DV and Family Law

Wednesday, August 23, 2023
9:00 - 11:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time
A Seminar for Family Law Attorneys
On the Zoom Platform

2 Hours MCLEs Available

John Hamel

In disputed child custody cases, allegations of domestic violence are not always supported by the evidence.  While the courts sometimes fail to protect children from abusive parents, in many cases a parent will fabricate or exaggerate claims of abuse in order to gain a custody advantage, an example of Legal and Administrative Aggression (LA), which is in itself a form of psychological abuse and coercive control.  Too often, limitations on visitation and custody are more damaging to a child than whatever type of abuse is presumably prevented. This presentation provides an overview of the current research, so family law attorneys can help parents in ways that are indeed in the “best interests of the child.”   Common myths are debunked, among them the assumptions that domestic violence is a unitary phenomenon, a rigid binary involving "perpetrators" and "victims," characterized by one "cycle of abuse," that it is "gendered," and that it inevitably worsens over time.   

Dr. Hamel provides individual expert consultation to mental health professionals, prosecutors, defense attorneys, victim advocates and others on a variety of issues and topics related to family violence.  His consultation services and court testimony draw upon a broad knowledge of domestic violence research, including numerous original studies in the areas of treatment effectiveness and law enforcement responses, as well as thirty years of experience working with perpetrators and victims of family violence.  Since 2001, Dr. Hamel has consulted with defense attorneys and prosecutors throughout the United States and has given expert witness testimony in both the family court and criminal court.  He has been retained in a variety of misdemeanor and felony cases, including homicide cases, involving male and female perpetrators and victims as well as defendants in same-sex relationships.  The research and ideas presented in this seminar are elaborated more fully in his recent book, co-edited with Brenda Russell, Ph.D., Gender and domestic violence:  Contemporary legal practice and intervention reforms (Oxford University Press, 2022).


John Hamel, Ph.D., LCSW, is a pioneering leader in developing treatment and justice strategies for individuals charged with offenses alleging the perpetration of domestic and interpersonal violence. Understanding the dynamics of relationships where such accusations arise as well as scrutinizing the cogency of prevailing research in the area is critical in reaching reasonable dispositions....that are safe and fair to all involved. Dr. Hamel designs and leads excellent training programs for attorneys and other defense partners, and provides access to invaluable resources and assistance, which help build foundations for high-quality representation of individuals often facing negative bias in the criminal justice system. I would recommend, whenever possible, taking advantage of opportunities to participate in training and collaborate with him in cases involving these complicated issues."

Stephanie Batcheller, Senior Staff Attorney, New York State Defenders Association