Home > Special Conferences & Programs > Co-Occurrence of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse/Neglect; and the Impact on Children

Thank you for your participation!

NJ Department of Children and Families
New Jersey
Task Force on
Child Abuse and Neglect

2012 Biennial Child Protection Skill Building Conference:

Co-Occurrence of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse/Neglect;
and the Impact on Children

Morning Session
The Battered Mother’s Dilemma:
Reframing Child Maltreatment in the Context of Coercive Control

Keynote Speaker: Evan Stark, PhD, MSW

Over the last decade, a new framework has been developed to understand, assess and respond to women and children in cases of domestic violence. Participants in this training will be introduced to this new framework—the COERCIVE CONTROL model of abuse; challenged to rethink domestic violence and how it harms children; and given a set of conceptual and practical tools to improve their capacity to identify, assess, ameliorate and prevent child abuse and neglect in cases where a mother is also being harmed.

After attending this one-day conference, you will be able to:

  • Look “beyond violence and injury” to identify and assess partner abuse;

  • Recognize the five tactics that comprise coercive control;

  • Rethink risk assessments in the context of coercive control;

  • Appreciate the “battered mother’s dilemma,” “child abuse as tangential spouse abuse,” and “mothering through domestic violence;” and,

  • Learn how empowerment & building resiliency can improve outcomes in dual victim cases.

Afternoon Session
Panel Discussion

Evan Stark, PhD, MSW will lead a panel of experts from the DV community in discussing roles and responsibilities, current needs and necessary next steps. Participant Q&A encouraged! Panel members include:

  • Lisa von Pier, M.Div., Director, DCF, Division of Family and Community Partnerships

  • Francine Scott, Deputy Director, DCF, Division of Child Protection and Permanency

  • Michael Palmer, PhD, LPC, Healthmark Counseling, LLC

  • Christine Heer, JD, MSW, LCSW, DVS, CMFSW, Seton Hall University, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

  • Thomas Dilts, Judge, Superior Court (Retired), Superior Court of New Jersey, 1991-2011

About Evan Stark, PhD, MSW

Dr. Evan Stark, Keynote SpeakerEvan Stark is a forensic social worker, a widely published author and an award-winning researcher and advocate with an international reputation for his innovative work on the legal, policy and health dimensions of interpersonal violence. A founder of one of the first shelters for abused women in the U.S., in the l980’s, Dr. Stark's research at Yale University was the first to show the significance of partner violence for child abuse. He has served as an expert in more than 100 criminal and civil cases, including Nicholson v. Williams, a successful federal class action suit against New York City that made it unconstitutional to remove children from mothers solely because they had been victims of domestic violence. His critically acclaimed book, Coercive Control: The Entrapment of Women in Personal Life (Oxford, 2007) has helped to reframe thinking about how to identify, assess and prevent domestic violence. Dr. Stark is a Professor Emeritus of Public Affairs and Public Health at Rutgers University-Newark.

Panel Speaker Bios

Lisa von Pier, M.Div., Director
DCF, Division of Family and Community Partnerships

Lisa von Pier is the Director of the Division of Family and Community Partnerships (formerly Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships), which oversees a statewide network of child abuse prevention programs to strengthen and support families. Lisa brings a wealth of child welfare experience to her post. Most recently she served as the DYFS Deputy Director for Case Practice where she led a team solely dedicated to the implementation of improved case practice. Previously, she served as the DYFS Area Director for the Burlington/Mercer Area Office where she also led two of the case practice immersion sites. Prior to that, she held a supervisor's position within the Division of Family and Community Partnerships, where she supported seven counties in beginning prevention initiatives. Lisa has worked on child abuse and neglect cases for the state and Monmouth County judiciaries, and worked for a non-profit agency serving adolescents. While at the Administrative Office of the Courts, Lisa was the Family Division's representative to the Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect and has served on its Prevention Committee for many years.

Francine Scott, Deputy Director
DCF, Division of Child Protection and Permanency

Francine Scott is the Deputy Director of Case Practice of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly the Division of Youth and Family Service, DYFS), leading the department's case practice implementation efforts. Francine has more than 25 years of experience with Child Protection and Permanency and brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the position. She began her career in Burlington County as a Family Service Specialist and has also held various supervisory positions within the Local Office. Most recently, she was the Local Office Manager for the Burlington East Local Office.

Michael Palmer, PhD, LPC
Healthmark Counseling, LLC

Dr. Palmer is the owner of Healthmark Counseling, LLC and the Director of the H.E.A.R. (Helping End Abusive Relationships) programs, which include Batterer Intervention (BIP), Anger Management (AMP), and Responsible Fatherhood (RFP). In addition to developing the H.E.A.R. programs, Dr. Palmer also developed school-based anger management and conflict resolution programs for area high schools. Dr. Palmer received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology. He is currently a member of the Domestic Violence Collaborative (Burlington County) and has participated in the State Panel for Batterer Intervention and Domestic Violence Programs. Dr. Palmer has presented a number of workshops and training sessions in the areas of stress, anger, and domestic violence to professional and volunteer groups, including the Annual Judicial Conference of Municipal Court Judges, The State Conference for The Association of Student Assistance Professionals, Womenspace, Inc., and Providence House.

Christine Heer, JD, MSW, LCSW, DVS, CMFSW
Seton Hall University, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

Christine Heer is a solo practitioner in Somerville NJ., specializing in mediation and collaborative practice in Family law. Prior to graduating from Rutgers School of Law in Camden, Ms. Heer practiced as a Clinical Social Worker for over 25 years, specializing particularly in victims’ rights and related treatments. Chris is a well-known expert in domestic violence. She has authored several articles and has appeared in many media specials on the subject, including “Domestic Violence: Faces of Fear” with Diane Sawyer. Ms. Heer is a sought after trainer in the areas of Domestic Violence, Ethics for Mental Health Professionals, Conflict Resolution, and Diversity in Relationships.

In addition to practicing family law, Chris also currently serves as an Assistant Professor at Seton Hall University, and on the faculty of Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work, Institute for Families. She has also taught at the Graduate Schools of Social Work in New Brunswick and Camden and at Essex County College. Recently Chris has provided Domestic Violence Protocol training for DCF/DYFS staff in central and north New Jersey as part of the new Case Practice Model and served as a consultant to the Domestic Violence Liaison program with DYFS.

Thomas Dilts, Judge, Superior Court (Retired)
Superior Court of New Jersey, 1991-2011

Served as a Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey from 1991 to 2011, sitting in the Family Division the entire 20 year term. During his service as a Superior Court Judge, Tom handled all family matters including divorce, custody, non-dissolution, domestic violence, juvenile and child abuse cases. He served as Presiding Judge of the Family Division in Somerset/Hunterdon/Warren Vicinage for 7 years. Other positions held while a judge include: Chair of the Conference of Chairs of Vicinage Minority Concerns; Chair of the State Domestic Violence Working Group, Co-Chair of the Joint Task Force on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse; Lead Advisory Judge on the N.J. Domestic Violence Technical Assistance Team; Co-Chair of the Somerset County Youth Services Commission; Lecturer at Judicial College on Recent Developments in Family Law, 1998-2010 and "How to Handle the High Conflict Custody/Divorce Case"; author "Summary of New Jersey Court Cases Involving Domestic VIolence" and numerous published decisions in family and civil cases.

Date & Location

Last Held: September 21, 2012
9:00am - 3:00pm
Pines Manor
Edison, NJ

Download Flyer (PDF)
Download Agenda (PDF)
Download Directions (PDF)


Click to download PDF articles.

Dr. Evan Stark: Keynote Presentation

Battered Mother CPS Caseload

Rethinking Child Custody, Domestic Violence

Registration Information

This is a FREE program.

However, pre-registration is required and space is limited.

Enrollment is limited to:
• Law enforcement
• Prosecutors
• MDTs
• CACs
• Law guardians
• Child welfare professionals
• Medical/mental health professionals
• Social workers

Continuing Education

CEs / CLEs available!

More credit details coming soon.

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