|by Barry Goldstein|
Clusters of Qualifying and Disqualifying Beliefs
The heart of this study was to consider how the training, knowledge, experience and beliefs of evaluators and other court professionals affects their recommendations and decisions. The study found clusters of beliefs that appear to be connected to training, experience and biases rather than the facts and circumstances of the case. This tended to confirm the belief that evaluations often tell us more about the evaluator than the parties being evaluated.
One cluster of beliefs by evaluators (and judges) included the mothers often make false allegations about dv and child abuse, survivors alienate children from the other parent, dv is not an important factor in making custody decisions, and children are hurt when survivors are reluctant to co-parent. These professionals tended to have less training in domestic violence and had personal beliefs supporting patriarchy and sexism. I will refer to these as unqualified professionals, but please understand that is my term.
Evaluators with better training, more familiarity with domestic violence and an understanding that mothers rarely make false allegations of domestic violence or child abuse tended to recognize that dv is important in custody decisions; victims do not alienate the children; and victims do not hurt children when they resist co-parenting. I will refer to these as qualified professionals.