Agreement was reached in 46% of all sessions, and further mediation planned in another 20%. Views of mediation were generally positive by both participants and mediators.
This cross-sectional study derives its strength in the large number of participants, the absence of obvious sampling bias and the high level of participation, and the development of data across 400 variables for each couple involved.
Significant weaknesses of the study include (1) applicability only to California, which has higher rates of joint parenting than other states and possibly unique incentives to cooperate; (2) acknowledgement that they sought to obtain outer limits of domestic violence incidence, and have likely overestimated such incidence; (3) failure to specify just how domestic violence was defined (ie. Likely inclusion of “common couple aggression” in this category, in instances where neither partner felt physically threatened); (3) footnote #4 acknowledges a high density of questions involving domestic violence, posing a possible source of upward bias in the incidence of domestic violence; (4) the cross sectional design places undue emphasis on pre-trial hearings and early court proceedings in divorces, at a point in the process where both parties may have an incentive to exaggerate offensive behavior by the other party; and lastly, (5) this preliminary report of data did not distinguish between allegations by one parent, agreed assessments by both parents, or actual findings of fact by guardians ad litem. Additional evaluation of the data might shed significant light on what percentage of allegations turned out to have a basis in fact, within some variance limit resulting from uncertainty in the evaluation process.
Websdale, N. (1999). Understanding Domestic Homicide. Boston, MA, Northeastern University Press.
Meier sites Websdale in support of her statement that attempting to leave a violent partner with children, is one of the most significant factors associated with severe domestic violence and death.
We can find no such statement in Websdale, or anything that would support such an assertion. Instead, on p. 82, Table 4.3 in Chapter 4 (The Death of Women in Single Killings), the author lists the major characteristics of the 67 relationships that ended in the killing of a woman. These included a “prior history of battering” in 86.6% of the cases down to “victim obtained restraining order(s) against male perpetrator at some point prior to killing” in 28.4% of the cases. A similar chart (Table 2.5) on p. 33 in Chapter 2 (Men as Perpetrators of Multiple Killings), likewise, had no mention of children being a significant factor associated with severe domestic violence and death. Of course, it is possible that such a statement lies somewhere else in the book – it is difficult to absolutely confirm an absence of a statement. Unfortunately, Meier does not provide any page numbers for her citation.
Straus, M. (1992). Children as witnesses to marital violence: A risk factor for lifelong problems among a nationally representative sample of American men and women. Report of the Twenty-Third Ross Roundtable. Columbus, OH: Ross Laboratories.