Domestic violence (DV) is a serious issue that affects many adults and children and it has a tremendous societal impact as well. While there is so much to be said and done about DV, which I won't attempt to cover all here, I want to share the following with you to spread some awareness, share some info and give some ideas.

[divider] [/divider] My Son Adam's Eagle Scout Project: Women's Shelter Supply Drive

For his Eagle Scout project my son is doing a supply drive for our local women's shelter The Center for Women and Children in Crisis.

See his flyer here about the project and some facts and info about DV .

[divider] [/divider] FREE Workshop: Broken Hearts: Ending Violence, Healing Our Truth

Tuesday, March 13th from 7:00-8:30 pm at the Chainbreaker Foundation

Details here.


[divider] [/divider] 10 Alarming Facts About How Domestic Violence Impacts Kids

See more here on the Makers of Memories site: Ten Alarming Domestic Violence Statistics

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An interesting Facebook thread on DV

Some thoughts on the dynamics and over-lapping issues of divorcing parents, time-sharing, co-parenting, parental rights and domestic violence from a recent Facebook post and comments:

I posted the following on Facebook

Some of you know that I taught the Shared Parenting Class for Divorcing Parents for the State of Utah for over 10 years. Important class as it was designed to reduce conflict in divorce and increase cooperative parenting which has a much better impact on the children who sadly who are too caught in the middle.

Well, tomorrow Utah is voting on HB 107 to improve more shared parenting among fathers and mothers instead of just defaulting to mothers. I am very pro for this for most situations, especially as fathers over the past few decades are engaging more actively in their role as fathers (so glad to see that!). Just so long as women who are fleeing domestic violence/child abuse are fully protected. I know there are always exceptions where children may be better served with one parent over the other or actually out of the custody of either parent in extreme situations and I will always advocate against domestic violence and child abuse situations.

I counseled a woman STRONGLY to not move out of state with her new husband so that her children could have access to their father who was active in their lives (nurturing man, non-abusive). Sadly, she ignored that counsel and minimized how important their father was in their lives. That was 3 years ago and lots of unnecessary conflict and grief has since ensued with the children being the ones who pay the highest price.

For years I have advocated for time-sharing plans that allow the children to have access to both parents as much as possible rather than one parent "winning" the children.

HB 107 is coming up for vote tomorrow and I encourage you to look into it and do what you think best. You can call your Utah State Representative and insist they vote "Yes" for H.B. 107 sponsored by Representative Gage Froerer.

Thanks for listening.

One mother  commented:

When my kids dad and I divorced, we worked out a "nesting plan" where the kids would stay in place and we would go back and forth. That put the burden on us to communicate and to work together and it minimized the impact on our 5 kids.

My reply:

Wow, that's wonderful! I've heard of families doing that and I have even encouraged that, however, few seem to have the maturity/civility to pull that off. Color me impressed. Good for you and good for your kids.

A domestic violence advocate brought up this important concern:

The Utah Domestic Violence Councils opposes this bill as it allows an abusive spouse to further control the victim through the court system. As far as I know, the bill as written does not protect a victim and the children in a domestic violence situation. It is also good to remember that many times, for many reasons, there are not police reports or other documentation of abuse so the courts may not acknowledge the abuse and therefore place kids in a dangerous situations. I am all for dad's rights, but this bills need some major changes.

A father shared this:

I don't see one post/website anywhere on the Internet that shows The Utah Domestic Violence Council opposes the bill. Would you be so kind as to provide that link? I've read H.B. 107. I'm a caring, loving parent that wants to protect not only my children, but create a better world for others as well. The fact is, HB 107 DOES NOT place kids in dangerous situations. It empowers the court to PRESUME joint custody, doesn't force the Court to order it! It allows a parent/party, including the State, to rebut the presumption of joint custody in favor of sole custody. Here's the link to H.B. 107, if there is a place where it puts kids in harms way please let me know. I don't believe it does: http://le.utah.gov/~2012/bills/hbillint/hb0107.htm

The DV advocate replied:
I stand corrected. The UDVC position on the bill is "Watch". The concerns I have heard, and agree with, is it could allow an abusive spouse to further control the victim through the court system. I'm all for joint custody and father's rights.
The father replied:
I totally could see how people could think the bill promotes/allows abuse, yet HB 107, does NOT promote abuse. On the contrary, the current law abuses children by tearing away good parents from them, including extended family. HB 107 supports what's currently in place to protect children from abuse. Bills such as HB 107 have been shown in other States that have enacted similar legislation, to be more healthy for children and society. It promotes focusing on children and reduces selfish parental/lawyer behavior that harms and abuses children. DCFS and many other State agencies along with friends and family will still intervene when unhealthy/violent situations arise and are made known.
The DV advocate replied:
I appreciate the information and the insight. I work in a domestic violence shelter and see some crazy stuff go on in the court system and DCFS. However, I always tell the women I work with that dads have rights and kids need their dads.
I inserted my thoughts:
Thanks for the info and insights everyone. This father and DV advocate are coming from different viewpoints and are  also both very much on the same page and are amazing people who strive to make this world a better and safer place—I am grateful people like both of you are out there! As many of you know I have been an outspoken advocate against all forms of abuse, especially domestic violence (ie., the workshop on the 13th at the Chainbreaker Foundation is about ending violence, and I am helping my son with his Eagle Scout project which is a supply drive for our local women's shelter, the Center for Women and Children in Crisis, and professionally have treated domestic violence perpetrators and victims for years).
As such, I would never support anything that would increase the danger for a woman and her children needing to leave a dangerous controlling man. I had and have the same concerns Colleen and the UDVC have on this (thus the need for "watch" status). At the same time there is a serious imbalance in the law that does not adequately address time-sharing plans and equal custody when there are two willing, engaged and safe parents. This bill may not be THE answer, but I believe it is moving in the right direction SO LONG as we are mindful and careful with issues of safety and protection in cases of abuse and violence.
The father replied:
Agreed Jonathan. As you support protecting women and children, I also in official capacity as a former President and board member for a nonprofit in Southern California was heavily involved with the city of Anaheim and community organizations including the United Way and Eli House to protect children and women in abusive and or troubled situations. I volunteered and devoted years of my life to such things. Advocating for and supporting the protection of children and women was and is critical and dear to my heart. Like you, I would not be supporting anything I felt would endanger children or women! Quite the opposite! That's why HB 107 is critical to support! It promotes a more healthy dynamic for children to thrive.
[divider] [/divider] So... what are YOUR thoughts on these, or other, issues relating to domestic violence?