Battered Mothers Custody Conference

The Battered Mothers Custody Conference (BMCC) is an annual weekend event dedicated to educating professionals and the general public about the serious legal and psychological challenges faced by battered women who seek protection for themselves and their children from the family/divorce court system. These (primarily) survivors of domestic violence often encounter disbelief of their allegations of intimate partner and/or child abuse by the legal agents involved in their child custody cases.

The conference aims to inform, support, and advocate for these survivors, allowing them to network with each other and with the professionals and advocates who come to present at the conference. The conference aims to help survivors enhance their ability to better cope with and overcome the impacts of abuse and to better advocate for themselves and their children within the legal arena.

This site has one of the largest collections of articles, guidebooks, and links to organizations for protective mothers.

California Protective Parents Association

Center for Judicial Excellence

Courageous Kids

Website of the Courageous Kids Network, for young people who are forced by a court to live with, or have contact with, a parent who abuses them, and want to reach out to other youth who have shared these experiences.


Custody Prep for Moms

Excellent, sound advice for protective mothers about pursuing a court conflict with an abusive man, with many additional resources listed. The information on this site is not intended to be legal advice. We are not lawyers. We suggest you contact an attorney, and study the law yourself to be informed. Our website IS intended to help fit and loving mothers who wish to continue to be the primary caretakers of their children. If you have visited our site because you are finding yourself in the middle of contested child custody litigation, you have our most heartfelt sympathies. 

Roughly 80% of divorces in our country involve uncontested custody determinations in which both parties agree it is best for the children to reside primarily with their mother in her continued primary care-taking role. It is the other 20% of contested custody cases that this website addresses.When family violence of any sort has been an issue at any time during your or your children's relationship with their father, we do not recommend joint legal or physical custody arrangements. 

Because of the pervasiveness of family violence in our country and the astounding nationwide system failure of our family courts to protect women and child victims, much of this sites' focus is on assisting and educating protective mothers. 

For the abuser, the courtroom is the last tool in his toolbox to control and abuse his victims. It is our goal to reverse this trend for the benefit of our children and our nation's future as a peaceful, non-violent society.


Despite numerous legislative and policy reforms designed to protect victims of domestic violence, many survivors and their children are denied legal protections in court.  Appeals are a remarkably effective tool for correcting unjust legal decisions. However, they are rare, because they are both expensive and require appellate expertise.

Leadership Council

A website created by researchers committed to confronting sloppy or unethical “scientific” claims that have been made that are harmful to abused children and their protective parents. Includes a large section on child custody and “parental alienation syndrome”.

Lundy Bancroft






    • Assessing Abusers’ Risk to Children
      2004, with Jay G. Silverman, Ph.D. In P. Jaffe, L. Baker, & A. Cunningham (Eds.) Protecting Children from Domestic Violence: Strategies for Community Intervention, New York, NY, Guilford Press


    • The Batterer as a Parent
      Winter, 2002, Synergy, Newsletter of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Vol. 6, No. 1, pgs 6-8

Women's Coalition International

The Women’s Coalition is fighting for a future in which women are able to maintain custody and protect children after separation or divorce.

We pursue our mission by raising awareness of the custody crisis and by gathering troops to fight for the new Child Custody Court system, which will provide due process for women and safety and well-being for their children.

The Women’s Coalition was founded by Cindy Dumas, M.A., who has been researching, writing, and raising awareness about the custody crisis since 2003,  when she discovered she did not have the  power to keep custody or protect her children from their abusive father.

Cindy's son, Damon, is the Communications Director for The Women's Coalition. He was forced by many judges, over the course of ten years, to live with the father who sexually abused him, despite his mother's and his own great efforts to protect him. He was only able to escape the court's and his father's control by getting married on paper at age 16.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges 

Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody, operated by the

(800) 527-3223.

The Resource Center offers a free packet of information for abused women in custody and visitation litigation. It does not become involved in specific cases or provide legal advice. They also offer a book called Managing Your Divorce that helps women prepare for the process of resolving child custody, visitation, and child support.

Battered Women’s Justice Project

The BWJP provides support, consultation, and referrals to abused women facing custody or visitation challenges from their abusive ex-partners, including assistance in finding a well-trained and sensitive attorney.


Books, Reports, and Videos

The Battered Mothers Testimony Project: A Human Rights Report on Child Custody and Domestic Violence

This activist project interviewed 40 abused women about their experiences of being revictimized by family courts through the abuser’s use of custody and visitation litigation, and also interviewed numerous judges, custody evaluators, and advocates. The project report, which exposes these systemic abuses as violations of women’s internationally-recognized human rights, is available from: Publication Office, Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College, (781) 283-2510, or at [LINK].


Litigation Abuse, Peter Jaffe PhD, Vancouver YWCA

“Small Justice: Little Justice in America’s Family Courts,” a video by Garland Waller of Boston University

This one-hour video documents three cases where abused women have faced systematic mistreatment by family courts as they attempt to protect their children from domestic violence and sexual abuse. This well-made and carefully researched film is an important resource for community members working for court reforms. (Available from Intermedia, 800-553-8336)

Divorced From Justice: The Abuse of Women and Children by Divorce Lawyers and Judges, by Karen Winner (Regan Books)

This is another book that is out of print, but you can find it at libraries, used book stores, or online. The stories are painful ones which makes the book heavy reading, but Winner offers crucial advice to women and to anyone who is trying to help them, in addition to giving important suggestions to people interested in working for court reform.

Women and Children Last: Custody Disputes and the Family “Justice” System, by Georgina Taylor, Jan Barnsley, and Penny Goldsmith of the Vancouver (BC) Custody and Access Support and Advocacy Association.

This excellent book prepares abused mothers for the difficult emotional and legal challenges of family court litigation, to help increase their ability to keep their children safe and maintain custody. Advocates and concerned community members can also benefit from the explanations offered here of how the family court system works and why abused women can find the environment so hostile. (For ordering information call Vancouver Status of Women at 604-255-6554.)

The Hostage Child: Sex Abuse Allegations in Custody Disputes, by Leora Rosen and Michelle Etlin (Indiana University Press).

An eye-opening education for people interested in working towards family court reform, this book documents the obstacles that abused women can encounter in attempting to protect their children from abuse even in cases where extensive evidence exists. (I don’t recommend this book for abused women to read themselves if they are currently involved in litigation – it’s very frightening, and most cases don’t go as badly as the ones presented here.)

Film & Video

What Doesn't Kill Me

Every day, 5 million children in the U.S. experience domestic violence, either as witnesses or victims. Due to a horrific system that favors abusive fathers, a shocking number of mothers who seek to protect their children (and themselves) end up losing them. Most Americans are unaware that an abusive father, who contests custody from a protective mother, will win 70 percent of the time.   This bold and provocative film is a long overdue exploration into why the most powerful country in the world is not protecting its most vulnerable mothers and children and thus enabling generations of abusers to continue their abuse.


Along with intimate personal stories, family revelations with hard hitting facts and frank discussions on the child custody issue with feminists, lawyers, judges and domestic violence experts we follow the indomitable 86-year-old Charlotta Harrison, a survivors’ advocate who herself survived a 60-year abusive marriage.  She speaks hauntingly about the pressures and fears that make it so difficult for women in danger to leave. With Charlotta, we meet women and children who have been separated, silenced, and pushed to extreme methods of escape—and who are fighting back.  

This sensitive film by British film maker Rachel Meyrick tells the story of the women and children who are fighting back against a court system biased toward male privilege and wealth. WHAT DOESN’T KILL ME exposes a national travesty compared by some to the Catholic Church scandal. A timely film for America; where radical misogyny is being exposed even in the highest offices and institutions in the country.

Family Court Crisis: Our Children At Risk
Documentary produced by CJE, featuring interviews with individuals whose lives have been affected by the dysfunctional family law system and expert analyses of what has gone wrong.

No Way Out But One
From award winning producers Garland Waller and Barry Nolan comes a documentary on the first American woman to be granted asylum by the Netherlands on the grounds of domestic violence.

Small Justice
Documentary produced by Garland Waller, a Boston University communications professor, that focuses on the family court crisis in America.

Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories
A 2005 documentary by PBS about the custody issues in the family court system.

Divorce Corp
A 2014 exposé of the inner workings of the $50 billion a year U.S. family law industry that shines a light on the appalling waste and shameless collusive practices seen daily in family courts. Worth seeing, despite our opposition to the  false abuse allegations and mandatory shared parenting misinformation.

Studies, Reports & Official Letters

Joan Meier

George Washington University - Law School

Child Custody Outcomes in Cases Involving Parental Alienation Syndrome

GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2019-56

Daniel Saunders, PhD

University of Michigan

Dr. Saunders Department of Justice Study – “Child Custody Evaluators’ Beliefs About Domestic Abuse Allegations: Their Relationship to Evaluator Demographics, Background, Domestic Violence Knowledge and Custody- Visitation Recommendations”

Studies show batterers are able to convince authorities that the victim is unfit or undeserving of sole custody in approximately 70% of challenged cases. " (American Judges Association)

"Fathers who batter mothers are 2 times more likely to seek sole physical custody of their children than are non-violent fathers." (APA1996, p. 40.)

 “Common Misconceptions in Addressing Domestic Violence in Child Custody Disputes”
SOURCE: Juvenile and Family Court Journal

US Department of Justice: Defending Childhood – US Attorney General Eric Holder – Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence – December 12, 2012

Read the full Report of the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence

American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, Publications

American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, “10 Custody Myths and How to Counter Them”

“Child Development and Wellbeing”

The Liz Library

“Child Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet”
SOURCE: Child Abuse Solutions, Inc.

Father's Rights Movement

















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2019 Connecticut Protective Moms     Stamford, Connecticut