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Abuse and custody disputes: Scientific and Legal Issues

Note: the following references are provided for educational and informational purposes only. The views expressed in a specific article are those of the author or authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Leadership Council.

Scholarly Articles and Reviews

General information on child sexual abuse

Information on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)


Legal and Ethical Issues

On-line Resources

Professional Organizations

  • The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence: Conducts research and educates the public, health professionals and the courts on issues related to abuse including those arising during child custody and assess disputes. The LC submits amicus briefs in key cases involving child abuse and interpersonal violence. If you would like to request an amicus brief for a case click here.

  • The Center for the Protection of Chlldren
    An educational organization, created to help protect children from the dangers of violence in the home.

  • The Center for Judicial Excellence: The Center for Judicial Excellence is a community-based organization established to improve the judiciary's public accountability & strengthen & maintain the integrity of the courts

  • Council for Family Court Reform: A group of concerned professionals, organizations, and individuals committed to ensuring the protection of children in family courts.

  • Child Justice
    Child Justice advocates for abused, neglected and at-risk children failed by systems that should protect them.Services include court watch in MD/VA/DC, emotional support for the protective parent/relative, and referrals to community services.

  • Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Child Protection, and Custody
    P.O. Box 8970
    Reno, NV 89507
    Phone: 800-527-3223
    FAX: 775-784-6160

  • Stop Family Violence
    Stop Family Violence's  mission is to organize and amplify our nation's collective voice against family violence.  SFV is a catalyst for social change - empowering people to take action at the local, state and national level to ensure safety, justice, accountability and healing for people whose lives are affected by violent relationships.
Domestic Violence

Grassroots Organizations for Protective Parents and Their Children

Note: While some of these websites are focused on mothers, however, most offer help and support to both mothers and fathers - the focus is on protecting the rights of protective parents and their children to live free from abuse.

  • Courageous Kids Network ( This website brings together "courageous kids" -- children who have been forced by court order to live with an allegedly abusive parent. A quote from the website: "We, of the CKN, would like to reach out to kids everywhere who are placed in similar situations. We want you to know you are not alone. Because of the current trend in family courts throughout the nation, many of us have experienced and suffered the same issues in our lives. We believe that together our voices can be heard, and that together our voices can make a difference to change the future."

  • Custody Preparation for Mothers ( This website provides practical information for mothers who find themselves in custody disputes.
  • California Protective Parents Association ( Website for the California Protective Parents Association.
  • Illinois Coalition for Family Court Reform ( This group is fighting for family court reform in Illinois.
  • ( This site hosts a national survey and research project to obtain data on the number of protective parents who have lost custody to an allegedly abusive parent. The survey is being conducted by sociologist Dr. Geraldine Stahly. The website also provides practical advice for protective parents involved in a custody case.
  • Mothers Research & Reference Center ( This site offers
    information about Parental Alienation Syndrome, a listing of attorney's and advocates for protective parents, information about progress relating to Bills before different State Legislatures trying to fix the injustices against woman by the Court System, etc.
  • National Coalition For Family Justice ( This is a grassroots, gender neutral, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, founded in 1988 and headquartered in Irvington, New York. CFJ is run by volunteers who are dedicated to promoting justice in marital and family matters and to raising awareness of problems families experience in the divorce and family court system. The CFJ lists chapters in New York, New Hampshire, North Carolina and California as well as contacts in other areas.
  • The National Family Court Watch Project
    The National Family Court Watch Project is dedicated to providing an impartial assessment of the effectiveness of family courts in dealing with custody, visitation, support and property issues. This project focuses on how well child protection and family violence concerns are resolved. 
  • Protective Mothers Alliance International (PMA): An international organization working to bring about change in family court through education, legislation reform,community outreach and enforcement of current legislation. Among the common family law practices PMA seeks to stop are: Custody of children granted to men who abuse women; those who abuse/have abused children; those who are perpetrators of sexual abuse towards children; and the granting of unsupervised contact with children to abusers with no requirement that they overcome their abusiveness.
  • Rhode Island Parenting Project (blog)
    Focuses on the needs of children at risk in Family Court custody cases.
  • The people's voice for family peace. Stop Family Violence is a national grassroots organization with a mission to organize and amplify our nation's collective voice against family violence.
  • CA3 -Children Against Court Appointed Child Abuse

Find a Broken Link? Have a New One to Suggest? Contact Us


What's New

Toby G. Kleinman & Philip Kaplan. (2016). Relaxation of rules for science detrimental to children. Journal of Child Custody, 13:1, 72-87.

Troubled Family Courts and Child Sexual Abuse (available for download)
February 11, 2014
Dylan Farrow recently wrote an open letter to The New York Times detailing alleged abuse by Woody Allen when she was 7-year-old. Allen fired back in an open letter of his own this weekend.  The circumstances in their public family drama isn't new to many.  Kathleen spends the hour with two experts on family law and child sexual abuse discussing the troubled system that is supposed to protect victims.

Parental Alienation: Research Review

Preparing for a Custody Evaluation: A Guide for Victims of Domestic Violence

Leadership Council survey on custody and abuse now available
This survey is for parents who are having difficulty safeguarding their children from abuse because of custody issues.
Take the survey

An Introduction to Domestic Violence by Proxy

Special Issue of the Journal of Child Custody: Domestic Violence Issues in Child Custody

Video - Battered Mothers Custody Conference interviews
Interviews with mothers who lost custody of their children to a father alleged to be an abuser.

Alaska Trial Court Provides Government-Financed Right to Counsel to Parent in Child Custody Case in Which Opposing Parent Has Private Counsel

Radio Interview: Oct 09, 2006 - - Retired Judge Sol Gothard and nationally renowned attorney Richard Ducote talk with Lisa about custody law and policy involving protective parents, child abuse, the Leadership Council, and more.