Every case depends upon evidence and credibility. It is well known that domestic violence can cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression. Evaluators who are not well-trained in domestic violence may misdiagnose PTSD. Frequently, untrained forensic evaluators may misdiagnose domestic violence as borderline personality disorder (BPD) or paranoia. As well, during a marriage people may go for marriage counselling and may not realize the extent to which battering exists, especially if it is psychological, emotional battering. They may blame themselves. At some point they may recognize the battering but it may not have been raised during counselling. When the couple finally comes to court the abuser may raise the victim’s mental health as an issue.
Ironically, there are times when victims go to marriage counselling with their abuser and the abuser requires them to commit in advance that they will not discuss abuse. Thus, those records will not reveal any concerns of domestic violence. Despite the problems associated with records, an entire counselling history should be disclosed at the outset of litigation, even where the victim has not disclosed the abuse. This helps to protect a victim’s credibility.
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