial Council

Click on the links below to view the PDF documents:

Current Events

The Annual Northern California
Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Conference

Click here to see details

Past Events & Acomplishments

Click here to see information on our past
Annual Northern California Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Conferences

March 20, 2003 Seminar

California Protective Parents Association hosted a seminar with Lundy Bancroft, author of The Batterer As Parent, and Geraldine Stahly Ph.D., professor at California State University San Bernardino on Thursday March 20, 2003 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

The seminar, titled "Courts Cause Crisis for Kids: Batterers Teach Their Children Lessons in Violence" was designed to educate legislators and advocates about the damage done to children who live with battering parents and the frequency in which the courts place children at risk. The event was attended by approximately 40 participants, including legislative aides and advocates for battered women and children. The United States had just begun the violent invasion of Iraq, and the topic was a timely reminder that violence in our families mirrors violence in our international family.

Mr. Bancroft spoke eloquently about his experiences treating batterers, and the eerie ability of batterers to turn truth upside down, framing themselves as victims despite clear evidence of their own aggression and greater physical strength. Being in the unsupervised custody of a batterer keeps a child in a constant state of fear, which impedes healing from the trauma of having received, observed, or known about violence in the family.

He spoke of research showing that batterers are six (6) times more likely to commit incest. Their sense of power, control, domination, entitlement and ownership leads to this damaging outcome for a large number of children of batterers.

Mr. Bancroft made the point that the current family court structure frequently places children at significant risk and this must be changed.

Geraldine Stahly Ph.D. described her research on domestic violence and the lack of progress protecting children in custody disputes, despite the good new laws that have been passed in recent years. Her current on-going research is based on a national survey project sponsored by California Protective Parents Association and Our Children Our Future Charitable Foundation. The preliminary survey data portrays a chilling pattern of legal, civil, and human rights violations.

The data will be posted in the near future on this website. To complete a survey, please go to www.mothers-of-lost-children and download a copy.

Meeting with California Judicial Council
On Wednesday, December 11, 2002, the directors of five California organizations (California Protective Parents Association, California NOW, California Alliance Against Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley, and Child Abuse Solutions, Inc.) met with the California Judicial Council in San Francisco to discuss the abject failure of family court to protect children in custody disputes.

The coalition task force members made three primary requests:

1. To have the opportunity to present the scope of the problem to the Chief Justice, Judicial Council, and Commission on Judicial Performance at a public hearing

2. To have a policy statement from Judicial Council regarding how family court cases are to be handled by the courts, and

3. To have the Judicial Council assist in a variety of legislative solutions, including a Crimes Against Children Review Panel.

The Judicial Council was open to suggestions for working together and future meetings are anticipated. We look forward to collaboration on methods to improve the decisions made by family courts to ensure the safety of children.

On April 7, 2002 the Incest Survivors Speakers' Bureau and California Protective Parents Association cosponsored the Eighth Annual Northern California Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Conference TRAUMA AND RECOVERY in Davis, California, moderated by Laurie Jones JD MBA.

An award was presented to Yolo County Supervisor Lois Wolk for her role in developing a Mulit-Disciplinary Interview Center in Yolo County.

Keynote speaker Vincent Felitti MD from San Diego Kaiser Permanente gave a memorable talk which resulted in not one, but two standing ovations.

His subject was the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study. He and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted this study with the help of 17,421 adult Kaiser Health Plan members. The research found a strong, graded relationship between 8 categories of adverse childhood experiences and the leading causes of health risks and mortality in adulthood. The data was accurate to p=.001.

The study did not examine the age of onset, severity or chronicity of the negative events, only whether the events had occurred in a child's life. The findings of the research were as follows:

The more categories of the following experiences a child endures:
  1. recurrent physical abuse
  2. recurrent emotional abuse
  3. sexual abuse
  4. living in a household where a person is a substance abuser
  5. living in a household where a person has a mental illness
  6. living in a household where there is a person who is in prison
  7. living in a household where the mother is battered
  8. losing a parent

...The more likely the adult is to have:
  1. smoking
  2. alcoholism
  3. drug abuse
  4. obesity
  5. 50+ sexual partners
  6. poor occupational performance
  7. depression
  8. suicide attempts
  9. lung disease
  10. heart disease
  11. hepatitis
  12. diabetes

For an example, a person with 4 categories of adverse childhood experiences is 1220% more likely to attempt suicide than a person with 0 categories. The study found that 2/3 of suicide attempts could be attributed to adverse childhood experiences.

A male who experiences 6 categories of adverse childhood experiences has a 4,600% increase in the likelihood of later using intravenous drugs.

The importance of this data cannot be overstated. It has widespread implications for public policy, health care, and treatment on all levels.

Further information can be found at www.kp.org/permanentejournal.org, "The Relation Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Health: Turning Gold into Lead" by Dr. Vincent Felitti and "Dear Doctor" by Anonymous in the Winter 2002 journal.

This difficult information was balance by a powerful, hopeful presentation on a photography book project by Carolyn Lehman. Her book will document the lives of incest survivors spanning many different ages and ethnicities who are engaged in the healing process. The photographs of these survivors were on display at the conference, as were the four Survivor Quilts. Quilt squares were designed by incest and ritual abuse survivors during the past 6 years, and have been beautifully quilted by local artists.

A well-attended dance and movement workshop by Patricia Ehnisz ADTR, MCAT was held by during lunch.

Legislative Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse director Melissa Knight-Fine gave an update on California laws designed to protect children, including mandatory suspected child abuse reporting laws for clergy, and training and standards for custody evaluators (CA Family Law Sections 3044, 3110.5 and 3118 can be found at www.leginfo.ca.gov).

The award-winning documentary "Small Justice" by Garland Waller was shown, followed by a presentation by California Protective Parents Association Executive Director Karen Anderson who described a chilling case history of a young boy who was placed with his identified rapist father by family and juvenile courts, despite consistent disclosures of sodomy by the child for 7 years, 3 positive MDIC interviews, and 7 substantiated child protective services reports.

The final panel consisted of 6 survivors who had experienced at least 6 of the categories of adverse childhood experiences. All were survivors of ritual abuse, which can be viewed as a specific form of clergy abuse. These survivors demonstrated that healing is possible even under the most adverse conditions, with effective trauma treatment. The conference ended with a beautiful duet by two local women.