Detecting intimate partner violence in family and divorce mediation: A Randomized Trial of Intimate Partner Violence Screening

Robin H. Ballard, Amy Holtzworth-Munroe, Amy G. Applegate, Connie J.A. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Handling mediation cases with a history of intimate partner violence (IPV) is one of the most controversial issues in the field of divorce mediation. Before deciding whether and how to mediate cases with IPV, mediators must first detect violence. Using random assignment of cases to an enhanced screening condition (n = 30) and to a standard screening control condition (n = 31), we compared information gathered from a brief, behaviorally specific IPV screening questionnaire to mediators' independent determination of the presence or absence of violence using standard mediation clinic screening procedures. Mediators did not label as violent about half of the cases reporting IPV on the screening questionnaire. Mediators were more likely to report IPV when fathers were reported (by mothers) to have engaged in a greater number of differing violent behaviors, but a score reflecting severity and frequency of party reported violence did not predict mediator detection of violence. In cases with two mediators, mediators did not always agree on whether or not the case involved IPV. Possible reasons for the differences in mediator and party reports of IPV are considered, and we emphasize the potential importance of using systematic methods to screen for violence in divorce mediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-263
Number of pages23
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2011

Keywords

  • Divorce
  • Divorce mediation
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Violence screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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