The 13th Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference
BMCC XIII: Custody Litigation, Trauma, and Recovery
May 4th, 5th, and 6th, 2018
The Radisson Hotel, 205 Wolf Road, Albany, New York 12205
Now taking reservations - call 877-231-0717 and ask for the special BMCC room rate of $103
Battered Women, Abused Children, and Child Custody:
"A National Crisis"
PRESENTER'S WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS AND BIOS
Ben Atherton-Zeman Voices of Men
Keynote: Performance to End Men’s Violence Against Women
“Voices of Men” uses humor and celebrity male voice impressions to
educate audiences about domestic violence and sexism. Ben has
performed this play in 46 states, Canada, England, Scotland, Spain,
South Africa, India, Nepal and Turkey. Trigger warning for simulated
violence in video clips.
Workshop: 20 Second Self-Care: You Deserve More, but at least do this!
Ideally, our self-care should be a main focus, given all we’ve been
through! Realistically, that’s not always possible. For those times
when time is limited, this workshop will teach you how to work
self-care into daily activities that you already do. Ben is an admin
on the “Self-Care for Advocates” Facebook page – this is the first
time he’s facilitated this workshop. Please bring your favorite
self-care activities to share.
Ben Atherton-Zeman is a public speaker and comedic performer on issues of violence prevention. He has given performances and keynotes in 46 states,
Canada, England, Turkey, China, South Africa, India, Nepal, Scotland,
Spain and the Czech Republic. Ben has spoken and performed at
military installations, colleges, high schools, public theatres,
conferences, houses of worship and juvenile detention facilities.
For almost thirty years, Ben has worked as a prevention educator for
rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs, and state coalitions.
He is an advisory board member for the White Ribbon Campaign in the
United Kingdom and a blogger for Ms. Magazine.
Ben is learning how to use Twitter, and occasionally tweets as
@feministben. He’s trying to popularize the hash tag
#menlistentowomen. Ben identifies as a “recovering sexist”* and
believes every man must challenge violence and sexism in theworld and
in themselves. He met and fell in love with his incredible wife,
Lucinda, eighteen years ago while they were both doing improvisational
comedy - they live in Maynard, Massachusetts and have no children
For information about Ben’s one-man play, “Voices of Men,” please go
Body, Breath and Mind Connections: Self-care and peer support for
healing from trauma
Whether we experience trauma directly or witness the experience of
others, traumatic experiences get stored in our bodies. This workshop
will offer an introduction to different practices (ie. yoga,
meditation, mindfulness, writing, drawing and drumming) that we can
engage in for self-reflection. Through such practices we cultivate
greater awareness to address stresses and reduce their impact.
Research shows the benefits of therapeutic drumming and yoga but that
doesn’t mean these are the only ways to heal. What are the practices
you are passionate about? Bring them and we’ll share as peers. We’ve
all got stresses to release and heal!
Joanna Barr, Ed.D.
Improving Resilience for IPV Survivors through Structured Group Journaling
This workshop will introduce advocates and survivors to a journaling
group intervention that I developed for IPV survivors. In my
dissertation research, participants in this program described various
emotional, cognitive, and social benefits. Furthermore, compared to a
control condition, participation in this program improved survivors’
depression symptoms to a clinically meaningful degree. In this
one-hour workshop, participants will receive instructions and
materials to run an eight-week journaling group and gain online access
to background information and research results. We will engage in one
session of the journaling group together and discuss ways to implement
the program in other agencies and settings.
Joanna Barr, Ed.D. is an IPV survivor and teaches college courses in psychologyand early childhood education. She recently completed the Doctorate ofEducation in Language Arts and Literacy at the University of
Massachusetts Lowell. She used the graduate program as a “coping
project” while embroiled in court battles, and she hopes that other
survivors will gain strength and encouragement from journaling and
Lisa Fischel Wolovick
Creating a Trauma-Informed Judicial Response to Domestic Violence and
The model criminal courts have provided long-term
monitoring, an informed judiciary, mental health and substance abuse
treatment support to decrease recidivism. Gender bias in the family
courts, disagreement about the definitions and prevalence of domestic
violence, have created an atmosphere in which battered women and their
children are retraumatized during custody litigation. Model courts
addressing child custody must provide a trauma-informed response to
domestic violence that includes mental health support, a trained
judiciary, long-term supervised visitation programs and a commitment
to prevention of harm to children and battered mothers to protect
public health and safety.
Lisa Fischel-Wolovick, JD, MSW is an attorney who has represented
battered women for almost thirty years. She is also the author of
numerous publications including her recent book: Traumatic Divorce and
Separation, to be published by Oxford Univ. Press, in March 2018. She
helped to organize the first Criminal Court that specialized in
domestic violence. Before becoming an attorney, she obtained her
master’s in social work and worked in hospital social work which
included advocacy and counseling for battered women. Ms.
Fischel-Wolovick is currently teaching courses in Family Violence and
Child Maltreatment at the City University of New York, in John Jay’s
Graduate Program in Forensic Psychology, and has been a panelist in
domestic violence, child custody, and trauma.
Dealing with Strategies to Break Impenetrable Custody
The FCVFC has repeatedly met Protective Parents whose children are
“legally” isolated by authorities, under the total control of their
abuser. Attempts to provide a voice to the victims through legal
counsel may be equally thwarted where counsel is weak and ineffective.
If children are allowed to speak in an in camera interview, if the
judge does not take action on their testimony, there is no
intervention, this is another example of legal impenetrability through
isolation “ No Cause of Action, No Standing to Sue” is a statement of
legal standing that halts too many Protective Parents and their
representatives. The inability to pry children from the hands of a
known abuser, where clear and convincing evidence is repeatedly
repressed and suppressed by the court is an experience of consequences worthy of many Doctoral Dissertation studies.
The FCVFC has been aggressively studying, pursuing interventions and
the elements of intervention that lead to successful release of
children from their “Predator In Possession”.
Don't Be Bullied Out of Your Parental Rights
Alan will talk about how to avoid the pitfalls of the family court
system; to not be bullied by your adversary’s attorney; and how to
take control of your case and protect your rights.
Adult Children Exposed to Domestic Violence (ACE-DV): Changing the conversation
A project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, the
Adult Children Exposed to Domestic Violence (ACE-DV) Leadership Forum
was established to amplify the voices and experiences of ACE-DV to
enhance our work to end domestic violence. This innovative project is
looking to shift the paradigm from deficit to growth – supporting the
development of trauma-informed, culturally responsive, asset-based
policies and practices that enhance resilience capacity in those who
experience childhood trauma.
Casey Keene is the Director of Programs & Prevention, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. She has served in various roles at NRCDV since 2001, where she provides programmatic oversight to the technical assistance, training and resource development initiatives of the Programs & Prevention
Team. Casey provides leadership to key initiatives including
PreventIPV and VAWnet, two premier online resource libraries offering
tools for preventing and responding to gender-based violence.
Specializing in issues related to children’s exposure to domestic
violence, Casey co-leads the Adult Children Exposed to Domestic
Violence (ACE-DV) Leadership Forum and provides national level
technical assistance and training on childhood trauma and resilience.
Casey is a Licensed Social Worker and graduate field instructor who
earned her Master’s in Social Work from Temple University and has been
active in the movement to end domestic violence for over 16 years.
Custody Litigation, Trauma, and Recovery
Being involved in prolonged Custody Litigation. Helpful hints of how
to survive the litigation. Moving into the Trauma that every women has
had to endure when you have domestic violence, and child abuse in your
case. Being re-traumatized by family court system that is failing to
protect you and your children. How to best get through this nightmare
and survive. What the Recovery can look like.
Maralee McLean is an activist, child advocate, domestic violence
expert, national professional speaker, and author of PROSECUTED BUT NOT SILENCED: Courtroom Reform for Sexually Abused Children.
She has written several articles for the ABA Child Law Journal, Women’s E-Newsand other publications on the problems of family courts not protecting abused children. Maralee is with Women’s Media Center (WMC),
SheSourceExpert, NPEIV (National Partnership to End Interpersonal
Violence) and is with APB speaker bureau and RAINN speaker bureau. She
speaks at conferences, law schools and is a spokesperson for
protective mothers working everyday for protective mothers and their
children. Her passion for advocacy developed through living a mother’s
worst nightmare. Fighting the system with body and soul, she gained
the insight that this was not her nightmare alone. She organized a
National Rally of Mothers at the Colorado State Capitol and has been
involved in legislative work that spans over two decades. She
testified before Congress to promote judicial accountability to better
protect sexually abused children’s rights in our courts. Maralee’s
story has been covered by many media outlets and internationally on
How Constitutional equality for women can help restore justice in the family courts
Children and the Spectrum of Coercive Control
Coercive control is a spectrum that targets all family members is
always there. Terms like “witnessing” and “exposure” mistakenly imply
that children’s experience of partner abuse is passive and static
rather than active and engaged. This Workshop is designed to share
stories that illustrate how our children sustain their autonomy and
dignity in coercive control situations, colluding, complying,
refusing, resisting and escaping in ways that are no less nuanced,
complex, self-conscious or strategic than the responses of adult
victims. Putting children’s agency at the center of how we understand
their experience of male partner abuse changes how we listen and work
with them in all settings.
Evan Stark is a sociologist and forensic social worker who has
been working at the interface of feminist activism, child welfare,
health research and justice reform since he and his wife Anne
Flitcraft, MD helped found one of the earliest Shelters for battered
women in l970's. His prize winning book Coercive Control: How Men
Entrap Women in Personal Life (Oxford, 2007) helped stimulate the new
crime of "coercive and controlling behavior" throughout the United
Kingdom and helped broaden the conversation in the United States. His
new book "What about the Children?" documents the many ways that
abusive partners coercively control children and how children respond,
holding that it is imperative to treat coercive control as a spectrum.