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San Rafael, CA--"These data, drawn from a nationally representative sample rather than from a pre-selected sample...give a very different picture of risk to children than that presented by the sources cited on the ABA Website." The American Bar Association (ABA) has set out to help divorcing women who make allegations of domestic violence or child sexual abuse against their husbands during custody battles. The ABA's publication "10 Myths About Custody and Domestic Violence and How to Counter Them" was produced to counter many of the arguments put forth by shared parenting advocates, fatherhood activists, and dissident domestic violence experts. According to the ABA, "Lawyers who represent victims of domestic violence in custody matters often encounter these common myths. This one-page tip sheet provides facts and recent statistics for use in litigation." To read the ABA's publication, click here. Three leading domestic violence experts are examining the ABA's report in an upcoming article in the academic journal Aggression and Violent Behavior. The publication and authors have which given me permission to publish excerpts from it. "The Gender Paradigm in Domestic Violence Research and Practice Part II: The Information Website of the American Bar Association" is authored by Donald G. Dutton of the University of British Columbia, Kenneth N. Corvo of Syracuse University, and John Hamel, a batterers' treatment provider in San Rafael, California. In one section, the authors discuss incidence of child abuse. Dutton/Corvo/Hamel write:
To provide some baseline general population incidence data on this issue, two large scale studies have found the following. A huge (135,573) and nationally representative study of child abuse allegations was made by the National Clearinghouse on family Violence in Canada (Trocme et al., 2001). Substantiation rates in general ran from 52 to 58%. Biological mothers were more likely to commit physical child abuse (47 vs. 42%), emotional maltreatment (61 vs. 55%), and neglect (86 vs. 33%). Compared to biological mothers, biological fathers were more likely to commit sexual abuse (15 vs. 5%). These data, drawn from a nationally representative sample rather than from a pre-selected sample of women from a shelter house or men from a treatment group, give a very different picture of risk to children than that presented by the sources cited on the ABA Website. The gender of the substantiated child abuse perpetrator in the general population is more likely to be female and the allegation/substantiation ratio is higher (1/2) than that obtained in custody cases (about ¼), suggesting that false allegations may more frequently be made in the latter. This "different view' of the gender of the perpetrator is echoed by the even larger sample of child abuse perpetration in the 2004 US Department of Health and Human Services study. In their national study of risks to children (n = 718,948), 57.8% of the perpetrators were women and 42.2% were men. Mothers were involved in 51% of child fatalities; fathers in 38.6%. Large sample studies without a gender-political agenda paint a very different picture than the small sample cherry-picked results available on the ABA website.

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