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May 7th 2015, 1:57 AM

Show April 2nd 2015 : The scourge of Parental Alienation

With special guest: Stan Korosi

Stan Korosi was dragged unwillingly into the world of parental alienation when after separation and divorce he found his own child had inexplicably become hostile towards him and even his extended family. When he looked for help from legal practitioners and health professionals in Australia he found that little was known. Many in the field would not even admit that parental alienation existed. Looking further afield he fo…
Forum post of the week

September 20th 2015, 1:17 AM

Awarded to: Secretary SPCA.

Domestic Violence - The Wrong Solution, for the Wrong Group of People, in the Wrong Place, and at the Wrong Time.

Domestic Violence - The Wrong Solution, for the Wrong Group of People, in the Wrong Place, and at the Wrong Time.
  A thoughtful paper published by Christoper Smith Consultant Lecturer at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT)


The Wrong Solution, for the Wrong Group of People, in the Wrong Place, and at the Wrong Time.

2. Executive summary.
6. Undisputable Empirical Evidence.
Personal Background Views.
Collision of Ethics and Human Rights.
Bibliography. 12
Appendix 1. 14
Domestic Violence Initiatives - a more rational iteration. 14
Definition of Terms. 17

Executive summary

1) The adversarial DV system we adopted came from Duluth Michigan in the 80's.
2) Duluth was a poorly researched and faulty proposition from the get go.
3) It fails everywhere it is implemented and seems to escalate the issues rather than assist solving them.
4) Mandating Duluth DV programmes through the Justice system is a failure of Ethics and Patient rights.
5) Conventional Counselling is the best way to deal with this situation, and more appropriate than a legalistic solution.
6) Duluth is unfortunately bound up with Gender Bias and Women's rights advocacy, something that is regretful given its unscientific beginnings and is viewed as a political solution rather than a scientific solution of best practice.
7) About 3% of relationship disintegrations are actually toxic, but by having an adversarial system poised to criminalise 97% of people in genuine times of stress and distress is a grave disservice for the greater good.
8) The unpalatable facts are that DV is 50% originated by Women, something the Gender Political advocates refuse to accept and continue to argue for more research to be able to justify their own Biases and Assumptions about the problems.
9) A return to Mandatory Quality Relationship Counselling, which we only ever got part way along before being side tracked by Duluth, is probably the best practice solution a government could offer for the greatest good of the population it represents. 
10) It isn't just a matter of repealing the Justice Department programmes, its removing the legislation that supports the Duluth programme that we have implemented over the years, and de-escalating the conflict over gender that should be our focus.


According to The Wiki Entry for Duluth (Wiki various, 2015) The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) was mostly an experimental product of Ellen Pence and Michael Paymar in the mid 1980’s, attempting to synthesise  a solution to Domestic Battering based on a sample of 5 women and 4 men.
Using a dogma fitting of a Cultist Religion, as will be detailed, they proceeded to develop a front line programme that basically replaced Couples Counselling where ever it was implemented.
To her credit Ellen Pense acquiesced before her death, stating --- (Wiki various, 2015)
"By determining that the need or desire for power was the motivating force behind battering, we created a conceptual framework that, in fact, did not fit the lived experience of many of the men and women we were working with. The DAIP staff [...] remained undaunted by the difference in our theory and the actual experiences of those we were working with [...] It was the cases themselves that created the chink in each of our theoretical suits of armor. Speaking for myself, I found that many of the men I interviewed did not seem to articulate a desire for power over their partner. Although I relentlessly took every opportunity to point out to men in the groups that they were so motivated and merely in denial, the fact that few men ever articulated such a desire went unnoticed by me and many of my co-workers. Eventually, we realized that we were finding what we had already predetermined to find."[16]
Critics of the DAIP such as Professor Donald Dutton, an early adopter of the programme but quickly appalled by its structure and biases reports (Wiki various, 2015)  "The Duluth Model was developed by people who didn't understand anything about therapy,"[9] and also points out that "lesbian battering is more frequent than heterosexual battering." [14]
Dutton concludes in his work (Dutton, 2006) “The bureaucrat/activists of certifying agencies and “batterer” treatment programs have become “true believers,” disregarding research that does not support their views (Dutton & Nicholls, 2005). They are enthralled with the power that comes with having one's philosophy hold sway and the control they feel from influencing criminal justice policy. Ironically, they often attribute these very “power and control” motives to abusive men. There is no other explanation for resisting treatment that would disprove their philosophy but make the lives of women safer. Is time to relinquish this hegemony of policy and allow the treatment of abusive men, women, and families by professionals who can make clear judgments about appropriate treatment (e.g., couples therapy, family therapy, and group therapy for one or both of the couples' members) and end the current dysfunction in criminal justice process. Treatment modalities exist that show great promise but are not tried for political reasons. Psychologists, social workers, and other helping professionals have not only a broader array of research-based behavioral change technologies available to them, but also a commitment to rigorous codes of ethics. These codes of ethics may vary in the details, but all leave no doubt as to the primacy of human dignity, growth, and safety.”
He goes on to point out in the paper on (Dutton C. W., 2009)  “In the face of overwhelming countervailing evidence, why does this mandated model persist? There is no scientific reason why causal explanations of domestic violence and the principles of perpetrator treatment should exist outside the biopsychosocial framework used to understand and address contemporary mental health and social problems. The political issues in the policy framework “trump” the science to a greater degree than perhaps in most other social problems. Perpetrators are consistently demonized and vilified in such a fashion so as to make them appear unworthy of a broader range of services (e.g., as in comparison to parents who physically assault their children).
The Duluth Model is clearly at odds with the codes of ethics of the various mental health professions as regards obligations to provide evidence-based or effective treatments. Ethical questions arise in the areas of responsibilities to use professional judgment, to use scientific bases of knowledge for analysis and assessment, and to respect client’s autonomy and dignity.” Elsewhere he describes Duluth as “pseudo-science and tautological nonsense”, and others describe it openly as “The Cult of Duluth” or a “data impervious and failed paradigm”.
Aficionados of Duluth even go so far as to excuse the failed results on poor implementation (Herbert, 2009) or any other myriad of excuses of its non-performance. This paper is a predictor of forward failures to implement future changes in a multi-disciplinary setting, even if the Minister decides to fly in the face of good science and yield to a minority of vociferous pressure groups. The PHO GP interface is a well-known and credible extant service delivery organisation and coordination vehicle that is available now the Ministry to implement any enlightened change of programme style and delivery and monitoring requirements, obviating the need to construct a new collaborative effort that will likely succumb to the issues listed by Herbert.
Placing a better solution, such as Early Relationship Counselling in a better place, by GP front line services, at a better time, that of medical consultation and for ancillary services such as Pre and Post Natal care, immunisations etcetera, opens the opportunity for dialogue, with the population in need, and is surely the candidate for a science based, intelligent outcome of this review.

Undisputable Empirical Evidence

Dr Patrick Kelly of StarShip Hospital was reported in January 2015 to have said that “The majority of children admitted to the StarShip Hospital as the result of suspected abuse or neglect are under 1 year old.” (Leask, 2015). It is clear to the author that this vulnerable group is best reached via GP and PHO services, not via the Ministry of Justice.
To further qualify “Dr Kelly said the perpetrator of the abuse was "very variable".
"Like most centres, our anecdotal experience is that male offenders are more common than female offenders, and non-biologically related males - 'stepfathers' - are disproportionately represented," he said.
"However, with very young infants the offender sometimes cannot be reliably identified, and in very young infants the mother can often be the offender, particularly if there are issues like postnatal depression."
DV is not a simple issue and is bound up with many other parameters. The best practitioners to identify and assist are Medical Professionals, not ideologues hell bent on a Gender Based Power and Control paradigm that was admittedly a fictional invention of some very zealous cult like believers conducting early non-scientific investigations into the issue.
The Ministry of Justice is simply the wrong place to be operating frontline DV programmes.
By all means enable an escalated response network for offenders as considered by Mental Health in conjunction with a MOJ perspective. We probably have the vital pieces of this in place already but choose to ignore it as a solution.


Across the Tasman the convener of the Shared Parenting Counsel of Australia has been lamenting gradual erosion of the gains that the organisation had made for many couples and their children in times of stress. (Butler, 2015). A few years ago in a discussion with him over his enthusiasm about a new Dimensions Dynamics Paper offering “Evidence Based Research”, the author pointed out that this was just the same old Wolf , the Duluth Model, dressed up in Sheep’s clothing as a quick look at the first few pages listing the so called “Myths of DV “ quickly confirmed. Unfortunately this document has held sway and is ushering in a similar deterioration of the DV Court system in Australia’s implementation for the reasons listed by Wayne in the article. (Violence, 2010). Butler rightly argues “There needs to be a fundamental and major paradigm shift in the way Family separation is dealt with… including a start-up presumption of equally shared parenting time where there is no proven physical violence, or a look at using the AAT to handle less serious matters where contact is sought.” (Butler, 2015)
Coincidentally DV was targeted as a Social problem about the same time as the AIDS/HIV epidemic broke in the late 80’s. One option to deal with this HIV issue would have been a strictly Legalistic punitive programme, similar to the Duluth Model for DV that we adopted at the time, but appropriately realised by Health Care professionals this would have driven the problem underground and made any efforts to address its spread pointless. The widely known and accepted methodology of openness, education and empathy from health care professionals in essence abated what could have been a far more damaging social disease.
Christina Batistich of AUT made the comparison of the overtly Gender Biased Blame and Shame Duluth mode we adopted for DV Interventions as opposed to the AIDS/HIV education programme and questioned the efficacy and premise for ever embarking on this choice in her paper (Batistich, 2004). So we have good independent local corroborating opinion for Dutton’s clear statements mentioned above. Unfortunately at least 10 more years of paralysis and capitulation to the existing DV systems call for ever tighter legislation and harsher penalties has held sway instead of a genuine scientific approach to the issue.
Reading through the current call for review it is obvious that the previous Minister has held in abeyance the usual shrill excuses of insufficient funding, not enough research, the “need” to criminalize behaviours and a whole host of other attitudes that collide with human rights and social science. Basically throwing more and more resource and ever tightening specifications and creating new offences, such as partial strangulation, as the only new output of years of so called research is akin to a “Ponzi scheme”, with no return on the investment capital ever to eventuate. Newspaper reports congratulate the current Minister for having the fortitude to go ahead with “strengthening the current system”. The congratulations are of course solely from the hard core cult of true Duluth believers running a “Policy by press release” style campaign.

Personal Background Views

The author’s entanglements with the “DV” system were simply by a chance disintegration of a relationship. Recognising the cultist overtones and irrational tautologies of the officers and representatives of the system the author was motivated to follow along the fundamental underlying historical and cumulative factors he believes lead to this collide of science and belief. Lord Macaulay spoke of this social decay in his 1840 essay “When the New Zealander Comes” and the opinion piece of the same name (Smith, 2010) and a follow on piece (Smith, The Psychological Womb) expands on these ideas, specifically looking at the United Nations Human rights charter deficiencies and the rise of Suicides in the general Male population coincident with the implementations of the current DV model.
Having worked in the Medical Imaging field for 10 years during the 1980s and being involved in diagnostic equipment, supporting research efforts of Clinicians, observing the fallout of Herbert Green’s work with Carcinoma in Situ, as well as the “Cot death debacle” and the overall introduction of Ethics of Informed consent, the author also wrote an opinion piece about Evidence Based Practice concerning DV (Smith, An Even More Unfortunate Experiment, 2011).
 Collision of Ethics and Human Rights
The background Piece, (Smith, WCTU and the IBSA, similar beginnings but unintentional outcomes , 2015) looks at Francis Willard’s Temperance Union, steeped in Religious Ideology and as the spiritual birthing organisation of modern Feminism. Many of the biases and attitudes are still able to be observed in the modern day manifestations of Women’s groups. The author experienced the IBSA as a modern incarnation in his youth but abandoned it on rational grounds, however the knowledge of Hayden Covington’s landmark Human rights cases with the US Supreme court was part of the ”lore” of this religion, even though in no way shape or form were any of these freedoms to be communicated to its adherents. It’s a similar situation to the promulgators of the Duluth model today, the facts will never get in the way of the ideology and control of the issue.
The Same Sex Marriage legislation in the USA, and hence by association NZ, is a direct decedent of the Minerville Gobitas children Flag Saluting judgement by the Supreme Court during WW2 as noted in the piece. (Smith, WCTU and the IBSA, similar beginnings but unintentional outcomes , 2015). JW’s don’t vote, aren’t at all approving of same sex unions, just as the WCTU isn’t, so these “hard won rights” pass right over the comprehension of the average believer. The piece on (Smith, Why Supporting Gay marriage will help resolve DV issues, 2013) points the way to myth of Gender based DV paradigms and predicts that the opening up of human rights of choice of partner will eventually spill over to rectify the current Gender based DV programmes we currently endure.
Nearly 10 years ago the so called “anti-smacking” Legislation promulgated by Sue Bradford has passed, and this was supposed to usher in a new age of behaviours and align with the UN Women’s rights programmes, and directly address DV issues in society. No measurable effect on the statistics of injury or death are detectable. Increased visibility of the issues without resolution is the only outcome of this dreary episode. It was a step in the wrong direction as a Legalistic punitive regulation ethos rather than enabling a treatment based approach.
In the mean time we observe recycled “Death Watch Committee” calls for criminalisation, more and more resources and money, ever constricting definitions of abuse, a complete lack of Ethical standards of treatment or consideration of rights to treatment. Anything but abandoning the “failed paradigm” and implementing Early Quality Relationship counselling delivered by the PHO, GP based social interface that works well now for the country for General Medicine, where it should have been operating since the 1980’s.


These documentary and electronic resources are included in a *.zip file sent with this document.
Batistich, C. (2004). Breaking the Silence; A critical Analysis of Inergrating a Community level model within a Domestic Violence public awareness campaign in New Zealand. Auckland.
Butler, W. (2015, August 24th). A sickness has fallen on the Family Court System. Retrieved from Linkedin:
Dutton, C. &. (2006). Transforming a Flawed Policy; A call to revive Psychology and Science in Domestic Violence Research and Practice. Aggression and Violent Behaviour, 475 - 483.
Dutton, C. W. (2009). Do Duluth Model Interventions With Perpetrators of Domestic Violence Violate Mental Heath Professional Ethics ? Ethics and Behaviour, 323 - 340.
Herbert, R. (2009). Implementing Government Strategies for complex Social Problems. Policy Quarterly.
Leask, A. (2015, January 13th). NZ Herald. Retrieved from
Nicols, D. a. (n.d.). The Gender Paradigm In Domestic Violence: Research And Theory by Donald G. Dutton and Tonia L. Nicholls.
Smith, C. (2010). When the New Zealander Comes. Christchuch.
Smith, C. (2011). An Even More Unfortunate Experiment. Christchurch.
Smith, C. (2013). Why Supporting Gay marriage will help repolve DV issues. Christchurch.
Smith, C. (2015). WCTU and the IBSA, similar beginnings but unintentional outcomes . Christchurch.
Smith, C. (n.d.). The Psychological Womb. Christchurch.
Violence, A. F. (2010). Dimensions, Dynamics and Impact of Family Violence. Canberra, ACT, Australia.
Wiki various, W. (2015, 09 15). Duluth Model. Retrieved from Wikipaedia:

Appendix 1

Email to Amy Adams

Domestic Violence Initiatives - a more rational iteration.

Dear Amy Adams,
I'm writing to you directly in response to a recent NZ Herald article by Catriona Maclennan regarding DV initiatives, funding and strategy and your recent media comments about reviewing DV and its jurisprudence responses. I have previously contributed to Owen Glenn's review and made submissions to Paula Bennett's call for white papers in her role as Minister of Social Development as well as submissions to the local Family Court.
The seminal document I would hope you find time to review, linked immediately below, is this by Dutton, Corvo and Chen, looking at the nature of DV programmes and questioning their efficacy, ethics and scientific basis.
I do lecture research methods for a tertiary Institute and am following issues such as this as examples for students on how quality research is either manipulated, ignored, side lined, disputed and eventually overruled by public opinion, by pressure groups or expediency, despite the very comprehensible and widely understandable recommendations and observations that it offers.
I use the analogy of a person walking along a beach at the bottom of a cliff asking the partly dead and mangled bodies how their respective falls may have been assisted, large mattresses to land on ?, balloons to hold or small parachutes ?, softer sand ? and never bothering to look up and realize the fence at the top had been allowed to become dilapidated through disinterest, lack of funding or torn down through sheer ignorance if its purpose. 
Agencies such as Women's Refuge, Police, and Lawyers asking for Judges for protection orders are all good people, but fixated on carnage, wandering among the pile of bodies prostrated and near lifelessness after their calamity, never bothering to lift their gaze to the long dismantled fence of Early Quality Relationship Counselling. Dutton makes this point in his volumes of research and documents how he was an early adopter of the road you seem to be intent to pursue, I'm guessing based on your policy advisers, but can I please ask you to review his and his colleagues work and consider the issue from the Psychological and Scientific point of view, where the greatest affectation of simple and practical policies can be achieved. I imagine he would be gladly available as a consultant for your perspective and greater understanding of the issues, if you were to directly approach him.
 To quote Dutton 
"The current best evidence clearly does not support investing substantial public funds in the continuation, let alone the mandating, of the standard DV program model. In the face of overwhelming countervailing evidence, why does this model persist? There is no scientific reason why causal explanations of DV and the principles of perpetrator treatment should exist outside the biopsychosocial framework used to understand and address contemporary mental health and social problems. In some sense, then, the political issues in the policy framework "trump" the science to a greater degree perhaps than in most other social problems. 

Perpetrators are vilified in such a fashion so as to make them appear unworthy of a broader range of services (e.g., as in comparison to parents who physically assault their children; Corvo & Johnson, 2003). There are few advocacy groups to put pressure on legislatures for legal or regulatory change. In short, within the existing policy framework of mandated interventions, there is a lack of political support to reframe the issue so that implementing an evidence based approach becomes feasible. Whatever benefits to violent families that may result from improved, evidence-based practice await a more rational iteration of the policy framework."
Christopher Smith, consultant lecturer at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) said

My hope is that you will entertain a more rational iteration.
 yours sincerely
 Christopher Smith 

Definition of Terms

AAT                       Administrative Appeals Tribunal ( of Australia )
DAIP                      Domestic Abuse Interventional Project
DV                          Domestic Violence
Duluth                   The originator of the current Domestic Violence programme in NZ.
GP                          General Practitioner
PHO                       Primary Healthcare Organisation
SPCA                     Shared Parenting Council of Australia

Last edit: by OneRingRules

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