6.0 Conclusions

This paper is a revision of the 2005 Justice Canada publication, entitled Making Appropriate Parenting Arrangements in Family Violence Cases: Applying the Literature to Identify Promising Practices (Jaffe et al., 2005). This updated paper captures the significant changes in the field including major legislative reforms. Amendments to the Divorce Act that came into force in March 2021 include a comprehensive definition of family violence and recognize the importance of a coercive control framework. These amendments make the federal statute consistent with provincial and territorial laws that already recognized the significance of family violence for making post-separation parenting plans.

We have reviewed the literature and applied our analysis to developing parenting plans in the context of separation and family violence allegations. The paper discusses a number of themes:

  1. Family violence is a serious problem across Canada that impacts adult victims and children in terms of their physical and psychological well-being, which includes their personal safety. Family violence can be lethal.
  2. Legal and social responses to family violence cases require a recognition of the harm to children. Children may be traumatized by direct and indirect exposure to family violence. Children who have been exposed to family violence can experience lifelong negative effects.
  3. Coercive control has become a critical concept both in law and in research. Coercive control refers to a pattern of abuse over time that maintains power over an intimate partner through a variety of means including threats, intimidation, as well as emotional and financial abuse.
  4. Intersectional considerations are required to determine the most appropriate parenting plan in the context of family violence. This requires consideration of an individual’s life circumstances, including such factors as socioeconomic class and resources, immigration status, race, ethnicity and Indigeneity, religion, and disability. A one-size-fits-all focus on post-separation parenting is not appropriate for family violence cases.
  5. Separation can increase the immediate risks of serious harm or death from family violence for adult victims and children.
  6. All cases of divorce and separation need to have an initial screening for family violence by family justice professionals, as well as ongoing monitoring.
  7. Specific considerations for decision-making about post-separation parenting when there are findings of family violence include a thorough examination of the parenting of the abusive parent as well as understanding of the parenting decisions of the victim parent.
  8. Findings of family violence are a contra-indication of a co-parenting arrangement after separation. Co-parenting cannot take place in the context of continuing fear and trauma from a history of family violence. Supervised exchanges or supervised parenting time may be essential for adult and child victim safety.
  9. Significant caution should be used when assessing claims of parental alienation made against parents who may be victims of family violence.
  10. Family courts may fail to recognize or misinterpret survivors’ ways of responding to violence and the influence of systemic and structural violence on families, including the influence of violence on decisions that parents make in caring for their children and in acting to protect them from family violence.
  11. Raising concerns about family violence may well increase a victim’s financial and emotional costs in the court process but may be essential to protect their children and themselves. Lawyers, judges and family justice professionals need to be aware that abusers may misuse the court process to continue patterns of coercive control in their intimate relationship in court proceedings.
  12. Findings of family violence should lead to a differentiated approach to parenting arrangements depending on the severity and history of family violence and coercive control, the timing of the disclosures (e.g., a temporary versus more stable plan) and the resources available to address safety for the adult and child victims.

There is no doubt that there has been a heightened focus on family violence issues in family courts across Canada. There are ongoing efforts by many, including governments, law societies, professional organizations, and the National Judicial Institute to provide educational opportunities for lawyers and judges and to increase awareness and understanding of family violence and the legislative reforms aimed to address it. Similar professional education programs are being offered to other family justice professionals, including mediators, assessors, and mental health professionals. There are also ongoing efforts to educate members of the public, in particular victims and perpetrators of family violence, and to improve access to services.

There is a clear need for resource and policy development to support a more sophisticated analysis and response to family violence cases. A special challenge for the justice system and community social services is the overlap between family justice, criminal justice, child protection and immigration proceedings. Specific protocols are required to guide practitioners and judges in managing cases with family violence allegations that fall into the area of overlap between safety concerns for children (i.e., triggering criminal justice or child protection process) and disputes between parents. Family courts rarely have access to the resources they require to handle these more complex cases, which require interventions that go beyond parent education and mediation services. The required resources for these cases include timely access to free or affordable legal services for IPV victims; timely access to specially trained parenting assessors with expertise in family violence and alienation; supervised parenting services; and treatment resources for individual family members (including perpetrators, victims and children). Further, the different components of a full spectrum of services need to be well coordinated to monitor family members’ progress and revise parenting arrangements as needed. It is not sufficient to assume that no news is good news in these cases. Ongoing reporting to the court and judicial case management and monitoring may be required in parenting disputes with histories of family violence.

There is also increasing awareness about the need for courts to be informed about the effects of trauma and ensuring that judges and court-related professionals contribute to system changes that recognize the special needs of victims and their children (Deutsch et al., 2020; Sickmund, 2016). There is little written in Canada about the progress in developing trauma-informed family courts. The one population that has been repeatedly identified in Canada as needing specific approaches to recognize its history of oppression and colonization are Indigenous peoples (Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2015); there is growing recognition that Indigenous individuals and families need trauma-informed legal processes. These issues are starting to be addressed in the criminal justice system, with growing recognition of the disproportional incarceration of Indigenous offenders, but there is a lack of awareness let alone resources in Canada’s family courts for trauma-informed approaches. This topic requires a separate paper from Indigenous voices.

Justice and the promotion of the welfare of children require an understanding of needs of diverse populations to access the justice system. As one example, there are significant gaps in providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services for racialized immigrant women and their children involved in the justice system. Few existing services recognize their multiple intersecting vulnerabilities, systemic barriers, and cultural realities. There is a lack of coordination between different institutions providing services to these women. The issue of systemic racism is a challenge for survivors when trying to access IPV services (George et al., 2022). To respond to these gaps, there is a need for interdisciplinary, holistic and culturally informed services (George et al., 2022).

There are other vulnerable groups who experience significant barriers to disclosing family violence and accessing necessary services such as victims living in rural communities (Youngson et al., 2021) and the 2SLGBTQ+ population (Abramovich et al., 2022). Reference to this context must be incorporated into analyses of the best interests of the child and parenting arrangements.

Finally, there are significant gaps in the existing research that limit the understanding of these cases and identification of best practices on how to respond. There is a lack of long-term follow-up studies to match children’s adjustment with specific post-separation parenting arrangements in cases involving family violence. In addition, most research has been conducted with families in the court system, and less is known about the long-term experiences of those who do not commence court proceedings. Research about post-separation parenting has also been criticized for looking at the outcome of biased samples. For example, the promotion of shared parenting is largely based on retrospective studies of cooperative couples. There has been little attention to understanding the process of perpetrators changing their behaviour and appropriately healing the relationship with children in a respectful and safe manner.

When it comes to individual cases, it is often hard to predict whether terminating contact promotes child healing or conversely, triggers idealization of the perpetrator and anger towards the victim parent. We know little about the restoration process and the circumstances under which healing the parent-child relationship is possible.

A starting point for an enhanced understanding is a better integration of the divorce literature and the family violence literature, which largely developed independently of each other. Approaches to high-conflict cases involving family violence are often misguided by applying a general understanding of separating and divorcing parents that includes many who are not involved in litigation and have no history of abuse. Our goal in this document is to assist policy makers, practitioners and researchers by bridging the family violence and divorce literatures and outlining a framework for examining situations where these issues may be present, especially in the face of major reforms in family legislation in Canada.

Supplement # 1: Differentiated approaches to parenting arrangements after family violence

Supplement # 1: Differentiated approaches to parenting arrangements after family violence
Supplement # 1: Differentiated approaches to parenting arrangements after family violence – Text version

This three page tip sheet is titled “Tip Sheet: Differentiated approaches to parenting arrangements after family violence”. There are two footnotes for this document. Footnote one says “By Peter G. Jaffe, Ph.D., C.Psych., Nicholas Bala, L.S.M., J.D., LL.M., F.R.S.C., Archana Medhekar, LL.B. LL.M., AccFM, Katreena L. Scott, Ph.D., C. Psych., and Casey Oliver, M.A. (February 2023). The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Justice Canada. The full report will be made available in Fall 2023 at: Reports and Publications (justice.gc.ca) with a link included.” The second footnote says “For more information, please contact: Rsd-drs@justice.gc.ca

The body of the tip sheet has no graphics until the end. The text says:

Each family is unique, and there is not a one-size-fits-all model for parenting arrangements, especially for family violence cases. Parenting arrangements after separation always need to be tailored to address the needs of the children, the abilities of the parents, and their ability to parent together. Family violence allegations and findings require special considerations to address the best interests of the children and ensure the safety of children and victimized parents.

The diagram below outlines a framework to approach parenting arrangements in cases where there are family violence issues. At one end of the continuum, there are cases where there is no doubt that a parent has perpetrated a pattern of abusive coercive controlling behaviour over time, with little remorse or investment in treatment; in these cases, that parent should have either no parenting or limited supervised parenting by highly trained professional staff. At the other end of the continuum, there is an isolated incident of spousal abuse that is out of character, accompanied by genuine remorse, no ongoing fear or trauma, and evidence of a current ability to respect and value the contribution of the other parent; in this case, a co-parenting arrangement may be appropriate. In between these extremes, there are multiple possibilities for matching parenting arrangements to families.

Multiple factors need to be considered, such as the nature and severity of the family violence and the impact on parents and children. A critical consideration is the resources available to support and protect victims and offer remediation and supervision for abusers. The stage of proceedings and available information to professionals and the court are also important. For example, the situation at the time of separation, which is often a time of particular risk and vulnerability for family violence, may be very different from the situation at the time of a possible trial a year or more after separation. At the time of trial, there may be much more information available from multiple professionals and a post-separation pattern of behaviour to consider.

Co-parenting

Co-parenting refers to an arrangement in which separated parents cooperate relatively closely in all aspects of raising their children. This arrangement may often roughly approximate the pre-separation pattern of care for the children, with both parents actively involved in the lives of their children, sharing care and information, and cooperatively problem-solving the normal challenges of parenting as they arise. Co-parenting requires two parents who can maintain a civil and child-focused relationship post-separation. There should be mutual trust and respect that allows for constructive communication between parents. Co-parenting is contra-indicated by continuing family violence, including concerns about continuing effects of coercive controlling behaviour on victims.

Parallel parenting

Parallel parenting describes an arrangement where each parent is significantly involved in the children’s lives, but the arrangement is structured to minimize contact between the parents. Each parent makes day-to-day decisions independently of each other when the children are in their care, and responsibility for major decisions, like education, is allocated to one parent. Parallel parenting is generally only appropriate for children if, despite their conflicts, the parents have fundamentally similar ideas and expectations about parenting and child-rearing. Whether a parallel parenting arrangement might be appropriate in the aftermath of violence towards children, or an adult partner generally requires a careful assessment by a professional with a background in family violence cases. Factors critical to this determination include whether the perpetrator of the violence has taken responsibility and successfully completed an intervention; whether the children have received services and are experiencing ongoing symptoms of trauma or distress; and the developmental stage of the children. A clinical finding of ongoing risk to children or the other parent clearly contra-indicates a parallel parenting arrangement.

Primary residence parenting

Primary Residence Parenting is somewhat analogous to what occurred before the 2021 Divorce Act reforms when one parent had custody of the children, and the other parent had a limited access schedule. Primary residence parenting arrangements place the child primarily in the care of one parent while the other parent has a more limited role. This recognizes that there are limitations to the ability of the other parent to make positive contributions to the child, possibly due to ongoing concerns about that parent’s use of coercive control, an inability to prioritize the child’s needs over their acrimony toward the primary parent, or serious concerns about their parenting capacity, mental health, or substance use. A primary residence parenting arrangement assumes that there are no safety concerns that would require supervision for exchanges or supervision of the parenting time. It also assumes that the parenting time is not being used to undermine the primary residence parent. This type of arrangement may work best when the family violence by one parent has been acknowledged, there is an intervention plan in place to address the past conduct and its impact, and safety concerns are adequately addressed.

Supervised exchange

Supervised Exchange involves transferring children from the care of one parent to the other under the supervision of a third party. The supervision can be informal, for example, by a family member, neighbour, or volunteer, or by using a public venue for the exchange, such as the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant or, if necessary, a police station. The supervision can also be formalized through the use of a designated professional, such as a childcare worker, social worker, or agency. The history of family violence in these cases raises enough concern to keep the victim parent away from the abusive partner, but the children are deemed not to be at risk.

Supervised parenting time

Supervised Parenting Time is an arrangement designed to promote safe contact with a parent who presents as a risk due to a range of behaviour, from physical or emotional abuse to possible abduction of the child. It may also be appropriate when a child has fears of a parent, for example, because of having witnessed the parent perpetrate abuse or having been personally abused by that parent, but still wants to maintain a relationship. Supervised parenting time should only be undertaken if it is believed that a child will benefit from a parent maintaining an ongoing role in the child’s life. Like supervised exchanges, supervised parenting time may vary in formality from extended family or volunteers to a specialized centre with professional staff with expertise in these issues. Related to this is the use of therapeutic supervised parenting time, where a mental health professional is involved in trying to improve a troubled parent-child relationship through counselling and support during this parenting time. Supervised parenting time should normally be a short-term solution to concerns about child safety, though in some cases, it may continue for years where these concerns are ongoing, but the child continues to enjoy seeing the parent.

No contact or suspended parenting time

No Contact or Suspended Parenting Time is appropriate when a parent presents an ongoing risk of violence to the child or other parent, including emotional abuse to the child or threats of abduction. In these cases, the court may be required to suspend all parenting on a short or long-term basis.

Parenting arrangements after family violence as a function of history of violence, resources available, and timing of disclosure

The diagram below outlines the factors to consider in developing the most appropriate parenting arrangement based on the nature and severity of the family violence, the resources available to address the issues presented by the victim, abuser, and children, as well as the stage of the proceedings in the decision-making process. The possible parenting arrangements are shown on the far right in descending order of level of risk to children or to the parent who has been victimized by family violence. Co-parenting at the top would be consistent with a minimal or no history of family violence, and no contact at the bottom would be the opposite extreme for a case with a parent presenting as high risk. The other factors to consider in this framework – severity of family violence, resources available and stage of the proceedings - are all factors that must be considered as part of the level of risk of harm to children and parents. The orange factors at the bottom of each bar would raise concern about the level of risk.

At the end of the tip sheet there is an image that is called “Figure 1: Parenting arrangements after family violence as a function of history of violence, resources available and timing of disclosure.”

Figure 1 depicts parenting arrangements after family violence as a function of history of violence, resources available and timing of disclosure. This figure includes four images, all of which are wide, double-ended vertical arrows with a blue orange gradient; blue at the top and orange at the bottom. Starting from the left, three of the four images contain a cream coloured box at the middle of the wide arrow. Each of these boxes contain text and have a chevron pointing to the next box to the right.

In the first image on the left, the box in the middle of the double-ended arrow says “Nature, frequency, & severity of family violence”. In the top portion of this arrow are three sets of words. From top to bottom it says (1) Situational couple violence, (2) No child maltreatment, and (3) High conflict. In the bottom portion of the arrow there are three more sets of words (1) Abuse (child or adult partner), (2) Battering, and (3) Coercive control/stalking.

The second image from the left is another double-ended vertical arrow. In the middle of the arrow there is box with the label “Resources available”. In the top portion of this arrow are three sets of words. From top to bottom it says “Accessible, appropriate interventions for victims, perpetrator, and child witnesses”. In the bottom portion of the arrow there are two more sets of words (1) Services inaccessible or inappropriate, and (2) Systemic barriers (e.g., poverty, language)

The box in the middle of the third double-ended vertical arrow says “Timing of disclosure & stage of proceeding”. The top portion of this arrow says: (1) Longer term planning, and 2) Adequate information to evaluate safety of children and adults. In the bottom portion of the arrow there are four more sets of words (1) Interim hearings, (2) Family in crisis, (3) Red flags for lethality, and (4) continued exposure to violence.

The fourth and final double-ended arrow has a label on the side that says “Evaluated risk to children or caregiver”. There is no box in the centre of the arrow. There is a list of terms in this arrow, from top to bottom they say: (1) Co-parenting, (2) Parallel parenting, primary residence parenting, (4) Supervised exchange, (5) Supervised parenting time, and (6) No contact.

Supplement # 2: Coercive control as a form of family violence

Supplement # 2: Coercive control as a form of family violence
Supplement # 2: Coercive control as a form of family violence – Text version

The coercive control brochure is six pages.

Page 1 of the brochure has three blocks that span the width of the page. The first block is burgundy and contains the following in white text. The title says “Coercive control as a form of family violence”. The text under the title says “The federal Divorce Act and provincial and territorial family legislation recognize many forms of family violence. Family violence is now understood as more than just individual acts of physical and sexual abuse. It is essential to assess whether there has been a pattern of abuse over time that is aimed at maintaining power over an intimate partner and/or children through a variety of means such as threats, intimidation, and emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. Coercive control can have a profound impact on both adult victims and children exposed to this behaviour. Coercive control compromises the victim’s independence, self-esteem, and safety.”

The second block is white with burgundy text. The title is “What is coercive control?” The text under this title says “…a pattern of abusive behaviours used to control or dominate a family member or intimate partner.”

The third block is tan coloured and has black text, which says “Coercive control may involve a range of behaviours during a relationship, and following separation, including the following:” The following bullets say:

  • Intimidation, making threats to harm the victim or themselves (self-harm, suicide),
  • Minimizing and denying the abuse,
  • Isolating the victim from friends, family, or work/school,
  • Emotional abuse such as constant criticism and degrading verbal abuse,
  • Economic abuse and control, and
  • Stalking and monitoring.

At the bottom of the page is a thin band of white with no text.

The second page has four bands of colour spanning the width of the page, each separated by a thin white band. The first is a thin band in burgundy with no text. The second is a tan coloured band with the heading “Coercive control may limit the victim’s freedom and choices in many ways, and often has consequences for parenting arrangements. Some of the effects of coercive control include:

Under this heading are five bulleted sets of text, which say:

  • Undermining the victim’s sense of physical safety and/or creating a sense of fear for self or other loved ones.
  • Violating the victim’s sense of emotional safety and/or creating a sense of serious distress and alarm for the emotional safety of self or other loved ones.
  • Creating conditions of subordination, dependency, or entrapment in a relationship.
  • Violating or removing the autonomy of the victim by controlling or greatly disrupting their daily activities.
  • Undermining a victim’s credibility and making them doubt the reality of their experiences.

The third band is tan coloured and contains the heading “Coercive control very often continues after separation:” followed by five text bullets, which say:

  • Abuser blames the victim for the violence,
  • Abuser minimizes their role in the violence,
  • Abuser uses the children by trying to turn them against the victim or getting them to spy on the victim.
  • Violence is ongoing,
  • Litigation abuse occurs including bullying that seeks to use up the victim’s resources, failing to follow through on agreed-upon plans, making false claims that the victim abused or kidnapped their children, undermining victim’s credibility (e.g., calling the victim a liar).

The fourth band is also tan coloured and has the heading “Findings of coercive control have significant implications for parenting arrangements. Critical considerations include the following:” followed by six text bullets, which say:

  • Reduce opportunities for ongoing abuse through well-structured decision-making and parenting time arrangements,
  • Develop and implement a safety plan,
  • Minimize ongoing contact between the parents,
  • Co-parenting is not appropriate in coercive control cases,
  • Seek supervision of parenting time where necessary, and
  • Recognize litigation abuse as a form of ongoing coercive control.

The third page of the brochure has one band of dark blue with white text, then a white section with black text followed by a third section that is divided into two subsections one on the left with an image and one on the right with a grey box and black text.

The top blue band has text with the heading “Coercive control is family violence” followed by the text: “Coercive control is a common form of family violence. Understanding the nature and impact of coercive control is essential for family courts and legal professionals.”

The next section has no band and has the following text: “Coercive control involves repeated acts of humiliation, intimidation, isolation, exploitation and/or manipulation, frequently accompanied by acts of physical or sexual coercion. This form of abuse is characterized by the ongoing way it removes the autonomy of the victim, often entrapping them in the relationship, and causing distinct emotional, psychological, economic, and physical harms. Coercive control is now recognized as a form of family violence in the Divorce Act and most provincial and territorial family laws.”

The final section has an image on the left. This image is a drawing of the silhouettes of two people on a dark blue background. The person on the left is yelling and has a hand raised toward the person on the right. The person on the right has their head down. The image is meant to convey non-physical family violence, depicting possible and threats or control over another causing fear for safety. On the right there is a grey text box that contains the text: “Family violence is defined in the Divorce Act as any behaviour by a family member towards another family member that is:

  • violent, or
  • threatening, or
  • a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour, or that
  • causes a family member to fear for their safety or the safety of another person,

and in the case of a child, the direct or indirect exposure to such conduct.”

The fourth page of the brochure has a medium green coloured band across the top of the page with a lighter green text box inset and to the right. The text in the green band says “Your client may feel:” There is an arrow on the left of the page leading from this text to the lighter green text box. In the lighter green text box there are 11 bullets in black text which say:

  • Afraid for themselves or loved ones,
  • Unsafe due to violations of no-contact orders,
  • Worn down and exhausted,
  • That they are second guessing themselves,
  • At the whim of their ex-partner,
  • Financially dependent on their ex-partner,
  • Unable to get away from their ex-partner,
  • Micro-managed by their ex-partner,
  • That their daily activities are disrupted,
  • Like they are ‘crazy’,
  • That they cannot trust their own decisions.

The middle section of the page has black text on a light grey background. The heading says “Any of the impacts above may be signs of coercive control and family violence.” Under the heading is the text, “It is important that your client can share their experiences in court and receive the counselling they require from specialized services in the community. Their children may also require counselling to deal with the family violence they have been exposed to.

Perpetrators of coercive control need to acknowledge and take responsibility for their behaviour as a first step in getting help for themselves.

Lawyers should look for patterns of behaviour, know that violence is likely to continue following separation, and understand how it can impact the family law process and parenting arrangements.”

The fifth page of the brochure has 10 boxes arranged in a grid pattern with three columns and four rows. The boxes are in light green and the content is in black. In row two and three, there are no middle boxes but instead the space is replaced with the heading “Coercive control” in large bolded font. Each box has a small graphic accompanied by a title below the graphic and a sentence below the title. This description starts with the top left box and continuing clockwise around the boxes.

The top left and first box has a stylized image of a person leaning over another person in an intimidating manner. The title for this box is “Harassment”, and the body text says, “Aggressive pressure or intimidation, constant calling, or messaging. Using victim’s identity against them, including racist and sexist slurs.”

The second box in row one has a drawn image of a person in a sitting holding their legs and with their head down. The title for this box is “Isolating”. The text below says, “Stopping victims from seeing family, friends, or work colleagues.”

The third box in row one has a stylized image of a phone with a text bubble pop up. The title reads, “Technological abuse”. The text below says, “Viewing text messages, emails, and social media without consent. Electronic stalking. Controlling phone access.”

The fourth box, this one being the right most box in row two, has a graphic of a hand pointing their pointer finger at the reader. The title for this box is “Blaming and degrading.” The text below says, “Putting down, humiliating, using secrets against the victim, sharing intimate photos, blaming the victim for all family problems.”

The fifth box, to the far right and in the third row, has a graphic of a standing individual with a hand up in a striking motion yelling at another individual who is kneeling on the ground while covering their face with their hands. The title for this box is “Physical & sexual abuse”. The text below says, “Hitting, kicking, punching, injuring, pressuring into nonconsensual sex acts, forced pregnancy or abortion.”

The sixth box, being the right most box in row four, has an image of three stylized question marks. The title reads, “Emotional abuse”. The text below says, “Constantly questioning or saying that victim is lying. Posting intimate images on social media.”

The seventh box, being the middle box in row four, has an image of two mobile text pop ups. One pop up has lines on them that indicates messages, the other simply has a line through them diagonally. The title reads, “Threatening,” while the text below says, “Threats, including from extended family to kill, hurt or ruin life of victim or their family, friends, or pets.”

The eighth box, the leftmost box on row four, has an image of two stylized hands holding a person shaped figure. The title reads, “Gaslighting.” The text below says, “Causing confusion, manipulating emotions, encouraging self-doubt, and making victim feel like they’re going crazy.”

The ninth box is the leftmost box on row 3, and has an image of a binocular. The title is “Stalking.” The text below says, “Following or making victim feel like their activities and whereabouts are being monitored at all times.”

The tenth box, being the leftmost box on row two, has a stylized image of a stack of money. The title reads, “Financial abuse.” The text below says “Limiting access to money and controlling how it is spent, not paying child support, not providing financial info.”

The sixth page of the brochure is divided into five section that span the width of the page. The First section is a band in dark blue with the text “Family violence with coercive control” in white.

Below this band are three sections each has an image and text light grey box on the left and text on a white background on the right. The first section has a box with a grey background with simple drawing of a head and shoulders of a person with a decision tree with one level below it. There are speech bubbles on the left and right of the branches. Under the image are the words “Factors to consider when gathering evidence”. To the right of this box there is four text bullets, which say:

  • History of the relationship and the forms of abuse and threats that have been used to try to control the victim and/or children.
  • Reports or observations of this conduct by third parties such as friends, relatives, co-workers, or professionals.
  • Litigation abuse as a continuing form of coercive control after the end of cohabitation.
  • Past and ongoing impact of abusive behaviours on children, on parenting, and on parent-child relationships

The second section has a box with simple drawing of a clipboard with a checklist on it. Under the image are the words “How to deal with it”. To the right are three text bullets, which say

  • Document to demonstrate patterns of conduct rather than isolated acts of abuse.
  • Recognize that exposure to coercive control is harmful to children.
  • Document harm to victim and/or children in terms of how the coercive control affects family members.

The third section has a box with the line drawing of a parent holding a child’s hand. Below are the words “Impact on parenting arrangements”. To the right are three text bullets, which say:

  • Co-parenting and joint decision-making are inappropriate since they may allow continuation of the pattern of abuse
  • Supervised parenting time or suspension of parental contact may be required
  • A minimum requirement is a highly structured parenting arrangement with little flexibility to avoid ongoing disagreements and litigation

At the bottom of the page, there is a band of dark blue with no text.