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Typically, the courts focus on the best interests of the children. You may have grounds ti appeal, though it's necessary to take prompt action, as appeals must typically be filed within a very short period after a final order is entered.
As I'm not familiar with the details of your matter, there's no way I can tell you exactly why things have turned out the way they did. It sounds as though the law may have been improperly applied to the matter, as the court is supposed to handle custody and visitation matters in the best interests of the children. If the father is dangerous and has a history of domestic violence, the court should typically rule in your favor, provided you showed that history legitimately exists.
If you didn't have an attorney last time, you may find that you stand a better chance of succeeding if you retain an attorney. If you can't afford one, you may be eligible for legal aid from a local legal clinic. You may wish to call your county Clerk of Court's office to inquire about clinics that serve your area. The Clerk's office should be aware of the clinics, if any, that serve your area.
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