High Conflict Divorce as a Complex Family Problem: Why Domestic Violence Screening is Essential

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Abstract

High Conflict Divorce form 20% of separations that involve children. These parents continue to litigate child custody and parenting arrangements, and accuse each other of child abuse, intimate partner violence, and mental
health problems. The children suffer because of longstanding animosity. In this contribution, we report on a pilot study among 102 parents in a high conflict divorce, assessed at the Child Protection Council, Safe Home, or a child welfare service. The MASIC, a structured screening interview for intimate partner violence (IPV), was administered to each parent separately. Results revealed that the prevalence of different types of IPV was extremely high in our sample, and the violence kept occurring after the divorce, albeit somewhat less frequently. Our findings largely concur with international research in this area. In particular, the presence of coercive controlling violence perpetrated by one of the ex-partners, should prompt the professional to conduct further evaluation of parental and child safety. The type of IPV that emerges from the MASIC screening has implications for the advice to the parents and the family court.
Translated title of the contributionHigh Conflict Divorce as a Complex Family Problem: Why Domestic Violence Screening is Essential
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)205-231
JournalPedagogiek: Wetenschappelijk forum voor opvoeding, onderwijs en vorming
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

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