Exposure to high intensity parental dispute (HIPD) can have harsh consequences for children both in childhood and adulthood. Most of the research on children and HIPD has been conducted in Western societies. Guided by context-informed perspective, the present study was designed to learn about the lives of children in HIPD situations within the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, in which one of the parents has disaffiliated with the community, as perceived by frontline practitioners who intervene with the children and their families in this context. Nine semi-structured interviews with social workers with extensive experience in such cases and 25 written reports authored by social workers were analyzed. The thematic analysis highlighted the impact of the clash between the Ultra-Orthodox world and the secular world on the lives of the children. The findings also underlined the challenges facing social workers in assessing these children’s most urgent needs given the various risks they face, including spiritual risk. The discussion points to an urgent need for further theoretical advancements regarding HIPD and children in other non-Western contexts and the crucial role of context-informed research in understanding this multifaceted phenomenon, which should greatly impact both decision making and intervention. The study’s conclusions indicate the importance of incorporating the findings into policy and practice in order to more effectively adapt interventions for children to situations of HIPD in closed societies.
- High intensity parental dispute
- Spiritual risk
- The child’s best interest
- Ultra-orthodox community