Domestic Violence & Divorce

by admin on February 8, 2011

Domestic Violence and Divorce

 More than 75% of children in domestic violence homes are aware of the abuse. Three to 10 million children “witness” domestic violence each year. Exposure can be auditory, visual or inferred. 30-60% of children exposed to domestic violence are also physically abused.   It is important to assess and take into account allegations of domestic violence by a parent during a divorce to determine if the children may be at risk for violence or suffering psychologically from exposure to violence.

An evaluator needs to differentiate between Battering and Situational Couples Violence. In Battering the pattern involves escalating violence, intimidation and control, involves psychological abuse and involves approximately 30% of cases. Battering partners usually have a history of controlling behaviors, issues with jealousy, are reactive and may fall under a category for mental illness such as bi-polar disorder.

Situational Couples Violence is bi-directional, is not primarily based on the need to control and is related to poor conflict resolution skills. 40-75% of custody disputing parents allege this type of violence.  An injury of a serious nature is not usually involved and involves pushing, shoving and throwing objects not intended to cause harm.

A custody evaluation which takes into account the big picture and not just allegations is important. Recommendations may include everything from Conflict Resolution Training & Parenting Coordination to Supervised Visitation.

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