Equivocal Child Abuse  book cover
1st Edition

Equivocal Child Abuse

ISBN 9781138114319
Published June 14, 2017 by CRC Press
304 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

SAVE $26.99
was $89.95
USD $62.96

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Child abuse cases with hard-to-prove allegations pose challenges for all those who seek to protect the welfare of children. Helping courts, evaluators, guardians, and lawyers understand and work with difficult cases, Equivocal Child Abuse brings together insights, experience, and guidance from multiple sources to minimize unnecessary harm done to children and families. Exploring all facets of case management, the book discusses:

  • Legal concepts and theory, the history of guardians ad litem, and the complexity of the processes involved in legal decision making
  • How different court systems operate, the path of a case, and the roles of participants in custody cases
  • The investigative process, the evaluation of report credibility, the use of videotape, perspectives of child custody evaluators, and sample investigations
  • The testimony of expert witnesses, evaluators, guardians ad litem, and treating professionals; and the rules of evidence
  • Hazards practitioners face in domestic relations and custody cases, including licensing issues, civil suit actions, and personal safety concerns
  • Intervention options, such as supervised visitation, therapy for children, and mediation
  • Mental health issues in case participants, including borderline personality disorder, narcissistic and related personality patterns, affective disorders, and substance abuse
  • A working model for the forensic evaluator, with instructions on conducting the evaluation and reportage

Filled with case studies to elucidate concepts, the book also contains appendices with recommended guidelines for interviewing children in cases of alleged sexual abuse, a line-by-line expert critique of a child interview, and other tools, making this volume a critical resource for all those who contend with these complex cases.

Table of Contents

Equivocality in a Complex Legal Context
Principles of Chaos Theory as They Relate to the Arena Under
Summary Point
Principles of Therapeutic Jurisprudence as They Relate to the
Arena Under Consideration
Legal, Historical, and Psychosocial Background
Two Problematic Psychological Concepts
The Courts: Views Across and Within
The Course of a Case
The Rule of Law and the Law of Rules
The Play of the Participants
Current Theory and Research on Brain Function
The Particular Problem of Lying
Abel Testing to Identify Potential Perpetrators
Perspectives from Investigators
Perspectives of Child Custody Evaluators
Legal Standard Issues
Some Case Investigations
Case A
Case B
Case C
The Expert in the Courtroom
Types of Witnesses in DR Court Cases
Guardians ad Litem
Treating Professionals
Rules of Evidence
Practitioner Hazards
Legal Risks
Personal Safety and Physical Risks
One Psychologist’s Experience
Practicing Defensively
Intervention Options
Initial Filing Phase
Interim Pretrial Phase
Hearing and Judgment Phase
Postdecree Phase
Child Therapy as a Means of Establishing Security
Reunification Therapy
The Parent Coordinator Process
Parental Alienation Syndrome
Mental Health Issues
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder and Child Abuse
Affective Disorders
Substance Abuse
Working Model for the Forensic Evaluator
First Step—Conducting the Evaluation
Second Step—Reportage
Top Cat
Equivocal Communication

View More



Sandra B. McPherson, PhD, ABPP, has been involved in both clinical and forensic psychological work for more than 40 years in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Her forensic practice has focused on a combination of domestic relations cases and criminal court work, notably involving death penalty mitigation.

Farshid Afsarifard, PhD, came to the United States in 1976. His clinical work has focused on the application of dialectical behavior therapy to different populations. His forensic interests and activities are in criminal and civil competencies, child custody, termination of parental rights, civil commitment, and mitigation in sentencing.