Monthly Archives: January 2016

Batterers’ Advantages in Custody Disputes, Lundy Bancroft

Lundy Bancroft:  Batterers’ Advantages in Custody Disputes

“A batterer who does file for custody will frequently win, as he has numerous advantages over his partner in custody litigation. These include:
his typical ability to afford better representation (often while simultaneously insisting that he has no money with which to pay child support),
his marked advantage over his victim in psychological testing, since she is the one who has been traumatized by the abuse,
his ability to manipulate custody evaluators to be sympathetic to him, and
his ability to manipulate and intimidate the children regarding their statements to the custody evaluator.
There is also evidence that gender bias in family courts works to the batterer’s advantage. (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Study) Even if the batterer does not win custody, his attempt can be among the most intimidating acts possible from the victim’s perspective, and can lead to financial ruin for her and her children.
After a break-up, the abuser sometimes becomes quickly involved with a new partner whom he treats relatively well. Abusers are not out of control, and therefore can be on “good” behavior for extended periods of time – even a year or two – if they consider it in their best interest to do so. The new partner may insist, based on her experience with him, that the man is wonderful to her, and that any problems reported from the previous relationship must have been fabricated, or must result from bad relationship dynamics for which the two parents are mutually responsible. The abuser can thus use his new partner to create the impression that he is not a risk.”

Lundy Bancroft: Understanding the Batterer in Custody Disputes






Maternal Alienation, Ann Morris

“The research project, conducted in 1999 (Morris 1999), discovered that in these cases of alienation, male perpetrators of violence against the women and/or children use an arsenal of strategies to deliberately undermine mother-child relationships. Most often the mother’s intimate partner and the child’s father or step-father, they employ these tactics in a number of different abusive contexts, including domestic violence and child sexual abuse. They use verbal messages and actions to position the mother in a place where children can hate and despise her, can insult and even abuse her themselves, where any action she makes becomes further proof of the statements made about her. These messages do not have to be based on any truth  – their power is built on the commanding way in which they are conveyed, the rhetorical devices they use and the emotional responses they elicit. The messages are propaganda, and work powerfully on children, becoming more authoritative than children’s own experiences of their mother and of their abuse. As they conflict with children’s experiences, these assaults on children’s sense of reality have implications for their later mental health and healing.  

In this campaign against the mother, the alienator manipulates and inscribes upon his victims demeaning stereotypes of women and mothers. Children, coached to copy the abusive behaviour of their father, are likely to form future relationships based on these gendered stereotypes, whereby men are encouraged to use power and violence for their own ends, and women are debased and held responsible for all ills. Whilst painting the mother as unloving, stupid, mad, lying, malicious and monstrous, the father portrays himself as good, rational, victimised, but heroic. As stereotypes have cultural currency, family members, community members and professionals readily adopt these images without much awareness or criticism.  He becomes the ‘poor man’ that we easily sympathise with; the mother becomes ‘the bitch’ we love to demonise.”