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Judicial Response to Court-Assisted Child Murders  

Author:  R. Dianne Bartlow, Ph.D..

Source: Volume 10, Number 01, Summer 2017 , pp.7-54(48)

Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly

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In this prodigious coverage of the grisly reality of children who are murdered by their abusive fathers, Professor Dianne Bartlow, Chair of the Department of Gender and Women's Studies at California State University, Northridge, provides an eloquent overview of her interviews with family court judges from 21 states. Ms. Bartlow launched her study in reaction to a jaw-dropping 2011 report that, over a two-year period (2009-2010), 175 children were murdered by fathers who had been accused of domestic violence. The author gives a narrative of the responses given by judges from jurisdictions that had experienced at least one of those child homicides. As you will learn, at least some of these judges had, as a result of these tragedies, developed a more realistic and nuanced understanding of the dynamics underlying male battering as it manifests in child custody cases. Thankfully, some reported their jurisdiction developing enhanced procedures or at least an intention to improve their practices in handling DV cases, so that future recurrences of child murder—which is, of course, the worst imaginable outcome of a child custody cases—could be prevented.

Keywords: Family Court; Child Custody and Domestic Violence; Orders of Protection

Affiliations:  1: California State University, Northridge.

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