ANALYSIS OF MEDIATION AGREEMENTS OF FAMILIES REPORTING SPECIFIC TYPES OF INTIMATE PARTNER ABUSE

Authors


Beck@u.arizona.edu; mwalsh@email.arizona.edu; rose_weston@seabhssolutions.org

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to carefully measure Intimate Partner Abuse (IPA) behaviors among a large (n = 864 couples) sample of pairs of husbands and wives who were mandated to attend divorce mediation and then to: categorize the behaviors into theoretically-driven types of IPA, determine the number of cases screened out of mediation for any reason, and investigate whether measured outcomes of mediation (primary physical and legal custody) were related to IPA. Results indicated that rarely was IPA not reported—the most frequently reported IPA behavior was psychological abuse (98% of wives; 97% of husbands), followed by physical abuse (58% of wives; 54% of husbands), escalated physical abuse (62% of wives; 50% of husbands), and sexual intimidation, coercion and rape (56% of wives; 29% of husbands). Rarely were couples reporting IPA screened out of mediation (5%), and rarely were supervised parenting time or restrictions on contact between parents included in mediated agreements made by couples reporting IPA (6.5%). The overall level of IPA was unrelated to the specific terms of mediated agreements; however, by far the most frequent type of mediated agreement the couples' negotiated in mediation was for primary physical custody to go to the wife and for the husband and wife to have joint legal custody (59% of cases). Analysis of the implications of these findings and policy recommendations are included.

Ancillary