DV Conference Report #13: ‘I had a 10-year contract but within six months of mentioning female abusers, my contract was canceled’

Sacramento, CA–Background: The historic, one-of-a-kind conference “From Ideology to Inclusion: Evidence-Based Policy and Intervention in Domestic Violence” was held in Sacramento, California February 15-16 and was a major success. The conference was sponsored by the California Alliance for Families and Children and featured leading domestic violence authorities from around the world. Many of these researchers are part of the National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center, which is challenging the domestic violence establishment’s stranglehold on the issue. The NFVLRC promotes gender-natural, research-based DV policies. I have been and will continue to detail the conference and some of the research that was presented there in this blog–to learn more, click here. One of the presenters at the conference was Claudia Ann Dias, MSC, JD, who provides education and training in the fields of substance abuse, family violence, cultural awareness, sexual harassment and communications skills to both public and private sectors. She has been featured on 20/20 and Oprah for her work with male and female family violence perpetrators. Dias (pictured, photo by Kevin Graft) said that she had a 10 year contract with a Sacramento County Jail to counsel newly arrested male domestic violence perpetrators. She says that within six months of mentioning the problem of female abusers and of mutual abuse, her contract was canceled. She had some interesting things to say about the way kids handle domestic violence she says that when kids are four or five years old, they will often try to step between warring parents and stop them from fighting or hitting each other. By age six or seven they begin finding hiding places when mom and dad are fighting. By age 11 or 12 the kids come back out and intervene in the conflict. Sometimes an 11 or 12-year-old child will hide the younger sibling down the hall from where the parents are fighting. Interestingly, Dias says that regardless of who is at fault in the fighting, children will intervene on mom’s behalf. She says it is inherent. One of the significant aspects of this is that because kids will inevitably intervene on behalf of mothers against fathers, even when it is the mothers who are instigating and engaging in abuse, kids often have a skewed and distorted description of the violence. In other words, kids will remember their mom being abused, even if the abuse was mutual, or mom was the real instigator or perpetrator.

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