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Court Discusses Mothers Who are Subject to Domestic Violence Arent Considered Neglectful to Children


Domestic violence has an expansive effect. It does not just affect the victim but also their children. Abuse of a parent is detrimental to children whether or not they are physically abused themselves. Children who witness acts of violence are more likely to experience delayed development, feelings of fear, depression, and helplessness and are more likely to become batterers themselves.

Three mothers, on behalf of themselves and their children, filed an action against the New York City Administration for Children’s Services because the agency removed their children from them. The mothers were victims of domestic violence and these children, according to the ACS, were removed because the mothers neglected them by exposing them to the abuse.

Laws provide that the City may not penalize a mother who is battered by her partner by separating her from her children if the mother is fit to provide optimal support and care for her children. The City, by separating children from their mothers, is in effect visiting upon the children the sins of their mother’s batterer. In this case, the court found that the ACS did not ensure mothers that they had access to the services she needed in response to her needs as a victim of spousal abuse, and did not return the children promptly after being ordered by the court to do so.

In this case, a district court held that the mothers were not negligent to their child. A mother is negligent when it is shown that the child’s physical, mental or emotional condition has been impaired or is in danger of becoming impaired. A mother is also negligent when the harm to the child is an effect of the mother’s failure to exercise a minimum degree of care in providing the child with proper supervision or guardianship. In this case, it was shown that the mothers were not unwilling or unable to exercise a minimum degree of care toward their children.

A child can be neglected when living in a household plagued by domestic violence. There is neglect when, for example, the mother acknowledged that the children knew of repeated domestic violence by her paramour yet allowed him several times to return to her home; or where the children were exposed to regular and continuous extremely violent conduct between their parents and the children suffers fear and distress as a result of their long exposure to the violence.

Exposing a child to domestic violence is not always neglectful. Not every child exposed to domestic violence is at risk of impairment. And exposure of a child to violence is not presumptively ground for removal. In many instances, removal may do more harm to the child than good.

Laws emphasize on preventive services designed to maintain family relationships rather than respond to children and families in trouble only by removing the child from the family.

Being a victim of domestic violence and losing your children because it is difficult. There are New York Domestic Violence Attorneys who will stand by you and help see you through your case. These Attorneys can argue your side and make sure that you and your loved ones are compensated.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its New York Family Lawyers has offices conveniently located throughout the New York Metropolitan area, including Corona, NY. Our Attorneys can provide you with advice to guide you through your difficult situation. Our Attorneys will may sure you may lose your rights, which may cost you a significant amount of money.

In addition to Domestic Violence Law, Stephen Bilkis and Associates will recommend New York Assault Lawyers who will help you.

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