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of how the court system operates in general.

Finally, no mother is reported as having been accused of parental alienation even though a section of the report is devoted to ways in which batterers allegedly manipulate the court system.  Thus, this study cannot be used to support the assertion in “Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories” that accusations of parental alienation are commonly used by batterers to gain custody.

The participants were not asked whether they themselves had committed child abuse or intimate partner violence.

Silver, J. G., Mesh, C. M., Cuthbert, C. V., Slote, K., and Bancroft, L. (2004). “Child Custody Determinations in Cases Involving Intimate Partner Violence: a Human Rights Analysis.” American Journal of Public Health, 94(6), 951 – 957.

This document is a recap of the Battered Mothers Testimony Project – Wellesley, now published in a peer-reviewed journal.  The authors are the same, except for one fewer, but only 39 cases are reported, instead of the 40 reported in the original document.  No explanation is offered.  There seem to be minor differences in the incidence of various kinds of abuse from the original document, but the general import is the same.

There is no mention of parental alienation.

The publication states, “It is important that these data be recognized as documentation of a set of issues based on reports of affected individuals (i.e., battered women referred to the project based on their dissatisfaction with family court outcomes or processes) rather than an attempt at definitive research into the prevalence and nature of the types of cases discussed.  Research to answer these critical questions should include a representative sampling of cases, complete review of case files including GAL reports…, judicial findings and transcripts of courtroom statements, and collection of attorney reports.”

Despite the qualifications given above, which are appropriate, other portions of the article use sweeping language in asserting a widely prevalent problem, and the same tone pervades Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories.”  Also, as in the Battered Mothers Speak Out publication, the authors assert that substantiation exists for the claims of domestic violence, yet there is no way for the reader to asses the quality of the alleged substantiation.  As mentioned above, because judges in Massachusetts would be required to write specific findings of fact in order to give custody to someone against whom domestic violence has been alleged, it is puzzling that this obvious source of documentation was not presented in the publication.

American Psychological Association, Violence and the Family. Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family. Published by the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C., 1996.

This document is a self-published monograph, not a book or journal article.  It is 141 pages in length.  It was written by a committee, and it is impossible to know which individual wrote what sections.  The committee was co-chaired by Dr. Lenore E. Walker, a well-known domestic

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