Dr. Susan Raines' collaborative research influences Georgia Supreme Court policy

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jul 20, 2018) — Dr. Susan Raines, new associate director of KSU's School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding, and Development, recently provided an interview for The Graduate College Magazine's upcoming Spring–Summer edition. In her interview, Raines spoke of her involvement with Georgia's Supreme Court policies. 

The Supreme Court Rules Committee will vote on the implementation of new rules in August to screen cases for domestic violence before the parties attend mediation. This recommendation comes as a result of collaborative research headed up by Raines.

The Georgia Commission of Family Violence (GCFV) voted on June 22 to recommend the approval of new court rules designed to screen cases for domestic violence before the parties attend mediation. Raines, the associate director of KSU's School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding & Development, was awarded a $4,000 grant from the dean of Humanities and Social Sciences to support the research — a small investment for a big impact on families and family law professionals in Georgia.

"What can we do better?" was one of the questions posed by Raines. Nationwide victims of domestic abuse are at higher risks of violence once they decide to leave their abusers — in 2017, Georgia had 149 domestic violence fatalities. "When victims leave their abusers, the risk of violence actually increases," said Raines.

The fact that in the state of Georgia, nearly all divorce cases are sent to mediation before they can be heard by a judge is why Raines decided to teach graduate students to be mediators and peacemakers both nationally and internationally. "In mediation, the parties are encouraged to negotiate agreements related to their parenting schedules, property division and child support matters. However, if one party to the case fears retribution or violence, then he/she might reach agreements that are unfair or even unsafe. Divorce and custody litigation is difficult under normal circumstances, but when there is a history of coercion, control and violence, then there is increased risk of harm or even death to victims and their children," said Raines.

Please read more in our upcoming Graduate College Magazine Spring–Summer 2018 Edition (scheduled for print on July 30).