For many years, the NCADV, Battered Mothers Custody Conference and many other domestic violence, professional, educational and community organizations have been privileged to hear Barry Goldstein speak about domestic violence, child custody and related issues. He speaks with a passion and knowledge on these topics that many of us envy and over long years of service to the cause has earned our trust.
As most of you know we have a crisis in the custody court system that has resulted in thousands of children being sent to live with abusers. Too often the courts have responded to justified criticism of their mistakes with retaliation against protective mothers and anyone daring to support them. In January, the NY courts retaliated against Barry by suspending his license for exposing an abusive judge. This involved a case in which the judge gave custody to an abuser and denied any contact between a woman who had been named Dutchess County Mother of the Year and her children. The judge used a certainty standard against the mother and probability standard for the father and jailed her for almost a month when she was seven-months' pregnant because she kept saying objection in order to preserve her right to appeal. Among the charges the court had the nerve to make against Barry was that he said the judge was "biased" and "on the wrong side of history." Their real complaint was that Newsweek and other media used the case as an example of the failure of the court system to protect children from abusers.
Obviously the court was hoping to silence Barry, but he has decided to work full time speaking, writing, consulting, teaching and as an expert witness. If any of you need an expert speaker, I would strongly recommend you consider hiring Barry. He has a diverse group of experiences including 14 years on the board of My Sisters' Place, 10 years as an instructor and supervisor in a NY Model Batterer Program, 30 years as an attorney representing protective mothers and writer of books and articles. This informs his speaking on many issues including domestic violence, child custody. role of men in ending domestic violence, domestic violence in higher education and many related topics.
We are particularly excited about a book Barry is co-editing with Dr. Maureen Hannah, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY. The book includes chapters by over 25 of the leading experts in the US and Canada including judges, lawyers, psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, journalists and domestic violence advocates. Although the writers come from many different backgrounds and disciplines, there is remarkable agreement that custody courts have failed to protect mothers and children in domestic violence cases. We believe the up-to-date research and information in this book has the potential to fundamentally change the broken system. Once this book is published later this year, the existing failed practices will have to be abandoned because they can only be viewed as malpractice. Barry Goldstein is already including this information in his workshops and doing so in ways professionals can hear. You can learn more about Barry's speaking and these issues on his web site http://barrygoldstein.net/ He can be contacted by email Barryg78@aol.com or phone 914-643-3142.
In his first book, SCARED TO LEAVE AFRAID TO STAY, Barry told the story of three children who complained their father was abusing them physically and sexually. Their mother obtained an order of protection and sought custody. The children told the judge, evaluator, their attorney and CPS caseworker what their father did. As happens too often, these "experts" decided the mother was brainwashing the children and threatened to change custody if she didn't stop. Right before the first unsupervised visit, the baby sitter confronted the father in the presence of the law guardian and the father admitted to kissing the girls on their privates. The law guardian immediately filed a motion to stop the visitation. The judge consulted with the evaluator who said the father used bad judgment but there was no reason to stop the visitation. Barry called CPS to report the father's admission. When the judge found out he yelled and screamed at Barry saying CPS already investigated so there was no reason for a new report. The four-year-old was penetrated during the first unsupervised visit. A different caseworker investigated Barry's complaint and found the father's actions were even worse then reported. They filed charges against the father and he never again had anything more than supervised visits. The mother invited the caseworker and Barry for a celebratory dinner after the mother won custody. The children had a name for them. They called them "believers" because they believed the children when all the professionals who were supposed to protect them didn't. Barry Goldstein has received the highest honor someone in the movement to end domestic violence can earn. The children called him a "believer."