Assessing Allegations of Domestic Violence in Child Custody Evaluations

James N. Bow, Paul Boxer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


There has been an increased focus on child custody evaluations involving domestic violence allegations with much criticism of evaluators' training, practices, and procedures. A national survey of 115 child custody evaluators (doctoral and master's level) was conducted to explore these criticisms. Findings revealed adequate training, multiple sources of data collection, and practices/procedures that closely adhere to child custody guidelines. However, robust, specialized domestic violence instruments, tests, and questionnaires were underutilized. Respondents indicated that findings supporting domestic violence allegations had a substantial impact on their subsequent recommendations. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of assessing domestic violence when conducting custody evaluations and the need for developing practice standards in this domain. Generally, results did not support common criticisms of custody evaluation practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1394-1410
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


  • Child custody
  • Domestic violence
  • Family violence
  • Forensic evaluations
  • Interparental violence

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