31 Things British Columbia Can Do Right Now to End Violence Against Women
14. Create binding guidelines on the use of psychological testing and labeling in child custody and child protection cases
Psychological testing is widely used during parenting capacity assessments, which are conducted in most child protection matters and some custody and access disputes. Many of the tests that are commonly used were developed for use in clinical settings, and have not been shown to be valid for predicting parenting capacity. Women who have experienced violence and abuse are vulnerable to inappropriate mental health labeling and diagnoses that do not account for the impact of violence on their health. The lack of standardized guidelines for the preparation of these assessments and absence of mandatory violence screening tools compound the problem. A province-wide review of the impact of these assessments is necessary to develop recommendations that will ensure women’s rights, and those of their children, are being respected in these important cases.
Women in British Columbia have waited too long already. That is why we are offering 31 things that BC’s new Provincial Office of Domestic Violence (PODV) can push for right now to increase safety for women and to bring us closer than we have ever been to ending violence against women once and for all. We are calling for 31 social, economic and legal changes, none of which are unachievable in this province. Some would require very little financial investment, and each of them will save resources in the long term given the high costs of violence against women.
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Follow The Violence Against Women in Relationship Act – 2. Audit for compliance with BC’s Violence Against Women in Relationship policy
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