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Violent potential of abusive partners should trump visitation rights

As a domestic violence survivor and mother, I was horrified by reports of the murder of a 9-year-old boy by his estranged father at a YWCA in Manchester, N.H. However, I was also appalled by the focus on whether a metal detector had been used before the fatal visit (“Man kills son, self at YWCA in N.H.: Questions raised on safety at facility after budget cuts,” Metro, Aug. 12). The focus here should only be on the violent potential of abusive partners.

More than 50 percent of people who abuse their intimate partners also abuse their children. More than 70 percent of domestic violence murders happen AFTER victims have ended the relationship.

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Yet our country’s judges, lawyers, and police officers routinely force children to visit the person who abused their mother and quite often the children as well.

When will attorneys general and family court judges understand how dangerous it is to order parental visits, supervised or unsupervised, with adults who have demonstrated that they are physically abusive? Do a father’s rights include the right to kill his own son?

In order to end domestic violence murders, we need to understand the potential lethality of the situations, and ignore red herrings such as whether a murderer walked through a metal detector.

Leslie Morgan

Steiner

Washington

The writer is the author of the memoir “Crazy Love” and of the 2012 TED Talk “Why Domestic Violence Victims Stay.”

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