Our Voices

Six Months Later: An Update From Danielle Pollack And The National Family Violence Law Center

  • By
  • Danielle Pollack

Earlier this year, Danielle Pollack, Policy Manager at the National Family Violence Law Center, hosted a virtual discussion in collaboration with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights entitled “Protecting Women and Children—from Policy to Enforcement.” During the session, Danielle discussed the work of the center, current legislative efforts, and what students could do to defend the rights of individuals caught in the family court nightmare.

Six months later, Danielle is back with an update on the Center’s recent activity and how family court reform is developing. Read the following update from Danielle and where you can, take action and Speak Truth to Power.

The National Family Violence Law Center at GW Law (NFVLC) in Washington D.C. has been busy this summer working to improve outcomes in family courts. In U.S. family courts, children who are at-risk of abuse by one parent are too frequently court ordered into dangerous custody arrangements when a safe parent is available and attempting to protect the child. Such arrangements are in direct conflict to what we know from research about child well-being, and routinely result in exposing the child to preventable prolonged maltreatment, and sometimes filicide at the hands of the abusive caregiver—frequently a person who has a history of dangerous, sometimes criminal, behaviors, which the court considers irrelevant or minimizes when making custody decisions.

In international news, over the past year we at NFVLC provided consultation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls, contributing to her Report which was presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2023. The UNSRVAW Report makes several recommendations to nations which are aligned with and draw from our work on the U.S. family courts—including Kayden’s Law, developed by NFVLC and signed into law by President Biden in 2022.

We at NFVLC have also been busy developing and delivering trainings to family court professionals in collaboration with three partner organizations. The first site was Washington, and the upcoming sites are in New Jersey and Florida. Several more sites will be available over the next two years.

Upon invitation, NFVLC also just presented our work on private custody matters in the U.S. at an important conference held in Hawai’i, organized by the National Center to Advance Peace for Children, Youth, and Families (NCAP) and hosted by Pouhana ʻO Nā Wāhine.

And finally, NFVLC filed an amicus brief on harms to children when domestic abusers have ready access to firearms for a major case now before the Supreme Court, United States v. Rahimi. You can read two first person accounts which we included in the brief, written by surviving protective parents who lost children to filicide by firearm despite having tried to keep their children safe in family court leading up to the child murders.

For more information about the National Family Violence Law Center, please visit their website.