Get Help  Get Informed  TAKE ACTION NOW!<!-.->  Give Back
Stop Family Violence is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to organize and amplify our nation’s collective voice against all forms of relationship violence including domestic violence, rape, child abuse, child sex abuse, incest, sexual assault, elder abuse, dating violence, stalking, sexual trafficking and prostitution.  Together we can stop family violence.







  Home > >

Published on October 14, 2005

Professional and Organization Supporters

share this page with a friend
print this page
rate this page
make a donation

Pat Mitchell
CEO Public Broadcasting System
1320 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314

October 17, 2005

Dear Ms. Mitchell:

The following professionals and organizations are writing to express their appreciation to PBS for airing the documentary Breaking the Cycle: Children’s Stories, and helping to expose this tragic injustice in America’s family courts.

The reality is that most parents are good parents and the vast majority of custody matters are settled amicably with the mother being awarded custody. However, roughly 10% of custody cases are contested, and as many as 3/4 of contested custody cases involve domestic violence.  In these contested cases 2 out of 3 times the father wins joint or full custody of the children. Research shows that up to 70% of batterers also abuse the children, and that batterers are up to 9 times more likely to molest their children than non-abusers. In addition to the harm caused to the children in these contested custody matters, the fierce, ongoing legal battles with the batterer are themselves abusive – both emotionally draining and extraordinarily expensive, often leaving the mother destitute.

Part of the reason protective parents lose custody in these contested cases arises from the use of a discredited theory called “parental alienation syndrome” (PAS). On its surface, PAS seems to be a credible theory – it alleges that mothers brainwash their children into reporting abuse so that they can retain custody.  However, the theory is deeply flawed; based on extreme gender bias in not believing women or children’s reports of abuse, and has never met the standard of peer review.  Neither the American Psychological Association, nor the American Psychiatric Association recognize PAS; the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Justices has also rejected the flawed thesis and says it should not be invoked when considering custody matters.  Contrary to some opinions, denouncing PAS is not part of a feminist left wing agenda.  Judith Reisman, a stalwart right wing commentator, has denounced PAS as well. 

Unfortunately, while PAS has been roundly discredited in professional arenas, it still holds sway in America’s courtrooms, largely because of misinformed lawyers and judges.  Your airing of Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories will do a tremendous service helping expose the misinformation regarding PAS and the harm that has befallen countless women and children as a result.

Thank you for airing this important documentary. 


Please use the webform below to indicate your organization or professional support . We will submit your information and comments to PBS and display the information you provide on the Stop Family Violence website. If you don’t want the information displayed on the SFV website, please indicate.

Full Name*: do not show
Title*: do not show
Organization: do not show
City*: do not show
State*: do not show
Org Scope*:
  Join SFVO Mailing List

share this page with a friend                 print this page
rate this page                 make a donation

Stop Family Violence is a project of The Tides Center,
a nonprofit public charity exempt from federal income tax under
section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Stop Family Violence, 331 West 57th Street #518, New York, NY 10019
Web Site Copyright © Stop Family Violence
powered by OCEAN®
Subscribe to Stop Family Violence - get help, get informed, get involved RSS Newsfeed