on equal footing. Because of the inherent imbalance of power between an abuser and a victim, mediation is contraindicated in domestic violence cases.
Similarly, couples and marriage counseling often presuppose the ability of both parties to freely participate. These interventions, however, have the potential to increase the likelihood that the abuser will physically or emotionally harm the victim. Many women report being threatened or assaulted after joint intake or counseling sessions for things they said or did during the session.
In addition to the increased danger these practices may create for battered women, such practices also reinforce the notion that a victim shares (at least in part) some responsibility for solving the problem of her partner's violent and/or controlling behavior. Such a message reinforces the mistaken belief that many abusive men already hold, i.e., that their partners are to blame for their violence, and encourages victims to internalize responsibility for their partners' violence.
As with any available option that has known risks, it is important for providers to be prepared to share information with a victim about the risks and limitations of utilizing services that require joint participation with her partner so that she is able to make an informed decision about whether or not to utilize such services.
j.Screening for child abuse and neglect, and interventions designed to protect the safety interests of children, should always be accompanied by screening and interventions specifically designed to identify adult domestic violence and to mobilize resources to enhance the safety of adult victims.
As national data readily confirms, there is a significant correlation between partner violence and child abuse and neglect, with domestic violence surfacing as one of the leading risk factors with regard to the physical and emotional safety of children. (13) At least two studies found that between 45-59% of substantiated child abuse cases included documented violence against the mother. (14) In families in which both problems exist, most frequently the adult male head