Are you a Believer?
By Barry Goldstein
Will you pledge to believe victims of child abuse and domestic violence and strive to protect them from their abusers?
The children called us believers because we believed them when all the professionals who were supposed to protect them didn’t.
Hello, I’m Barry Goldstein and many people ask me how I can keep working on painful abuse cases in which courts often disbelieve true complaints and fail to protect children. The answer might be found in this inspiring story of three brave children who told my client their father was physically and sexually abusing them.
Their mother had made a report to child protective services and asked the family court for custody and a protective order. Initially the children were protected while the investigation proceeded. The children told the child protective caseworker, the judge, their law guardian and the evaluator what their father had done.
Nobody believed them.
As so often happens in child sexual abuse cases, the professionals assumed the children were lying and threatened to take the children from the mother if the complaints continued. The judge even ordered unsupervised visitation to resume the next weekend.
Before the visitation could occur, the father was confronted by the family baby sitter in the presence of the law guardian where he admitted to kissing his daughters on their privates.
The law guardian immediately made a motion to stop the visitation. But The judge consulted an evaluator who said the father used poor judgment and there was no reason to stop the visitation!
The four-year-old was penetrated for the first time during this visitation.
It breaks my heart each time I hear those words.
The child protective agency was presented with a new report based on the father’s admissions. When it was put to the judge, he yelled and screamed at me. “How dare you file a new complaint. They already investigated and found nothing.”
Eventually a new caseworker was assigned who conducted a more thorough investigation and learned the father’s abuse was even worse than we understood. Immediately they filed a complaint against the father and he never again has anything but supervised visitation.
I ask myself, why was it so hard for people to believe?
The mother did eventually win custody and the caseworker and I were able to celebrate with the family. The children had gifts for us, but best of all was the word they used.
They called us believers.
There is no greater honor than to be called a believer.
Who will stop abuse?
Working together Believers can.
Become a Believer today
Some other Believers
Will you join us?
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