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  Ottawa Divorce .com Forums > Main Category > Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Dealing with abuse and violence. Getting support and help.

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 05-04-2006, 06:37 AM
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In cases where family violence is a factor, it's next to impossible to address the power imbalance in mediation because of the history between the parties. I understand that many people believe that there is a difference between the word "abuse" and the words "family violence" and there has long been concern expressed by many that "abuse" is open to interpretation, or that someone can claim they were abused to avoid the mediation process entirely.

Sometimes I wish that people could be a fly on the wall in a mediation session - you would see that power imbalances exist between both parties on different issues - they exist in every single divorce scenario.

- Dad is afraid he will lose the kids
- Mom is afraid she will lose the kids
- Dad is afraid mom will use dad's fear of losing the kids to her advantage and she will bargain on increased spousal or assets by using dad's fear to obtain her goal.
- Mom is afraid that dad will use his economic clout to wear mom down.
- Mom is afraid of becoming impoverished as a result of the divorce.
- Dad is afraid of becoming a weekend dad whose role is simply to pay support.

If these are some of the power imbalances that exist in cases where there is no family violence and these imbalances are a huge challenge to overcome, imagine how hard it might be to overcome the power imbalance when there is a family violence situation?

Family violence also challenges our belief system to it's very core and forces us to contemplate things differently - often we don't care to contemplate the following:

- If someone is an abuser, can they recover from that pattern of behavior?
- If someone is an abuser and they are really working hard to make amends and rebuild their lives, do they have a right to resume a normal parenting role?
- Is a victim of family violence prepared to work in partnership with an abuser who has recovered?

These are very difficult questions. Mediating a settlement where there is no family violence is always a crap shoot - in cases of family violence is it "once an abuser, always an abuser"?

If someone does not wish to participate in family mediation, that is their right. It needs to be a voluntary process because there has to be some degree of good will between the parties if mediation is going to be successful. The concern that primarily women will hide behind the word abuse to avoid mediation is very real, but it should also be noted that there are other dispute resolution mechanism which can be offered that are not mediation and are not litigation.

Jeff would probably agree that in many cases, when mediation is refused or turned down - the parties will often participate in a four-way meeting before going to court and you might be surprised to learn that a four-way meeting can still yield a result that keeps both parties from going to court.

I don't believe that litigation is good for anyone - even a victim of family violence. It is a miserable, miserable experience. So what is the answer?

Personally, I believe that the parent who has committed the acts of family violence needs to step up to the plate and show that he/she has embarked on a very serious and intensive recovery process. And I am not talking about simply participating in an anger management program either... that person needs to show he/she has done the following:

- Attends counselling on a regular basis
- Attends family violence prevention programs and services
- Attends divorce education
- Attends parent education
- Attends programs/services that address his/her at-risk behaviors.

If that person can show that he/she has done these things and can articulate a clear vision of why their behaviors were wrong, recognition of how it impacts their former spouse and children and specifically, how their behaviors have improved - then maybe, maybe they can be given another shot.
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:04 AM
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Thanks for all the great post's....it helps!

My ex was charged,spent some time in jail and is now on probation for his actions. My kids are teenagers and so I do not have to worry about visitation, they go if they want to.
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:04 PM
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Jeff or anyone......

What is "claim in tort law for damages for the assault."
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Old 05-04-2006, 06:26 PM
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Assault and battery is a longstanding tort for which damages can be sought against the perpetrator. Note that while criminal remedies seek to address the perpetrator's conduct, civil remedies under tort seek to financially compensate the victim for damages suffered
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Old 05-05-2006, 12:52 AM
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I can't imagine how mediation could work well in a domestic violence situation, save perhaps if the victim had had enough time and counselling (either formal, through friends and family, or combined) to have healed emotionally. Ingrained fears and roles are VERY difficult to overcome, in my experience, and even if a person had managed a significant amount of healing and progress, I would think being back in the presence of the abuser would be very conflicting.

Denisem, my heartfelt sympathies for you and your kids. That's an awful thing for all of you to have had to deal with.
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:09 PM
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Default Well I was a victim of mental abuse

In the settlement conference, and with an ability to start standing up for myself. I listened. He then put a good deal together. I accepted. Now I just have to wait if he is going to hold up to his word and I got a lawyer and the courts to do that and I am getting better.
I can't wait for karma to hit him and his new partner in the ass. I lost everything including a friendship with my adult sons, but oh well. I am better off being alone than having them in my life.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlanticcanadian View Post
...I am better off being alone than having them in my life.
Hard to imagine
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:42 AM
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Trust me even harder to live with
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:19 AM
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i am a survivor of domestic violence, me and my 3 small children fled in 2007, by august 2010 my X was still doing things like sending me pictures of tombstones with caption 'smile, thinking of you';

calling her lawyer advisarial was also an understatement;

high conflict = yes, not a receipee for mediation - though i probably couldnt have done any worse than i did with a judge;
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