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Current findings on Australian children in postseparation disputes : outer conflict, inner discord
journal contributionposted on 2005-04-01, 00:00 authored by Jennifer McintoshJennifer Mcintosh, Caroline Long
This paper sets out descriptive baseline data on the first 111 Australian families participating in a current study of the efficacy of child-focused and child-inclusive Family Law Mediation. The families come from the first of two treatment groups in that comparative study. While outcome data are not yet available on this group, the baseline data, gathered prior to intervention, are of interest and value. The paper describes the nature of parents' conflict with each other, the strength of their parental alliance, and the psychological functioning of their children at the time of presentation to the mediation service. High mental health risk for the children in these families is evident, both from parents' and children's perspectives. Uniquely, the paper includes the perceptions of 73 children about their parents' conflict and its impact on them. Implications are discussed, underscoring the imperative of early intervention with separating families that includes screening of the children's experience of conflict and their own needs for recovery.