Court Personnel And Domestic Violence Awareness
To comply with the federal "Keeping Children Safe From Family Violence Act" (federal act), the bill requires courts that hear proceedings concerning the allocation of parental responsibilities involving domestic violence or child abuse, including child sexual abuse, to admit expert testimony and evidence only if the expert demonstrates expertise and experience working with victims of domestic violence or child abuse, including child sexual abuse. The court is also required to consider evidence of past sexual or physical abuse committed by the accused party.
A court shall not remove or restrict contact between a child from a protective party who is competent, protective, not physically or sexually abusive, and with whom the child is bonded or attached solely in order to improve a deficient relationship with the accused party.
The bill provides that a court shall not order reunification treatment (treatment) that is predicated on cutting off the relationship between a child and a protective party with whom the child is bonded and attached. If a court orders treatment, the treatment must be generally accepted and there must be scientifically valid proof of the safety, effectiveness, and therapeutic value of the treatment.
The bill directs the task force created in House Bill 23-1108 to study victim and survivor awareness and responsiveness training requirements to study the training requirements required by the federal act for any judge or magistrate who presides over parental responsibility proceedings.
The bill requires court personnel, including guardians ad litem, representatives of a child, counsel for youth, special masters, mediators, child and family investigators, and parental responsibilities evaluators, to complete no less than 20 hours of initial training and no less than 15 hours of ongoing training every 5 years. The training must focus on domestic violence and child abuse.
A professional trainer is required to conduct the training. The professional trainer shall have substantial experience in assisting survivors of domestic violence or child abuse.
The bill requires the judicial branch to apply to the federal department of justice's office of the attorney general for a grant increase in compliance with the federal act.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)