I was pleased when your reporter interviewed me on the subject of supervised visitation centers, but disappointed with the article (“Safe havens in a storm,” News, April 20). It deleted the two fundamental points that I made to safeguard children and abused spouses from violent predators.
First, domestic violence is not gender specific. For example, I am currently representing a soldier, formerly deployed in Iraq, who is now struggling to rescue his daughter from the alleged physical abuse of her mother in Chicago.
Second, the article did not consider Senate Bill 1590 which had passed the Illinois Senate, and is now before the House. I am a proponent of this bill that amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act providing for reasonable visitation between a child and a non-custodial parent through electronic communication including video conferencing which can be used to safely supervise visitation. This bill is supported by Alderman Sam Cahnman and myself, and sponsored by Senator Pamela Althoff in the current 96th General Assembly. It evolved out of former House Bill 3486, the original virtual visitation bill introduced by Representative Paul Froehlich in the past 95th General Assembly. Both Representative Froehlich and Alderman Cahnman are members of the Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood (ResponsibleFatherhood.com), which I chair.
Virtual visitation is the only fool-proof method to prevent domestic violence and child abuse in these cases. It allows non-custodial parents to visit their children without any threat of danger to anyone. Visitation centers provide adequate safety against violence from typical offenders. High-risk predators cannot always be fully controlled when there is face-to-face contact. Anyone who is truly set on hurting their children or ex-spouse can circumvent the safety precautions taken at visitation centers. Virtual visitation eliminates the danger to children and an at-risk spouse from a violent predator of either sex.
For more information concerning the prevention of domestic violence and child abuse, visit Fatherhood-Edu.org.
Jeffery M. Leving
Chairman, Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood