Domestic Violence, Abuse, Child Custody and an American family in the Netherlands


National Alliance to End Domestic Abuse
Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody Webinar

Join us as we hear Jennifer Collins, who at age 7, was abused by her father and ran away with her mother and siblings to the Netherlands to avoid being placed in the custody of her abusing father. Listen to her story and learn of the travails she and her family endured in order to escape the court ordered custody given to her father. Jennifer’s story does not seem real. How could her visitation supervisors ignore her cries for help?  How could the courts give custody of her to the father that had kicked, strangled and beaten her repeatedly? How could she and her mother and siblings be put in jail? Listen as Jennifer tells us her story and learn how after 14 years of  living abroad in anonymity, Jennifer and her family are now preparing to re-enter the United States. Jennifer’s story is one of many who show how our courts have failed battered children by returning them to their abusers.

Leading the discussion, Mo Therese Hannah, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Siena College in Loudonville, New York; Psychotherapist; Co-editor of Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody: Legal Strategies and Policy Issues; Chair for 8 years of the annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference (BMCC) helps us understand how domestic violence professionals; advocates, attorneys and social workers can help battered women and their children as they face contested child custody cases in family court.


What you will learn?

  • What indicators of domestic violence and child abuse are common in contested child custody cases?
  • Why do abusive men seek custody of their children?
  • What does the research say about the effects on children of witnessing domestic violence?  Of being legally separated from a protective mother?
  • Why have accusations of “parental alienation” become so commonly used against protective mothers?  How should attorneys for battered mothers respond?


Who should attend?

This comprehensive and innovative learning experience is for attorneys • social workers • therapists • DV service providers and advocates • children’s advocates • child protection workers • child abuse service providers • scholars who work on intimate partner violence, child abuse, child custody, or family law policy • physicians • nurses • physician assistants • nursing and medical students • practicing healthcare providers.
Co-sponsored by The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world with 152,000 members and 56 chapters in the United States and abroad. One CE contact hour is available for social workers; instructions will be given on the call.

CEUs available free to National Alliance members. Non-members may receive one free CEU. Attendees may apply after the webinar.

Pre-registration is necessary to participate.

Questions? Email Geri Elias at

One thought on “Domestic Violence, Abuse, Child Custody and an American family in the Netherlands

  1. I think the judges are the ones who should take special classes prior to handing down verdicts in child abuse cases. They should spend many hours watching videos of what happens with children when they are being abused by their parents. Judges watching educational videos before offering their verdicts would be a total aberration but I think it’s the only way for them to think reasonably.

    Men want to have custody of their abused children because it is a way of being in control. For them it is about control. If they have the children, they know that we mothers will do everything they want us to do to prevent further damage.

    An abused child’s life is ruined. It is a lie that abused children can manage to overcome their abuse. The child will always have that memory in their lives. Even as they begin to live a normal life, the abuse will continue to be a stigma.

    I know many people who have been sexually abused in their childhood who have been to therapy. They appear to live a normal life, but in reality it isn’t a completely normal life. What happened to them causes mental health problems occasionally. From time to time, they remember what had happened when they were little and there is nothing they can do to change the fact that the abuse occurred.

    There is no justification for a judge to send an innocent child to live with a father who has done so much damage.

    I can not understand why this happens in a country like the United States where people supposedly live freely and where they are also supposedly free to choose where and with whom they live.

    I am preparing, at some point to go back to the U.S. with my child, however, that will be when we are sure that no judge will try to separate us. It will be a time when no judge will try to force my child to live with someone who has already caused my child to suffer so much.

    As a mother I am obliged to ensure a decent life for my child with love and respect. It is my duty to protect and give my child a healthy life without people around who want to harm my child’s innocence. For now, I just keep fighting from overseas for a better future for my child and for other children who are suffering so much.

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