Because the United Nations blasts household courts, a trauma knowledgeable weighs on their impact on kids.
Catherine Kassenoff made it crystal clear. She resorted to an assisted suicide in Switzerland as a result of she endured probably the most heart-wrenching agony a mom can face: shedding her kids.
“I can’t survive this torment and the grief that comes from such a protracted separation from my kids. I’m a 2-time breast most cancers survivor with a brand new dire prognosis that makes persevering with this struggle inconceivable. I proceed to be positioned on supervision, with no various hours every week with my ladies. No overnights, no taking my kids to high school, no bathing them, no internet hosting sleepovers or birthday events, no attending to know their buddies, no holidays, no dwelling with them. I’ve been completely excised from their lives by the courts. And I used to be a terrific and loving mom. “
She wrote this final letter over Memorial Day weekend, and Ms. has confirmed her dying via a number of official sources. In it, she stated the New York household court docket system allowed her husband, who their daughters accused of bodily abuse towards considered one of them, to weaponize the authorized system—taking away her dwelling, job, daughters and in the end her well being. This good, tenacious lawyer’s story has gone viral on social media, the place many have requested: What’s going to occur to Catherine Kassenoff’s three daughters now?
It’s really fairly easy. Their father Allan Kassenoff, who resigned from the legislation agency Greenberg Traurig after a wave of protest towards him following Catherine’s dying, has custody. And, except one thing main occurs like an investigation into his health as a mum or dad, it’s going to stay that method.
“The fact is in Catherine’s absence there may be nothing to actually handle relating to custody,” her lawyer Evan Wiederkehr stated. “The divorce was not finalized so so far as the legislation is worried, it by no means occurred.”
Sure, there may be such a factor as grandparents’ rights in New York state however Wiederkehr is unclear if Catherine’s household will pursue that legally.
Dr. Christine Cocchiola is a coercive management and protecting parenting knowledgeable who, as a clinician and researcher, hears tales of ladies shedding custody of their kids day by day.
“Revenge. It turns into the ultimate weapon utilized by individuals who exert energy and management over others,” she stated. “They’re saying, ‘If I can’t management you, then I’ll use the techniques meant to guard you, to manage you.’”
The courts proceed to make selections that place our most susceptible in hurt’s method, trafficking them into the palms of the coercive controller.
Dr. Christine Cocchiola
Any such “scorched earth” marketing campaign that Cocchiola sees usually—and that Kassenoff stated occurred to her—breaks victims down. It’s not unusual for them to want to liquidate property, to lose their jobs (because of ongoing court docket hearings) and to expertise a decline of their well being combating for his or her children.
Whereas high-conflict perpetrators are sometimes bent on hurting their partner, in actuality, it’s additionally the youngsters who are suffering lengthy lasting trauma.
“When they’re ripped from the care of their protecting mum or dad, they’ve a lack of their major attachment. There really isn’t any larger loss for a kid,” stated Cocchiola. “The analysis is plain. The trauma is critical. But, the courts proceed to make selections that place our most susceptible in hurt’s method, trafficking them into the palms of the coercive controller.”
This week, the United Nations Human Rights Council addressed the unfair therapy of home abuse victims in household court docket. Reem Alsalem, the U.N. particular rapporteur on violence towards girls and ladies, offered the findings of her research “Custody, Violence Towards Ladies and Violence Towards Youngsters” earlier than the council.
“Throughout the context of kid custody instances, there exists multi-layered violence that has but to enter the collective conscience of the worldwide neighborhood as a human rights situation,” she began her remarks saying.
The report recommends that states legislate to ban the usage of “parental alienation idea”—a pseudoscientific premise which is commonly employed by abusers to assert the opposite mum or dad inspired kids to make up the allegations and switch towards them—and consultants who help this concept in household courts around the globe. It additionally really helpful banning reunification camps, locations that declare to treatment parental alienation and restore a baby’s relationship with their “alienated mum or dad”—which, in some instances, might be their abuser.
Alsalem blasted courts’ faulty reasoning that it’s within the youngster’s greatest curiosity to take care of contact with their father below all circumstances: “Essentially the most troubling half is the deliberate orders issued by courts to return a baby to an abusive mum or dad, even when there may be credible proof of abuse, and solely as a result of contact with that mum or dad was thought-about extra vital than every other consideration, together with the security and safety of that youngster.”
This isn’t only a U.S. downside, evidenced in Brazil, the place officers are contemplating a three-year most jail sentence for individuals who interact in “parental alienation.”
The Human Rights Council had blamed “dangerous gender stereotypes and discriminatory gender bias amongst household legislation judges” in its request for submissions on this matter. Catherine Kassenoff’s personal lawyer believed she was judged for her persistence, stamina and want to defend herself. Wiederkehr stated that the court docket considered that perseverance as Catherine being “unhinged.”
“When Catherine took exception to judges and legal professionals saying issues she discovered to be factually flawed, her articulating her objection was considered as proof that they had been proper,” he stated.
“Professional-alienation practitioners usually place a mom’s regular attachment with their kids as one thing pathological and harmful,” stated Natalie Web page, founding father of the advocacy group #thecourtsaid.
It begs the query: Would a person be labeled “unhinged” if he defended himself towards an onslaught of allegations and fought to see his kids?
In Catherine Kasssenoff’s court docket paperwork, which she left for supporters in a Dropbox, the 2020 order granting Allan full custody notes that their daughters requested to reside with their mom. The court docket additionally states that, regardless of these requests, their concern that Catherine had and would proceed to alienate the youngsters from Allan, trumped the women’ want—a transparent prioritization of alleged “parental alienation” over different elements.
In her goodbye letter earlier than taking her personal life Catherine wrote, “The abuser who claimed he was alienated has repeatedly been empowered by the Courts of New York State to alienate me, the protecting mum or dad, from my very own kids. He now seeks to chop off all contact once more.”
Sadly, Catherine didn’t reside to see it, however now the United Nations is taking over the struggle to finish unfair therapy of abuse victims in household court docket. Keep tuned.
Editor’s word: We have now repeatedly contacted Allan Kassenoff, his lawyer and his former employer for remark, in addition to the New York Workplace of Court docket Administration, however they haven’t granted our request for a press release or interview.
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