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Anonymous child abuse reports accounted for 10 percent of all reports in 2002.

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A Criminal Defense Attorney's View
of the Domestic Violence Industry - Page 5

by: Paul G. Stuckle, Esq.
Updated: March 12, 2006

V. The Domestic Violence Industry

Table of Contents

1. Domestic Violence Is a Political Crime

"Hello. I'm from the Government and here to help." This old saying is satirically funny. Governmental intervention into anything usually creates nameless, faceless bureaucracies, solving nothing, complicating everything, and resulting in higher taxes.

The government has definitely made its way into domestic violence:

'Like many crusades to stamp out social evils, the War on Domestic Violence is a mix of good intentions (who could be against stopping spousal abuse?), bad information, and worse theories. The result has been a host of unintended consequences that do little to empower victims while sanctioning interference in personal relationships.'

Cathy Young, Vice President, Women's Freedom Network
"Domestic Violations", Reason On Line, April 1998

Every few years a new "crime de jour " (crime of the day) is created. This phenomenon begins with a legitimate social problem needing to be addressed.

Examples in recent years of "crimes de jour" include "Driving While Intoxicated" and "Child Sexual Abuse."

The tragic consequences of isolated worst-case scenarios of these crimes are highly publicized. The nation is inundated with media coverage and informed the problem is not being adequately dealt with by the criminal justice system. Crime victims form support groups (such as M.A.D.D.- "Mothers Against Drunk Driving"), and these support groups in turn create lobby groups. The lobbyists influence the media, judges, and politicians.

Political candidates sense community outrage and run campaigns with platforms designed to solve the "crime de jour." After each campaign year and legislative session, new laws address perceived omissions, loopholes, and provide additional punishment for those convicted of the "crime de jour."

The enactment of such special interest group legislation officially converts the "crime de jour" into a "political crime."

'Some crusaders openly argue that domestic violence should be taken more seriously than other crimes. In 1996, the sponsor of a New York bill toughening penalties for misdemeanor assault on a family member (including ex-spouses and unwed partners) vowed to oppose a version extending the measure to all assaults:

"The whole purpose of my bill is to single out domestic violence," Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said. "I don't want the world to think we're treating stranger assaults the same way as domestic assaults."

Cathy Young, Women's Freedom Network,
"Domestic Violations" Reason On Line, April 1998

The new "crime de jour" is domestic violence.

2. The Family Advocacy Center

A strange conglomeration of individuals pushing varying agendas comprise the force behind the family violence movement. The movement combines legitimate victims and their advocate supporters with professional vendors who have much to gain through concentrated efforts to expand the industry:

'These people, some idealistic and some merely pragmatic, have networked, talked with each other, served on various commissions, boosted each other's careers, and helped to expand the definition of domestic violence, and the size of state and federal funding massively . . .

Only ten years ago, the women's safety-advocates were a small group of idealists, operating on pennies. Today the movement has grown large on state and federal tax monies. Every month, it seems spawns new sub-programs, clinics, shelters, research institutes, counseling centers, visitation centers, poster campaigns.

Today, domestic violence is a big industry . . . Mapping the full extent of the domestic violence industry is not easy, because it's a cottage industry, spread out in hundreds of places. State and federal money (in each state) goes to well over a hundred institutes, clinics, programs for counseling or outreach or coordination or training, computer databases, coalitions, shelters, PR agencies and other groups.'

John Maguire, "The Booming Domestic Violence Industry",
Massachusetts News.

The media, pressured by women's safety advocate groups has perpetuated public hysteria by over inflating the true incidence of domestic violence. While a legitimate social problem and cause for reasonable concern, the response to the force-fed hysteria has been legislative overkill. In order to facilitate the legislative demands, bureaucracies must be formed. The result is "The Family Advocacy Center."

A typical family advocacy center combines many agencies and individuals into one facility. The center will house police, legal, medical, social service, substance abuse, housing, women's advocacy, victim's rights, and counselors in one facility. The Irving Texas "Family Advocacy Center" defines itself as "one-stop shopping for victims."

3. Follow the Money

Federal law provides funding to states for the creation, development, and utilization of Family Advocacy Centers through the "Family Violence Prevention and Services Act." (Title III of the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984, Pub. L. 98-457, 42 U.S.C. 10401). The bottom line for the falsely accused is this: Domestic Violence is now an enormous financial industry. Each state receives millions of federal dollars in grant money by adopting provisions of federal law.

'(Women's Shelter Centers) provide DSS (Department of Social Services) with additional clients. The women's groups get more money and DSS gets more state and federal money. They both are artificially inflating their numbers. They inflate domestic violence statistics this way and through the use of coerced restraining orders. By artificially inflating the domestic violence statistics they are able to create political hysteria -- leading to more funding.'

Nev Moore, "Unhealthy Relationship between DSS and Domestic Violence Industry."

In effect, the government has created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Federal money is awarded to communities who can statistically justify the need for a family violence center. In so doing, the government itself perpetuates charges of domestic violence. It creates a "Family Violence Industry." This circular reasoning mirrors the previous "crime de jour" of child sexual assault in the 1990's. A comparison of the governmental domestic violence movement with the prior special interest group-driven child sexual assault hysteria illustrates:

'According to the late Dr. Richard Gardner, the reason for the alarming rise in child abuse allegations and specifically false allegations can be rationally explained. "There's a complex network of social workers, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officials that actually encourages charges of child abuse- whether they are reasonable or not."

Dr. Gardner is referring to the fact that the Mondale Act (CAPTA) is responsible for the dramatic increase in child abuse charges. "In effect, the Mondale Act, despite its good intentions, created and continued to fund a virtual child abuse industry, populated by people whose livelihoods depend on bringing more and more allegations into the system"'.

Armin Brott, "A system out of Control: The Epidemic of False Allegations of Child Abuse"

The Federal Government will award $20 million in grants in 2004 to communities across the nation to plan and develop Family Advocacy Centers. (United States Department of Justice "Fact Sheet" on "The President's Family Justice Center Initiative"). The DOJ's "Fact Sheet" reveals hidden financial incentives in the formation of centers to promote domestic violence cases. Family violence "services" will create a large number of jobs and benefit center associated professionals. Dropping cases will not. According to the DOJ Fact Sheet, the Family Violence Centers may include the following "services":

  • Medical Care - Including On-site or Off-site Primary Physical Care, Mental Health Counseling for Victims and Dependents, Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Collection;
  • Law Enforcement and Legal Assistance Services - Including On-site Help to Get Protective Orders Signed and Enforced, to Investigate and Prosecute Offenders, and Provide Witness Assistance and Court-based Victim Advocates;
  • State-of-the-art Information Sharing and Case Management Systems;
  • Social Services - Including Federal and State Welfare Assistance for Parents and Children;
  • Employment Assistance - Including Employment and Career Counseling and Training Through Local One Stop Employment Centers or Other Local Services;
  • Substance Abuse Treatment;
  • Child-related Needs - Such as Parenting Classes, Teen Pregnancy Services, Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Programs, Services for Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence, Assistance for Relocating Children into New Schools, Truancy Programs, and Youth Mentoring Programs;
  • Housing and Transportation Assistance - to Cover Immediate Needs and Help with Long-term Housing Solutions; and
  • Chaplaincy or Faith-based Counseling Programs - Providing Victims and Their Families with Non-sectarian Spiritual Guidance.

United States Department of Justice
Fact Sheet: The President's Family Justice Center Initiative

Which professionals directly benefit from a community-based Family Violence Center?

  • Medical: Physicians, S.A.N.E (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners), and Nurses;
  • Law Enforcement: Police Investigators, Patrol, Polygraph Operators; Supervisors, Staff;
  • Legal: District Attorney's Offices; Assistant District Attorneys, Investigators, Staff;
  • Social Services: Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, Caseworkers, Investigators, Supervisors, and Support Staff;
  • Employment Offices: Employment Agencies, Workers, and Staff;
  • "Forensic Interviewers";
  • Substance Abuse Centers: Substance Abuse Counselors;
  • Child Related Vendors; Counselors and Therapists;
  • Housing Authorities; Placement and Personnel
  • Counseling Services: Mental Health, Rage and Anger, Battering Intervention Prevention Program Counselors, Marriage Counselors, Family Counselors;
  • Women's Advocacy Group Personnel, Women's Shelter Placement Personnel and Shelter Personnel Victim Advocate Services Personnel (Advocates to Support Victims and Monitor the Individual Case from Arrest Through Trial).

Who on the above list benefits if no arrest and charge are made?

Ultimately, this begs the big question:

Is the government interested in the quality or the quantity of domestic abuse cases?

Silverstorn, "The Truth About Child Protective Services":

A critic of the Family Violence Industry, John Flaherty, co-chairman of the Fatherhood Coalition states:

'This industry is an octopus. It's got its tentacles in more and more parts of everyday life. It's a political movement . . . This industry doesn't answer to anybody. They're in it mainly for the money . . . The industry's problems may be about to increase, because it is becoming clear through scientific research that the whole premise of the movement and the industry it spawned - - that "domestic violence" means bad men hitting helpless, innocent women -- is just plain wrong.'

John Maguire, Massachusetts News,
" The Booming Domestic Violence Industry"

The Family Advocacy Centers will operate with the group mindset of most bureaucracies. " The agencies' main objective is self preservation: to perpetuate the bureaucracy and to expand the bureaucracy." (Silverstorn, "The Truth About Child Protective Services,").

The method for doing this is by seeking and making cases.

How will the advocacy centers get the number of cases they need? A philosophical change at the most basic level was needed. In order to make the numbers work, the definition of family violence had to be expanded to extend beyond battering spouses and include normal family arguments. In essence, the system adapted by accepting each family violence "911" call as a potential customer.

'A call to 911 is generally mutually assured destruction of a relationship, marriage, family, and the lives of all involved. It doesn't matter that you're innocent. Or that she attacked you first. Or that you both went over the line and that both of you want to put it behind you and work it out. The system will prosecute you and persecute you until you've confessed your sins - even if you've none to confess. And you're not cured until they say you're cured - even if you were never sick to begin with.'

Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., quoting Glenn Sacks,
"What Happens When 911 is Dialed Under Current Colorado Law"

"Zero Tolerance" and "No-Drop" policies create a constant stream of what the advocacy centers need most: bodies. More arrests result in more persons charged. The assembly line then takes over, and the unwitting family becomes passed on from one self-interested protector to another. Post arrest the victim is "assisted" by the police detective, "forensic interviewer," and the prosecutor. Incriminatory statements secured, the prosecution team will temporarily lose interest until trial.

At this point, the victim support groups take over, advocates are appointed, and shelters are called, counselors engaged. The list goes on until the family is emotionally, psychologically, and financially drained. And if it all goes perfectly for the team: conviction.

In essence, a great food chain is created, in which many professionals, counselors, physicians, and vendors, are feeding off persons arrested and charged under "Zero Tolerance" programs. Family advocacy salesmen freely admit the concept is a direct springboard from the child advocacy centers.

An Allen Texas Police Investigator states: "The children's advocacy center works very well in Collin County . . . crime victims groups in Collin County work well together. So having a family justice center would encourage that more."

Dallas Morning News, Collin County Edition,
March 14, 2004, "Groups Unite To End Domestic Violence").

The financial rewards for Family Advocacy Centers will not be dependent upon criminal convictions. The funding will be given to the centers regardless of the outcome of the case, or truth of the allegations. With absolute immunity from liability, the Family Advocacy Center team members have no fear of any repercussions for their actions.

4. Team Unity: Take Out A Family For the Team

The majority of District Attorney's Offices in North Texas follow the national model of having specialized family violence units, where assigned prosecutors and investigators handle only domestic violence cases. Many North Texas law enforcement agencies have specialty family violence teams. All of the law enforcement agencies affiliated with an advocacy center assign officers to the center as part of a domestic violence task force.

The creation of specialized domestic violence prosecution teams has but one goal: conviction of a suspected perpetrator. The advocacy team collaboration of prosecutors, police, social workers, medical professionals, counselors and others are a team in every sense of the word. They share more than a central location. They share belief systems, ideologies, strategies, and a game plan. That game plan is to convict any person charged with domestic violence. The belief system is one that every person charged with domestic violence is a batterer. The belief system also finds every victim of domestic violence to be a battered spouse.

The belief system incorporates extreme arrogance. The family violence team knows better than anyone, particularly the family itself, of what is best for them. The team works together in secret, planning and mapping out strategy to forge the future of the family, whether it is in their best interests or not.

'Unfortunately, it won't really matter what happened that night or how capable she (alleged victim) is of deciding for herself whether or not she needs protection the court and the prosecutors can still say no. They can stand by and tell that victim that she doesn't really know what's best for her and her family. She is a victim - how can she possibly know what's best after what she's been through?

Many of these people know exactly what is best for them and their families, and yet are revictimized by the powerlessness imposed upon them by a system of people who know better.'

Janeice T. Martin, Attorney at Law, Naples (Florida)
Daily News, November 3, 2002,
"Domestic Violence - The Other Side of Zero Tolerance"

The above statement is not an aberration. It is common to find family service plans forced upon alleged victims by advocacy center social workers to include conditions, which require:

  1. The alleged perpetrator to reside out of the household while the case is pending;
  2. The alleged perpetrator to have no contact with the family while the case is pending;
  3. The alleged victim to "assist" in the prosecution of the alleged perpetrator
  4. .

Assisting in prosecution means the victim must testify against the defendant. It also often means the victim must pursue divorce proceedings against the defendant. If the victim does not want to divorce or testify, advocates for failing to protect her children will eventually threaten her. Then the protectors will threaten removal of the children unless the victim pledges allegiance to the team and assists in convicting the defendant.

'Women are coerced into accepting their cultish indoctrination via the use of threats, intimidation, and the fear of losing their children . . . Women are ordered to leave their husbands, even in the absence of real domestic violence or abuse. They are ordered to never let the fathers see their children, or DSS will charge the women with neglect.'

Nev Moore, "Unhealthy Relationship between DSS and Domestic Violence Industry."

5. Pssst . . . They Are Coming . . . Or Are They Already Here?

Family Advocacy Centers are a relatively new innovation in the "War on Domestic Violence." They are quickly following in the footsteps of Child Advocacy Centers. Many communities are combining the two into one super center. The City of Phoenix Arizona may have been the first to create a strictly domestic violence center upon opening the "Family Advocacy Center" in August 1999. The Phoenix model is a good indicator of the self fulfilling prophecy behind Family Advocacy Centers, "Build It - They Will Come." Statistics of cases from the Phoenix Center show:

Since August 1999, Phoenix has had 16,439 domestic violence "contacts" in which 59% have received "services." Translated, this figure means roughly 9700 domestic violence cases in five years since the opening of the Phoenix Family Advocacy Center.

How many of those cases resulted in criminal convictions could not be ascertained.

The first known Family Advocacy Center in Texas opened its doors in January of 2002. The City of Irving "Family Advocacy Center" describes its goal to "bring together those police units and outside agencies that provide support, prosecution, and therapy for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault." To no one's surprise, the Irving Police Department adopted a "Zero Tolerance" stance on domestic violence. Again, not surprisingly, Irving boasts of rising statistical increases in the number of domestic violence cases received since the creation of its Family Advocacy Center. Consistent with Phoenix, the Irving police department website does not cite statistics regarding actual criminal convictions.

Rest assured, the Family Advocacy Center is coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

According to the Department of Justice, the federal government will award $20 million in grants in 2004 to communities across the nation to plan and develop Family Advocacy Centers. (United States Department of Justice Fact Sheet on The President's Family Justice Center Initiative;

Collin County, Texas is one of the communities applying for the federal grant money. However, a spokesman for the Collin County District Attorney's office indicated the county "would pursue the center even if it did not win the grant. But without financial backing, the project would take longer."

Dallas Morning News, Collin County Edition,
March 14, 2004, "Groups Unite To End Domestic Violence".

North Texas is an active participant in the domestic violence industry. Dallas and Denton Counties have instituted specialty family violence courts, in which domestic violence cases are primarily the only cases on the docket. Specialized courts allow prosecutors and judges to create a uniform method to streamline cases. The accused faces a tremendous obstacle in a family violence court. The court's very existence is silently predicated upon convicting as many defendants as possible. Only convictions can feed the system, as with convictions come fines, community supervision fees, battering intervention program costs, and other methods of pouring money back into the industry. Rising numbers of convictions mean the need for more prosecutors, judges, probation officers, domestic violence counselors, domestic violence programs and more specialized domestic violence courts. Convictions also support the propaganda generating the movement: "family violence is prevalent in your community at an unconscionable rate."

The government substantiates its national cry of a plethora of domestic violence through statistical data. Since there is not a nationwide plethora of domestic violence, the protectors needed assistance in the form of fuzzy math. The fuzzy math was easily solved. Simply cite statistics that show the number of domestic violence "contacts" or "services provided" rather than domestic violence convictions. By using "contacts" as the statistical benchmark, family violence crusaders are able to point to every police dispatch to a family argument as a "case." These "cases" then secure the numbers needed for federal and state grant money.

Another problem facing the protectors was dealing with the end result of minuscule criminal activity. How would prosecutors secure criminal convictions in court after arresting family members for arguments and trivial push-shove matches? For this, the protectors and politicians needed to change the law.

The legislature responded with open arms.