Publications Lisa Fischel-Wolovick
The Experience of Domestic Violence Survivors in the US Family Courts: Gender Bias in the Court
The International Journal of Forensic Psychotherapy , Vol. 3(1). Special Issue: Gendercide - Gender Divide

August 2021.

There is a significant body of research on gender bias against women in the family courts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, battered women’s vulnerability to domestic violence increased on a global level as women experienced a significant increase in the severity of abuse. The problems of gender bias and the treatment of battered women and their children have a long-history of human rights’ abuses. In particular, battered mothers have been the focus of gender biased theories of parental alienation, used as a defense against claims of abuse and child maltreatment, despite a lack of empirical validity and acceptance. Additionally the family courts in the United States are closed to the public and as a result there is a lack of transparency and accountability. A large-scale national study revealed that many supporting mental health professionals who provide custody evaluations lack a formal graduate education in domestic violence and child maltreatment. Furthermore, legislative presumptions that favor joint legal custody in custody decisions and requirements of co-parenting, fails to take into consideration the long-term public health risks of such chronic traumatic exposure. Finally, this presentation will address needed systemic reforms that include increased transparency, long-term court-monitoring, and supporting mental health professionals with formal graduate education in trauma, child development, and abuse, to promote resilience in vulnerable families.
Lisa Fischel-Wolovick, Esq.
5911 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, New York 10471
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email: LFW@wolovicklaw.com
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