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Child custody provisions in orders for protection

Legislation should include a provision that grants temporary custody of minor children to the non-violent parent. For example, the law of Bulgaria allows the court to do the following:

temporarily relocating the residence of the child with the parent who is the victim or with the parent who has not carried out the violent act as stake, on such terms and conditions and for such a period as is specified by the court, provided that this is not inconsistent with the best interests of the child. h 1, S. 5 (1) 4

The legislation should contain a presumption that visitation by the violent parent should be supervised, and should not occur if it is against the will of the child.  See: law of Spain; UN Handbook 3.10.8.2, and 3.13; and OFPs and Family Law Issues, StopVAW, The Advocates for Human Rights.

For example, the law of Sierra Leone states that a protection order may contain:

(f)    a provision temporarily-

(i)    forbidding contact between the respondent and any child of the applicant;

(ii)   specifying that contact between the respondent and a child of the applicant, must take place only in the presence and under the supervision of a social worker or a family member designated by the court for that purpose; or

(iii)  allowing such contact only under specified conditions designed to ensure the safety of the applicant, any child who may be affected, and any other family members;
if the court is satisfied that that is reasonably necessary for the safety of the childin question;
Part III 15 (f) (See: law of Namibia)

Drafters should enact separate laws on child abuse rather than attempt to address it within the domestic violence legislative framework.  See United Nations Economic and Social Council, Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting to Review and Update the 1997 Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Report of the Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting to review and update the Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Bangkok, 23-25 March 2009, II 14 (d).