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Fathers and Families

Rethink Domestic Abuse Laws

Dog Protected with Restraining Order

How You Can Reform Family Law
December 28, 2012
Top Story
Rethink Domestic Abuse Laws
By Steve Kropper, Massachusetts Member, Fathers and Families

Steve Kropper
Steve Kropper
Twenty-two years ago, I stopped a knife wielding man as he chased his wife in Dorchester. I did it on protective instinct, and was lucky not to get hurt. Then, the police, prosecutors, and courts did not take domestic abuse cases seriously. Today, the pendulum has swung the other way. Families are broken up as police and prosecutors automatically intervene upon one party’s complaint.

Former Judge Dan Winslow estimates that 95% of all domestic restraining orders are obtained fraudulently. In nine out of ten cases, courts are misled by one party because of mental illness, divorce property disputes, and differences on how to raise children. Judge Winslow is now a Massachusetts state representative.

I believe there are three solutions to the problem:
  • First, eliminate restraining orders that prevent communication between children and a parent. Healing requires communication. One angry parent should not be able to break up a family. And children deserve to keep connections with both parents.
  • Second, eliminate restraining orders based on ONE party’s testimony. For every other crime, both parties have a right to be heard in court. Not in domestic disputes. Every restraining order issued in the Commonwealth was based on ONE angry spouse’s claims, before the accused could respond.
  • Third, State law specifically prevents the accused party from seeking redress for false accusations. The “penalty of perjury” is not applied to false claims of domestic abuse fraud. And it is almost impossible to reverse fraudulent verdicts in domestic abuse.
For every case of domestic violence, nine other families are broken up. Domestic violence is a terrible crime, but we need a thoughtful solution that does not visit past injustice on today’s families.

Note: Steve Kropper wrote and submitted this letter to the editor. It appeared in the Lexington Minuteman. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of Fathers and Families.

Dog Protected with 209A Abuse Protection Order
By Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director,
Fathers and Families

A dog in Marshfield, Massachusetts was the first pet to receive protection from the new Massachusetts state law that allows pets to be included in 209A domestic abuse protection orders. Perhaps the pet’s testimony will be given more credence than the father’s.

The new state law, which became effective on October 31, 2012, gives judges the authority to award possession of the pet to the victim and to order that the abuser refrain from abusing, threatening, taking, interfering with, transferring, encumbering, concealing, harming or otherwise disposing of the animal. The new law is part of the Massachusetts restraining order law, 209A, but the courts' power to issue orders to protect pets may also be exercised in other domestic relations and custody disputes.

How You Can Reform The Family Courts
Ned Holstein, MD, MS Founder & Chairman of the Board

Ned Holstein
Ned Holstein, MD, MS
Founder & Chairman of the Board
Many of our members are passionate about reforming the family courts, but aren’t sure how they can make a difference. There are plenty of simple things anyone can do. For instance, like Steve Kropper, you can write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper on the issues most important to you. This helps remind people of the importance of our cause.

And, there are many other easy ways you can make a difference:
  • Every year recruit three friends to sign up for the once-per-week e-newsletter. There is no financial requirement.
  • Get all family members to join by signing up for the e-newsletter. Parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, new significant other.
  • Take action EVERY time we request it in our emails. It usually requires only sending an email, signing a letter we provide, or making a phone call.
  • Get others to take action EVERY time Fathers and Families requests it.
  • Write letters to editors and contact media even when we don't ask it if you see something pro- or anti-father.
  • If you don't know, find out who your state representative and senator are. Most often you can find out at your state’s website. Otherwise, just call your city hall.
  • Meet with your state representative or senator and educate them about the need for gender equality in family law. Avoid appearing angry.
  • Volunteer to help their campaign at election time. Just a few hours of holding a sign or making phone calls for them will make them more receptive to your concerns.
  • Get two others to do the same. Make sure the campaign knows the name “Fathers and Families.”
  • Tweet our blogs and e-newsletters.
  • Post our blogs and e-newsletters on your Facebook page.
If you are feeling more ambitious:
  • Help Fathers and Families build a chapter in your state to advocate and lobby for reform. We can work with you to make this happen. Forming a Fathers and Families chapter can accelerate reform in your state by years.
Now is the time to make social change. Do it first with your activism and by spreading the word.

In addition to your activism, your gift is one of the most important things that is needed to beat an unjust system. Fathers and Families understands it is a stretch for many of you who have fought the injustice of the system. Still, the members of almost every movement for social change in America were impoverished by the very injustice they fought against, but they found a way to support activism financially. It is unrealistic for people to think that the odious treatment of men (and some women) in the media and in the family courts can be turned around without ample funding.

There is still time to make a tax-deductible gift in 2012 and to give us the financial base to expand our work.

Just go to

At the end of the day, you want to be able to look in the mirror and say, “I did everything I could for my children and for America’s children.”
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Members have contacted Fathers and Families asking how to make gifts directly from their brokerage accounts. If you wish to make your end of the year gift with securities, you may use this form to transfer securities directly to Fathers and Families brokerage account, or you may contact Rita for assistance at 617.542.9300 ext. 3, or email.

Fathers and Families improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting the child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.

Fathers and Families’ vision is a society in which:
  • Children are happier and more successful because their loving bonds are protected after parental separation or divorce:
  • Children have a natural right to be nurtured and guided by both parents:
  • Society treats fathers and mothers as equally important to the wellbeing of their children:
  • Shared parenting after separation or divorce is the norm:
  • The courts arrange finances after separation or divorce so that both mothers and fathers can afford to house and care for their children and themselves: and
  • Our society understands and respects the essential role of fathers.

Fathers and Families is a Shared Parenting Organization
Fathers and Families is a non-profit organization that is educating the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents and extended families. If you would like to get involved in our organization, you can do so several ways. First, we would love to have you as an official member of the Fathers and Families team. Second, Fathers and Families is an organization that believes in the importance of using social media as a means to spread the word about shared parenting and other topics, and you can visit us on our Facebook Page to learn more about our efforts. Last, we hope you will share this newsletter with other families using the many social networking sites so that we can bring about greater awareness of shared parenting. Thank you for your support.

Fathers and Families
Fathers and Families
PO Box 270760
Boston, Massachusetts 02127-0760
(617) 542-9300
[email protected]

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