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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Sharon K. Araji, Retired Professor Emerita


 Contested Child Custody from Sharon Araji


Dr. Sharon K. Araji, Professor of Sociology

Domestic Violence Continued DVD

Sharon K. Araji is Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Sociology department here at UC Denver.  Prior to that time she held the same position at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). Since coming to UC Denver, she has continued research she began while at UAA, that focuses on the plight of domestic violence victims, mostly women, when they exit abusive relationships and have children. She found, in a review of relevant literature and a survey of her own in Alaska, that abusers usually control marital/relationship resources, or find ways to prevent the victims from having access to resources to fight for children in the courts. Using the resources, the abuser is able to continue the power and control he had over the victim while in abusive relationships by enlisting a network of professionals in the courts, the legal system and other social systems to gain custody of the children, or to obtain unsupervised supervision. Hence, what the research shows is that abusive husbands/partners/fathers are getting custody of children, even when there is documented domestic violence against their partners and children. This has become an international issue, but is slow to be recognized as a social problem. Her research was published as a chapter in a recent book (May, 2010) on the topic—DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE AND CHILD CUSTODY, Mo Hannah and Barry Goldstein, co-editors, Civic Research Institute. In order to take the information to the public, she produced a 28 minute documentary on the topic, titled DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONTINUED: CONTESTED CHILD CUSTODY. She has made a number of presentations on the topic around Colorado and in other states since the book came out and she finished her documentary. Practitioners find the documentary very useful for training purposes. It can be viewed by clicking…….. Dr. Araji also continues research she began while in Alaska that focuses on sex offenders. In fall 2009, she was Principal Investigator on a collaborative project with other UC Denver Sociology faculty and the Denver Police Department (DPD). The study focused on using an IRIS scanning device to track sex offenders residing at a homeless shelter in the Denver area. The IRIS scanner proved to be a highly effective method of tracking sex offenders, and could easily be applied to other populations. A report and power point presentations were provided to the DPD, and another presentation was made on the UC Denver campus. Plans are underway for preparing the report for publication in a relevant journal.