“Please, Help Me!”: Children’s Perceptions of Parental Dispute as Shared in Forensic Interviews Following Alleged Maltreatment

Carmit Katz*, Talia Glucklich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last few decades, the phenomenon of child maltreatment (CM) has been recognized as a major social problem by professionals, policymakers, and researchers. Relatedly, high-intensity parental dispute (HIPD) has been increasingly recognized, particularly in terms of its detrimental effect on the family unit and on child welfare in particular. Few studies, however, have considered these two phenomena jointly. The present study examines experiences and perceptions of children situated at their intersection. The sample comprised forensic interviews with 42 children referred to the Israeli Service of Child Forensic Interviews following alleged maltreatment. The results of a thematic analysis pointed to the centrality of children’s exposure to HIPD in the context of the CM allegations for which they were referred to and about which they were asked during the interview. In addition, the analysis identified various displays of potential deficiencies in parent–child relationship in the context of HIPD and two main profiles for the disclosure of the CM allegations. The discussion stresses the exposure of the children to HIPD as a possible risk context that should receive further attention by scholars and practitioners. Moreover, it highlights the multifaceted nature of the children’s experiences, which generate enormous challenges for practitioners in both clinical and forensic contexts, as well as the importance of an integrated approach that considers the HIPD context while not ignoring the CM allegations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-585
Number of pages16
JournalFamily Process
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Child Maltreatment
  • Child Narratives
  • Forensic Interview
  • High-Intensity Parental Dispute


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