Life is busy! I am a part of an upcoming expert speaker panel on human trafficking for Hope PYX (and also won an international book award with them for “Innocent Lives“- awww). The conference is now virtual on October 21st and there is still time to register if you are interested! Check it out here.
I continue to guest on podcasts, as well as interview others.
Recently, I connected with Veronica York, a high-conflict divorce coach (mostly domestic violence) who is co-writing a book with Barry Goldstein, is an expert witness in DV cases and has been crucial in pushing forward two very important laws: The Safe Child Act and Kayden’s Law.
In my day job at ARMS/Abuse Recovery Ministry Services, we have seen way too many children returned to the custody of the abusive parent and over the past several years, 890 children have been killed by that parent after their return. This is atrocious! These laws would allow expert Domestic Violence testimony for the first time and recognize that mental health professionals do not necessarily have the training needed to be DV experts. They would potentially DECREASE the amount of children returned to their abusive parent and also require judge’s training in domestic abuse. One law would also outlaw “reunification camps”, when a child is forced to go to a camp with the offender and “work their issues out” with counselors, groups, activities, etc.
Recently here in Washington County, our Survivor Voices Committee became intensely aware of the lack of judge’s training. We wrote a letter to a committee of judges and attorneys explaining how a survivor acts on the Stand. A survivor, often suffering from PTSD, can be highly agitated, appear “crazy”, have inappropriate emotions at inappropriate times and be highly adversely affected and terrified by having to face their abuser in court, making all of this worse. It is essential that our judges, attorneys and court advocates become more trauma-informed.
Our children’s lives could depend on it!
Now in saying this, Victoria and I both realize that most judges and attorney’s want to do the right thing. “They don’t know what to think,” she shared. “They hear so many sides of the story and aren’t sure what to truly believe. But the ones we meet DO have a good heart and really do want to do the right thing.”
Proverbs 18: 17-24, anyone? 🙂
We were fortunate that our local committee seemed very open to learning more and I can only continue to hope and pray for the same results in other counties. Both these laws would be a large step forward towards where we need to go.