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This column highlights a joint initiative of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and the Family Violence Department of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (FVD/NCJFCJ) to create a dialogue between family court stakeholders and the domestic violence advocacy community to help family courts better serve victims and children exposed to domestic violence. This joint initiative is significant because AFCC and FVD/NCJFCJ address the problem of domestic violence and the family court from different perspectives and with different constituencies. The FVD/NCJFCJ has a long history of partnering with leaders in the domestic violence advocacy community and serving as a catalyst for important advances in this area. AFCC is a leader in the movement to develop alternatives to litigation for parents and children in family court, especially mediation, parenting coordination, custody evaluation and parent education.1 The joint AFCC-FVD/NCJFCJ initiative culminated in a conference in February 2007 at the Johnson Foundation conference center outside of Racine, Wis., commonly called Wingspread and designed by the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wingspread Conference participants included experienced representatives from the family court judiciary and other court professionals, domestic violence advocates, representatives from a variety of professions that operate in the family court system, and academics from law and social science. They engaged in dialogue about domestic violence and the family court in small facilitated groups for several days. The result of the dialogue is a conference report drafted by coreporters professors Nancy Ver Steegh of William Mitchell Law School and Clare Dalton of Northeastern Law School currently available on the AFCC Web site.2 The Wingspread Domestic Violence and Family Courts Conference Report will be published in the July 2008 Family Court Review along with detailed articles by participants in the Wingspread Conference. The result will be a state-of-the-art publication about where we are, and where we should be going to help family courts help families experiencing domestic violence.3 This column attempts to summarize a few of the major themes of the Wingspread Domestic Violence and Family Courts Conference Report, especially as they relate to children. An obvious limitation must be stated at the outset: the subject is too complex and too important to be comprehensively addressed in this short column. All I can accomplish is to encourage readers to review the entire report and the July 2008 Family Court Review issue. Another critical limitation must also be stated at the outset. The differentiation of domestic violence and parenting arrangements that the Wingspread Domestic Violence and Family Courts Conference Report discusses, briefly summarized below, is a conceptual framework not yet supported by comprehensive or conclusive empirical evidence. It is a foundation for future family court research and development, the fundamental recommendation of the Wingspread Domestic Violence and Family Courts Conference Report. The philosophy of differentiation cannot be safely implemented in individual cases at this time by overwhelmed family courts lacking resources to make the sophisticated determinations the framework requires. A Differentiated Problem Most of us think of a perpetrator of domestic violence as a male batterer or stalker who inflicts physical violence as part of a campaign to intimidate and control a female victim. Such batterers do exist and are a very real and very lethal threat to women and children. A fundamental theme of the Wingspread Domestic Violence and Family Courts Conference Report, however, is that violence between intimate partners is not all motivated by control and intimidation and is not all initiated by males. Rather, violence between intimates has different meanings and future safety risks depending on its history and context. The report states:

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