Mapping Gender: Shedding Empirical Light on Family Courts’ Treatment of Cases Involving Abuse and Alienation

Published by: Joan S. Meier

What is really happening in the nation’s family courts? This webinar discusses a national empirical study of custody courts’ responses to domestic violence, child abuse, and parental alienation claims. While an NIJ-funded 4-year expanded study is ongoing, the results of the original pilot study (240 cases) are now available. The study examined electronically published opinions in custody and visitation cases concerning abuse and parental alienation allegations. It is entirely objective, relying solely on what litigants claimed, what courts found or credited, and how courts ruled. While the pilot study originally sought to examine gender bias in application of parental alienation claims, some stunning additional findings emerged, including the  high rates at which mothers lose custody, the stark impact of child abuse allegations, and the gendered impact of parental alienation claims.   

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