Updated 4/9/2018

Friday, May 4th

Friday Morning 10:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.   Main Session

10 a.m.- 10:30 Opening Address and Greetings

Mo Hannah, Ph.D., Chair

Ruth Glenn, President and CEO, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (by Skype)

10:30 – 11:15  Keynote Address:  Toby Kleinman, Esq., attorney and author:  Custody Litigation, Trauma, and Recovery
     Toby, author of Domestic Abuse, Child Custody, and Visitation:  Winning in Family Court, will discuss winning strategies for custody litigation and the use of the language of trauma in court versus the cause of trauma to pursue child protection in family court.   She will also discuss new ways to think about recovery.  Her talk will engage the protective parent to rethink traditional litigation styles and to recognize trauma as experienced by the child as a reaction to abuse in order to pursue protection rather than attempting to prove the cause or guilt of a perpetrator.

11:15 - 12:00 Panel Presentation: National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS):  Barry Goldstein, Ben Atherton-Zeman, David Green, Randy Weled, Moshe Rozdial, and Allan Corben
     NOMAS council members will talk about who they are and the work they do with a special emphasis on child custody issues and our willingness to be a man's voice challenging the false narratives that come from the abuser rights groups. 

Friday Afternoon 12:15 – 2:30 p.m.   Main Session

12:15 – 1:30   Working Lunch and Keynote Address:  Lisa Fischel-Wolovick, J.D., MSW, attorney and author: Traumatic Divorce and Separation: The impact of Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse in Custody and Divorce    
     Lisa will be discussing her new book, Traumatic Divorce and Separation: The Impact of Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse in Custody and Divorce, published by Oxford University Press in March 2018.  She noted the empirical weaknesses of the theory of high conflict divorce, which places blame on both parents.  As a result, the mental health and legal
system’s understanding of divorce failed to integrate the study of trauma and domestic violence. Development of the concept of traumatic divorce and separation integrates this understanding of domestic violence as a source of exposure to trauma, and the long-term public health and safety concerns that result when the high-risk factors of domestic violence and substance abuse are not addressed.  The author will discuss the recommendations in Traumatic Divorce for judicial reform, increased graduate education in trauma and domestic violence, and the role of gender bias in the courts.

1:45 – 2:30   Keynote Address:  Barry Goldstein, J.D., author, battered mothers’ advocate and expert: Family Court Practices Destroy Children's Lives:  The Tipping Point Has Been Reached
    Protective mothers and their advocates have long known that the standard custody court response to domestic violence cases is tilted in favor of abusive fathers and leads to frequent decisions that ruin children's lives.  While court officials were sleeping, definitive proof became available so that there can be no reasonable doubt the outdated practices have failed.  Several months ago Barry Goldstein sent a letter to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the National Center for State Courts on behalf of the Stop Abuse Campaign.  The letter put together recent scientific research like ACE, Saunders and Meier with recent media investigations.  Together they demonstrate why present practices fail to recognize true reports of abuse and minimize the risks.  The latest research confirms that the courts are getting a large majority of abuse cases wrong.  The judicial organizations contacted expressed appreciation for the package of information, agreed with the research and the subsequent discussions concerned how to improve training and practices.  The National Council put together a team to work with the Stop Abuse Campaign to develop the needed reforms.  The response gives us substantial credibility when approaching individual courts.  The work now is to help the rest of the court understand that the tipping point has been reached and there is no justification for continued use of flawed practices that lead courts to favor abusers and harm children. 

Download Barry's two letters below.  Note: our particular web software changes the name of downloaded files; you will need to type in the correct file name before saving.

  Barry Goldstein's letter to Mo Sheeran          Barry Goldstein's Letter to Ms. McQueen

Barry Goldstein wrote two letters to major judicial organizations.  These letters are part of his plenary presentation for Friday at the conference.  The letters summarize recent research and media investigations that we believe help us pass the tipping point so there can be no doubt that the present outdated court practices are placing protective mothers and their children in jeopardy.  We have received a positive response from both organizations and they agree with our conclusions.  The National Council put together a team of their experts to work with Barry and his colleagues at the Stop Abuse Campaign.  The purpose was to figure out how to improve training and practices in order to create safer decisions.  Barry's presentation will include a discussion of this research and report on the progress we are making.  Unfortunately, while the best judges recognize the need for reforms it is taking far longer than we hoped for this information to get to the majority of courts that continue to use outdated and discredited practices that harm children.

 Friday Afternoon   2:45 – 3:45 p.m.  Concurrent Workshops Session 1

     1.  Julie Satterfield-Price, Mother, Domestic and Judicial Abuse Victim, Author and Professor, and Craig Price, Husband of Julie and President of Protective Custody Alliance
I.  Abuse Cycle:  Why abuse does not necessarily stop after you have left?
II.  Judicial Cycle:  How a former spouse/partner uses the family court system to continue abuse of their victims
III. View from husband of victim:  How a new husband is also victimized in the cycle as he attempts to help his wife and step-children (Craig)
IV.  Conclusion - What can be done to facilitate change? (Julie)
     Julie was married to a litigation attorney for 15 years with three daughters. The abuse was present from the beginning, but Julie blamed herself.  With courage, she sought to make a new life, but her former husband was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, as well as had legal and financial power – a recipe for more abuse in the legal arena.  After his felony arrests for tying up and tasering a daughter, Julie sought to protect her children, but America’s legal system is flawed with children often going to abusive father’s if they petition for custody, but more so if the father is wealthy.  Julie wrote a fictional novel loosely based on her case, and it chronicles the story of how abuse starts, but also how it does not necessarily stop when the relationship ends, and how the American family court system needs to change to reflect the needs of the abused (e.g. awareness to judges, court-appointed GAL’s, highly-paid expert witnesses, and documented abuse should be considered detrimental to custody).  Hopefully, this Conference and novel will help to bring awareness and change.

2.  Laura Pennington: Domestic Violence & Child Custody in the US: At the Intersection of Feminism, Public Policy, and the Law
     Laura’s forthcoming dissertation explores the experiences of battered mothers in the justice system when fighting for custody and raising allegations of abuse. Part based on 100+ surveys gathered by attendees and supporters of the Battered Mothers Custody Conference since 2013 and part based on interviews with elite advocates and lawyers practicing in the field, this presentation will feature preliminary findings of the disconnect between public policy intention and implementation for protective parents in the court system.

3.  Dara Carlin & Hennie Lauf:
Hope: the one thing you MUST HAVE to successfully overcome the hand you've been dealt - but where can you find, maintain and more importantly sustain it when every solution suggested has failed? Whether you're Christian or not, Mary has declared that She is the Mother of us all and in Western culture, She is the Queen of Families, the Queen of Peace. Connecting with the wounded heart of Mary connects us with our collective sorrows as mothers in a way that can be truly transformative for ourselves, our children, our cases and the world. Come join us to learn how.

4.  Donna Anderson: Your Disordered Ex: What you need to know so you can recover and move forward
     If your ex assaulted you and wants to take your children away, you're probably dealing with someone who has antisocial, narcissistic or borderline personality disorder. Donna Andersen is author of Lovefraud.com and the book, "Red Flags of Love Fraud – 10 signs you're dating a sociopath." In this no-nonsense workshop, she explains the traits of disordered individuals, what motivates them, and how understanding what you are dealing with will enable you to move forward. Donna offers steps you can take to reclaim your sense of self—which will help you deal with the custody battle. 

5.  Barry Goldstein and Moshe Rozdzial: The Psychological, Emotional and Legal Adverse Outcomes of Childhood Attachment Disruption and Trauma
     Using the Adverse childhood Experience (ACE) Assessment, this interactive workshop will focus on childhood attachment disruption and trauma, with subsequent developmental, behavioral, and psychosocial impacts that are not addressed in the adjudication of child custody.

6. Tynia Canada: The Territory is Hostile But the Heroine is Brave

     This workshop will teach you how to act from a place of purpose. Looking beyond appearances while you demonstrate unwavering faith. Digging deep into your reservoir of power needed to elevate your child to their level of possibilities, helping them tap into who they are. I will teach strategies for a successful fight for your child, as you navigate the injustices placed upon you, your child and those close to you.   

Friday Afternoon   4:00 – 5:00 p.m.  Concurrent Workshops Session 2

1.  Betsy Stando: Meditation for Protective Mothers
     This workshop will be a guided meditation that will focus on helping grieving mothers recover from the trauma they have individually suffered through the legal system.  It will help take fear, sadness, and anger away, and replace with hope, love and strength.  

2.  Anne Stevenson:  Combatting accusations of mental illness;  Forced Mental Health Treatment, Troubled Families
       Is your family in crisis? Does someone you know pose an imminent physical threat to themselves or someone else by reason of their mental illness? In Massachusetts, hospitals have the legal right to hold such a person against their will for up to 72 hours. Under some circumstances, hospitals (or other persons with standing) can petition the court to commit a mentally ill person to a psychiatric facility and medically treat them for up to six months or more. Learn about the civil commitment process and how to respond if this is an issue facing you or your troubled family.

3.   Elsa Newman: Know the Options and Risks Before You Decide on Family Court Litigation
     Before you decide to check in at your local courthouse, you should arm yourself with as more knowledge than you ever imagined.  Keep in mind there may be creative alternatives to litigation.  Divorces involving domestic violence (DV) are notoriously complex cases for the court system.  They are often not amenable to simple solutions.  Despite increased research and writing on DV and federal legislation mandating safety plans for mothers and children, the family court is still mired in false realities which undermine dangers and cast doubt upon the need for safety plans.  You need to learn about the false realities ahead of time.  You should be able to recognize all the blind alleys you will be exposed to in court.  You should be prepared to maneuver around them, and it is not easy.  Once your situation is linked to the family court, it may be years before problems are resolved, and they may never be resolved, simply buried under heaps of deliberately garbled pleadings.  There are dangers in utilizing the family court system.  Perhaps the dangers of using the courts are more risky for you than not using the courts.

 4.  Jill Jones Soderman: Dealing with Strategies to Break Impenetrable Custody: Litigation In The Context Of A “Predator In Possession”
     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.”

5.  Ben Atherton-Zeman: “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.

6.  Kathy Jones: The System Sucks: Commanding “Zealous Advocacy” in an Indifferent World
     We all know the system is stacked against protective mothers and their children. This workshop delves into a brief understanding of the “whys and hows” of systemic indifference; and then encourages mothers to utilize the practices behind “Forensic Advocacy, Cycle Mapping and Victimization Studies” to actively educate community professionals to improved understanding of domestic violence, counter-parenting and their children’s best interests in family courts.

5:00 – 5:30 p.m.  Book Signing with BMCC authors:  Book table in the lobby

Friday Evening 5:30 – 9:00   Main Session

5:30 - 7:00   Dinner break with Rachel Meyrick’s documentary, What Doesn’t Kill Me

7:15 – 9:00 p.m.  Evening Workshop:  Evan Stark, Ph.D., MSW:  Children and the Spectrum of Coercive Control (CC)
     Evan Stark, author of the landmark volume, Coercive Control, will discuss CC as falling on a spectrum that targets all family members. 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 shares 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.

Saturday, May 5th

Saturday Morning  8:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.  Main Session

8:30 – 9:15   Keynote Address:  Connie Valentine, M.S., Co-Founder, California Protective Parents Association and Mothers of Lost Children:  The History of Our Movement
    Connie will be talking about the origins of Mothers of Lost Children, the historical precedents, including the Suffragists and the Mothers of the Disappeared, the connection with California Protective Parents Association and some of the outcomes of her groups’ national and local activism.

9:15 – 10:00 Keynote Address: Nancy S. Erickson, J.D.: The Future of Custody for Women Who are Aware of The Law

 10:00 – 10:15 Break

 10:15 – 11:00 Chris O’Sullivan:  Abuse, Parental Alienation and Custody: Empirical Study Validates What We Know
     Under a grant from the US Department of Justice to George Washington University Law
School (Joan Meier, PI), we examined over 4,000 written opinions in disputed custody and visitation cases. Cases selected for the analysis had allegations of abuse of the mother or child, and/or allegations of parental alienation by either parent. The primary outcome examined was which parent ended up with custody in the court decision. That is, we are looking at how allegations of abuse and PA affect custody decisions in a large, objective data set in order to assess the empirical support for the experience-based knowledge we have. The preliminary findings from this large study confirm Meier’s findings in a small pilot study:
Courts do not frequently credit mothers’ claims that the father abused them, and are even less likely to credit mothers’ claims of child abuse by the father;
    Mothers lose custody at higher rates when they allege that the father abused the children (sexually and/or physically) than when they claim he abused the mother.
    Fathers’ claims of parental alienation have more influence on court decisions on custody than mothers’ claims of abuse, even when the court acknowledges that the father was abusive.
This study allows us to compare custody outcomes in abuse cases with and without parental alienation claims. The findings match what we know: Mothers fare worse in securing or retaining custody of their children when the father claims she is alienating.

11:00 – 11:45  Keynote Address:  Alan Rosenfeld: Can the Family Court System Be Reformed?
From Jesse Murabito in 1989 to Genevieve Kelley in 2015 (with Holly Collins and many others in between), Alan Rosenfeld has defended our heroes. Mothers who have risked everything and gone into hiding to protect their children from sexual abuse.  
     Alan’s law practice is truly national, primarily representing battered women in high conflict custody cases in more than 30 states across the country. 

11:45 – 1:00  Lunch on own

Saturday Afternoon   1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Main Session

1:00 – 2:00  Ben Atherton Zeman: Voices of Men: 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.

2:00 – 2:45  Keynote Address: Phyllis Chesler: Still Fighting Back: A Video of Our History: 1975-Research; 1986–Speak Out; Here we are Today.

 2:45 – 3:00  Break 

3:00 – 3:45  Keynote Address: Wendy Murphy: How Constitutional equality for women can help restore justice in the family courts

3:45 – 4:15   Keynote Address:  Tynia Canada: Surviving the Pain in the Fight for Your Child

4:15 -  5:00  Casey Keene: 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.
     This presentation will highlight the work of the ACE-DV Leadership Forum to harness the power of survivors’ voices to impact the way we understand and respond to childhood trauma. The presenter will share her personal story of healing and resilience, and engage participants in a conversation around the importance of identifying and lifting up the strengths and assets we gain from experiences of trauma across the lifespan.

Saturday afternoon  5:15 – 6:15 p.m. Concurrent Workshops Session 3

1.  Lisa Fischel Wolovick, J.D., MSW: Creating a Trauma-Informed Judicial Response to Domestic Violence and Child Custody
     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.

2.  Lisa Mehos: “Yoga to Survive & Thrive”
     “Yoga to Survive & Thrive” brings mothers together to recharge; revive; and unite against injustice and abuse.
     Participants of any age and fitness level benefit from the Trauma-Sensitive Yoga component that reinforces resilience and inner strength empowering individuals to overcome obstacles. Body awareness and movement in yoga reduces/eliminates anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and other PTSD symptoms. Together in this workshop, mothers unite to experience the transformational power of yoga, invigorating body, mind, & spirit, to achieve our fullest potential.

3.  Helen Hailes, Ellen Gutowski, Erin Miller, and Lisa Goodman: Survivors' experiences of the family court system: A qualitative research study and toolkit guide   
    The aim of this presentation is twofold: 1) to share findings from a community-based participatory research study documenting intimate partner violence survivors’ subjective experiences of involvement in the family court system and 2) to present a toolkit designed to prepare survivor-mothers for the challenges of the custody litigation process.  Both projects were developed through a close partnership with the Custody Awareness Collaborative (CAC), a Massachusetts-based collaborative of survivors, advocates, and lawyers.  As a part of this workshop, we will present a draft of the toolkit and solicit feedback and discussion from participants.

4.  Chrys Ballarano: 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!

5.  Dara Carlin and Paul Holdorf:  The Harassment, Abuse, and Life Endangerment (HALE) Policy:  Avoiding Trauma & Re-victimization
     In cases of extreme violence, stalking or harassment, government and DV agencies may advise survivors to change their and their children's identities in association with the U.S. Government's Harassment, Abuse and Life Endangerment (HALE) policy. Trusted advocates and officials present HALE to survivors as a life-saving measure of last resort.  However, when the policy’s flaws and failings lead to serious hardship, registrants have virtually no recourse and are abandoned.  This session serves to warn about the grievous flaws of this policy, which has resulted in wrongful conviction, imprisonment, temporary loss of child custody without cause and other extensive rights violations.

Saturday evening, May 5th  Main Session​

6:30pm - 10:00pm - 
BMCC’s Inaugural Social Evening at 'The 202 Hangar' at the Albany Airport. 
Join us for a play performance, food, wine, dessert, connecting and socializing! 
Free for BMCC conference attendees. 
Attire: Casual, bring light jacket if cool outside. 
The hour-long debut performance of Forbidden To Protect: an original play by Patrice Lenowitz and Lundy Bancroft, starts sharply at 8pm.

Free shuttle buses will transport all BMCC attendees (6 minutes away) to the special Saturday evening event at the Albany International Airport Hangar 202; meet at hotel lobby in front of revolving doors to await transportation.
6:30pm - First trip to The 202 Hangar by charter coach bus. Please be in hotel lobby at 6:25pm.
6:45pm - Second trip to The 202 Hangar, please be in hotel lobby at 6:40pm.
9:45pm - First trip back to the hotel by charter coach bus. Please be in the hangar lobby at 9:40pm.
10:05pm - Second trip back to the hotel, please be in the hangar lobby at 10:00pm.

Forbidden to Protect:  An original play by Patrice Lenowitz and Lundy Bancroft

         Forbidden to Protect is a stage show that depicts the true stories of seven cases from across the U.S. where family courts have taken children away from non-violent mothers to give them to violent batterers and child molesters.  These stories were collected and compiled by Patrice Lenowitz and Lundy Bancroft. The words spoken in the play are almost entirely the actual words of the mothers and children we interviewed, along with the precise statements of judges and court-appointed evaluators from court records. While each of these cases examined in isolation would seem unbelievable, taken together they form an inescapable portrayal of a national system of cruelty that oppresses and exploits women and children.
Our intention is for this play to be performed in communities throughout the United States, exposing the human rights abuses committed by family courts, and driving mandatory trauma-informed training and ACE* prevention goals to be met by all professionals involved in child custody decisions.
            The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and later-life health and well-being.  Exposure to child abuse and neglect will negatively impact the short and long-term mental and physical health and wellbeing of a child, as well as negatively affect their biological systems and structures. As such, the wide-ranging health and social consequences of ACEs make them a public health issue. A lack of commitment to act by family court and child welfare professionals is a significant obstacle to improved community health.

Sunday, May 6th

Sunday Morning  8:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.  Main Session

8:30 – 9:30   Keynote Address:  Joy Silberg, Ph.D.:  Glimmers of Hope

     Joy will discuss some good news from the front lines of the family court system.  

9:30 – 10:30   Keynote Address:  Maralee McLean :  Recovering from Custody Litigation
    The repercussions of being involved in prolonged Custody Litigation. Helpful hints of how to survive the litigation. Moving into the Trauma phase that every woman and child has had to endure in what is called Contested Custody Cases.  When there is domestic violence, child abuse and child sexual abuse in your case and more.  Most good loving mothers are being re-traumatized by family court system that is failing to protect you and your children. How you can best get through this nightmare and survive. What the Recovery can look like.

10:45 – 11:45 Concurrent Workshop Session #4

     We will discuss the whole process of being involved in a custody evaluation, but starting even before, when the court is first contemplating whether to order a custody evaluation, because there are ways to try to avoid it.  From there, we discuss if a CE is ordered, how to avoid the worst evaluators or even get an acceptable one; what the court order for the CE should say; how to prepare for and survive the CE; getting a copy and/or reading the CE report; how to critique the CE report; and how to file a complaint against an incompetent or unethical custody evaluator. If you have to go through a custody evaluation, we want the report to be favorable to you!  

2.  Victoria Szurant: VOICES OF CHANGE: Surviving to Thriving
    The trauma of chronic narcissistic domestic abuse is debilitating on all fronts, but the parental alienation trauma inflicted by family courts on children and battered women is a lifelong wound that never heals. Craig A. Childress, parental alienation expert and advocate for change, states: “To psychologically kill that parent’s child in revenge for a narcissistic injury of the divorce is a human abomination of the highest order.” Never doubt, that the constraints imposed upon our families by abuse masquerading as tradition; by self-serving state laws; or by incompetence of family courts whether due to ignorance or greed; are man made and subject to change.
     Physical wounds heal but psychological wounds are long-term and too often transferred to the next generation. Family trauma requires spiritual, physical, and mental healing; a holistic mind, body, soul approach. The universal laws and consciousness will always guide our intuition and purpose in divine direction. The trauma we experience is a powerful catalyst for change. A catalyst that causes accelerated chemical reaction, energy that calls others into action, a force to be reckoned with.
     To be a voice for change requires that we transition from surviving to thriving and be a vehicle of health and leadership, an inspiration in action. Nothing is more therapeutic than having a voice to speak from experience, having the power to make a difference, and having the knowledge required to play a leadership role to change our society.
     As a mother, I follow the law of forgiveness and reciprocity: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As a nutritionist, my therapy is holistic and same as Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” As a leader, I never waver in my conviction that our children’s lives depend on our leadership, and I am grateful for the challenges that reconnected me with my life’s purpose and my higher calling; as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does.”
     Victoria will engage the audience in developing individualized concrete steps of healing and transition from surviving to thriving, inspiring every attendee to become a leader and a voice for change.

3.  Renee Mazer and Fletcher Fox: Our years in Nazi Germany,...Oops, I meant family court 
     This workshop focuses on the scams, tricks, and manipulations going on in family courts that result in batterers getting custody.  Knowledge is power.  The more you know, the better you will do in this nightmare system.  The workshop is also about my son Fletcher's triumphant return home.  After years of being forced to live in abusive, far away residential treatment centers and stripped of his mother and brother by his violent father and family court Judges, Fletcher is home!  And boy, does he have an interesting story to tell!

4.  Joanna Barr: 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 is an IPV survivor and teaches college courses in psychology and early childhood education. She recently completed the Doctorate of Education 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 other pursuits.

5.  Jennifer Collins: Nurturing Healthy Sexual Development (NHSD)
    NHSD is an introductory workshop on child sexual abuse prevention which covers a wide range of topics including; normal sexual development in children, the range of sexual behaviors from normal to very concerning, answering children’s questions, statistics, facts and myths about abuse, and signs of sexual abuse.
     This workshop will offer information and skills to keep communication open with children, identify and respond to normal as well as concerning sexual behaviors in children, answer children’s questions about reproduction and sexuality, and give children positive messages about the intrinsic worth of their bodies — all aspects of nurturing healthy sexual development.

2018 BMCC Awardees

Connie Valentine:  Lifetime Achievement Award; tribute by Joan Meier
Alan Rosenfeld:  Lifetime Achievement Award
Nancy S. Erickson:  Lifetime Achievement Award

Noon – 2:00  Working Lunch with Awards Ceremony

2:00 p.m.  Close

Battered  Women, Abused Children, and Child Custody:

"A National Crisis"

The 13th Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference
"Custody Litigation, Trauma, and Recovery"
May 4th, 5th, and 6th, 2018


Maude Gorman
Fletcher Fox
Joan Meier