Victory For Mother Who Fought to Protect Her Children From Abuse
California NOW posted by Rachel Allen September 24 2008
The story of Holly Collins has become a rallying point for the movement to expose the deeply flawed family law system and its failure to protect women and children from family violence.
Collins just returned to the U.S. after 14 years in hiding with her children. She went into hiding with her children following a custody battle that put the children in the custody of an abusive father. Despite warnings from doctors, social workers and psychologists that the children were at risk in their father’s care, the family court judge ordered the children be placed in the father’s custody.
After a year, and continued reports of abuse, Holly Collins-- desperate to protect her children--took the children and fled with them, ending up eventually in the Netherlands. There they were provided with asylum after an international court found it would be too dangerous for the children to return, and Holly was declared a human rights refugee.
When the FBI located the Collins in 2006 to pursue federal kidnapping charges against Holly, the Netherlands refused to extradite her, and the charges were later dropped. But, the local authorities in Minnesota refused to drop the charges.
Then, after constant pressure from politicians, organizations and Jennifer Collins' own efforts, Alan Rosenfeld, Collins' attorney was informed just weeks ago that if Collins came and turned herself in, the charges would be dropped.
This victory would not have happened without the efforts of organizations like Stop Family Violence and the Leadership Council. Without a movement like the one they have led the way on, there will never be justice for abused women and children. The women's movement is a logicalally here, as stopping family violence, and ensuring a just and fair judicial system are critical to women's freedom.
NOW has recognized this and although we do not advocate on individual cases, the National NOW Family Law Ad Hoc Committee provides resources and information for mothers and continues to help inform NOW activists and others about the issues women, especially domestic violence survivors, face in the courts. NOW chapters throughout the country, like CA NOW, work to try to help fight the efforts of the so-called Fathers' Rights Movement (read: the Fathers' Supremacist Movement, part of the right-wing agenda), lobby for legislation, and educate the public and the media about the issues and the facts (the opposite of the sludge Alec Baldwin is currently ignorantly promoting).
This case lets us know our efforts can make a difference.
Read more about the issues on our Family Law Page, including the CA NOW 2002 Family Court Report and the CA NOW e-book Disorder in the Courts: Mothers and Their Allies Take on the Family Law System.