disturbingly to place children (and women) at unnecessary risk. Here again, Meier paints with a broad brush, implying that “entrenched attitudes” are widespread. No citations are offered for this quote.
Prof. Meier also addresses Parental Alienation Syndrome. Here she claims that the American Psychological Association “has rejected it as a clinical phenomenon and states that there is no data to support…” We have already brought to your attention that the APA has stated that “Breaking the Silence” misstates its position on parental alienation syndrome, as Meier does here. In footnote 106, Meier states that in over ten years of litigating custody cases involving alleged batterers, she has “…never experienced a client expressing comparable venom about her abuser, the children’s father.” In other words, she expresses a view so extreme and absolute that it destroys its own credibility. On page 711, she again states that claims of alienation are becoming almost routine in custody cases involving allegations of abuse, but gives no reference.
Meier, J. S. (1993). “Notes from the Underground: Integrating Psychological and Legal Perspectives on Domestic Violence in Theory and Practice.” Hofstra Law Review, 21, 1295-1366.
In this article, Prof. Meier states, “When a father violently attacks a mother…custody courts routinely reject battered women’s claims as fabrications, exaggerations, or irrelevant to the welfare of their children.” The only empirical support she offers for this assertion is in footnote 20, in which she describes one case that occurred in which a judge denied a protection order on the basis that he did not believe the woman’s claim that she feared her husband. Despite this meager foundation, sweeping generalizations are sprinkled throughout.
Cuthbert, C. et al. (2002). Battered Mothers Speak Out. A Human Rights Report on Domestic Violence and Child Custody in the Massachusetts Family Courts. Wellesley Centers for Women. Wellesley, MA
This publication is also known as the Battered Mothers Testimony Project from the Wellesley Center for Women, or BMTP-Wellesley.
This document is a self-published monograph, not a journal article.
Forty self-identified battered mothers participated in four-hour interviews. A criterion for participation was “expressing grievances about family court processes.” Thus, battered women who had no grievances against family court processes were excluded from the study. Participants were “recruited through social service agencies and legal providers.” And, “battered women’s advocates…also contributed significantly to participant recruitment.” “Snowball sampling” (recruiting by word-of-mouth) through participant women was also utilized. This methodology can also be called “cherry-picking,” since it will tend to recruit precisely those subjects who are most likely to confirm the authors’ hypothesis.
On page 8 of the document, the authors state, “The project also makes no claim regarding statistical significance, ability to generalize to a larger population, or the overall extent of