Court watch on domestic violence and children
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Court Watch volunteers are on high alert in domestic violence hearings for any details involving children. Perpetrators often use children to maintain control over their partners and force their compliance. Children are often drawn into the violence simply by being present.
Judges weighing protective orders should immediately seek out all details regarding involvement of the parties’ children at the time of any violence. When a protective order is granted, extra scrutiny is needed to make sure kids will be safe before any visitation is granted – especially if the respondent has a criminal record or even an unsafe driving record. An on-the-record detailed inquiry should take place before allowing overnight visitation, e.g., Who lives with you and where? Where will the children sleep? What is your work schedule and when will you be with the children? What is your contact information? Are you currently facing any criminal charges?
This extra bit of inquiry can keep kids safe.