Episode 19: Lisa Fischel-Wolovick on "Traumatic Divorce and Separation"
On this episode of en(gender)ed, our guest is Lisa Fischel-Wolovick, an attorney who has represented battered women for almost thirty years. She is also the author of numerous publications including her recent book: Traumatic Divorce and Separation: The Impact of Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse in Custody and Divorce, just recently published by Oxford Univ. Press, this past March. Lisa also helped to organize the first Criminal Court that specialized in domestic violence.
Before becoming an attorney, Lisa obtained her Master’s in Social Work and worked in hospital social work which included advocacy and counseling for battered women. Lisa also currently teaching courses in Family Violence and Child Maltreatment at the City University of New York, in John Jay’s Graduate Program in Forensic Psychology.
Lisa speaks with us about her new book and how divorce impacts families differently, especially for those experiencing high-risk factors of domestic violence, mental illness, and/or substance abuse and the risks and harms that they face in the process. We will also explore the recommendations and conclusions she has to improve our family and criminal court systems and practices and policy reforms she believes is necessary to see real, significant, positive change.
In our conversation, Lisa and I touch upon the following topics:
- The difference between domestic violence and high-conflict cases vs. "traumatic divorce and separation"
- The impact of traumatic divorce and separation on survivors and children
- Judith Herman's book, Trauma and Recovery
- How survivors and children from the US Border migrant children crisis and from the US family court crisis are at similar health risks from the trauma of separation
- Lundy Bancroft's book, The Batterer as Parent
- Evan Stark's interest and research into how batterers are using coercive control on children
- The problems with Kelly and Johnson's Typology of Domestic Violence which fail to take into account the history and pattern of coercive control
- The research of Kathleen Kendall-Tackett on how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) from trauma and domestic violence puts children at greater risk of adult illness
- Gender bias in family courts and the task forces that attempted to study it. Legal Momentum has a guide for establishing them.
- Family court gender bias studies from the Voices of Women Organizing Project and from the Wellesley's Center for Women and its report
- The work of Dr. Kathleen Faller and of Viola Vaughn-Eden on how child welfare workers and other professionals should assess child sexual abuse
- Ross Cheit and his book, The Witch Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology and the Sexual Abuse of Children
- Daniel Saunders' study published for the National Institute of Justice/DOJ, entitled, "Child Custody Evaluators’ Beliefs About Domestic Abuse Allegations: Their Relationship to Evaluator Demographics, Background, Domestic Violence Knowledge and Custody-Visitation Recommendations"
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