Victims of Violence Want California Courts to Prioritize Child Safety in Custody Cases

In late February, a Sacramento man shot and killed his three young daughters during a court-ordered supervised visit at a church that their mother had asked a judge not to approve.

A Los Angeles man is serving 25 years to life in prison for suffocating his 5-year-old son to death in his car seat in 2017, a move he admitted was to punish his estranged wife, the boy’s mother, who was fighting for full custody.

Earlier this month, a 6-year-old boy and his mother were killed at their Baldwin Park home in a shooting that police say was connected to a domestic dispute with her boyfriend.

In the aftermath of these and other tragedies, domestic abuse survivors — including the mothers of slain children — are pushing for reform of the California family court system when it comes to custody and visitation proceedings. In numerous cases, they say, judges and mediators dismissed their requests and ignored warning signs about violent spouses and guardians.

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