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PBS STATEMENT ON BREAKING THE SILENCE: CHILDREN'S STORIES
ALEXANDRIA, VA -- December 21, 2005 - BREAKING THE SILENCE: CHILDREN'S STORIES chronicles the impact of domestic violence on
children and the recurring failings of family courts across the country to protect them
from their abusers. In stark and often poignant interviews, children and battered mothers
tell their stories of abuse at home and continued trauma within the courts. The producers
approached the topic with the open mindedness and commitment to fairness that we require
of our journalists. Their research was extensive and supports the conclusions drawn in
the program. Funding from the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation met PBS's underwriting
guidelines; the Foundation had no editorial influence on program content.
However, the program would have benefited from more in-depth treatment of the complex
issues surrounding child custody and the role of family courts and most specifically
the provocative topic of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Additionally, the
documentary's "first-person story telling approach" did not allow the depth of the
producers' research to be as evident to the viewer as it could have been.
PBS has received a substantial body of analysis and documentation from both supporters
of the documentary and its critics.
It is clear to us that this complex and important issue would benefit from further
examination. To that end, PBS will commission an hour-long documentary for that purpose.
Plans call for the documentary to be produced and broadcast in Spring 2006.
We expect that the hour-long treatment of the subject will allow ample opportunity
for doctors, psychologists, judges, parent advocates and victims of abuse to have their
perspectives shared, challenged and debated.
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