Abuse by Proxy
Doctor Alina Patterson
What is Domestic Violence by Proxy?
Domestic Violence by Proxy (DVBP) is a term I have invented to describe specific tactics used by abusive individuals to continue controlling their victims after they are no longer present. It describes a pattern of behavior I’ve observed many times in my own practice. It consists of using the systems designed to protect the victim in order to continue to abusing them, while projecting the appearance that what they are doing is completely legitimate. These abusers twist the truth and successfully sell it to attorneys, judges, guardians ad litem, custody evaluators, private counselors, parent coordinators and Children and Family Services, just to name a few.
DVBP is often used in family court during custody and visitation litigation. Often, the purpose is to use the children as a tool to “punish” the victim for either leaving the relationship or filing an injunction for protection. It is often confused with a “high conflict divorce,” which is different, because while the former is perpetrated by the controlling individual, the later is carried out by both parties. It is not just a matter of poor communication between parents.
Accusations of Domestic Violence or a request for an injunction are generally the very things that cause victims to loose custody of their children in family court. Professionals often advise victims of domestic violence to leave the environment to protect their children, and when they do, the family court system sometimes punishes them by fulfilling their worst fears.
As a result, DVBP must be stopped in family court.