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MEDIATOR’S ASSESSMENT OF SAFETY ISSUES AND CONCERNS-SHORT

(MASIC-S) FOR PARTIES WHO ARE THE PARENTS OF THE CHILDREN IN THE CASE, OR WHO ARE CURRENTLY OR WERE PREVIOUSLY SPOUSES OR SIGNIFICANT OTHERS

PARTY EVALUATION FORM

ADMINISTERED VERBALLY IN FAMILY LAW CASES

The MASIC-S may be reproduced, distributed, and used freely in mediation practice, as long as the authors are acknowledged, and the MASIC-S is not modified. Any other use of the MASIC-S and/or any modification of the MASIC-S, including the preparation of derivative works, is strictly prohibited without the authors’ consent. We also wish to acknowledge the law and psychology students who assisted, directly and indirectly, in the development of this tool.   

NOTES AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SCREENER

When conducting the interviews:

ORDER OF SCREENING: Although males and females can be both victims and/or perpetrators of intimate partner violence or abuse (“IPV/A” or “DV”), most research shows that female victims report more sexual victimization, fear, and serious physical injury. See, e.g., Winstok, Z., & Straus, M. A. (2016), Journal of Family Violence, 31(8), 933-935. This is very important to know and consider in the mediation context. Thus, with male/female couples and where there is no information that the female party is perpetuating abuse on the male party, we recommend screening the female party first, if possible, in the event the screening results indicate that mediation would not be appropriate. Conducting a full MASIC-S screening of the male party might then not be necessary or appropriate. See the Comprehensive Guidance for Using the MASIC-S, available as a separate document on this site.

CLINICAL JUDGMENT: The term “clinical judgment” is used at times in this tool. Clinical judgment in this context means the application of one’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience in making decisions about the appropriate process and/or services to be offered to the parties. To exercise effective, reasonable, and sound clinical judgment in understanding and screening for IPV/A and making necessary referrals, the screener (and mediator) should have adequate training and experience in the area of IPV/A, and access to any needed consultation.

SCREENER: References to the screener in this tool also refer to the mediator, if the mediator is conducting the screening.

Asking questions:

DO NOT EDIT THE MASIC-S QUESTIONS: Occasionally, the wording of a question may seem awkward. Even if awkward, please ask each question exactly as it is written because many of these questions have been validated. When asking the questions, we encourage you, however, to substitute the other party’s name for [the other party], and use pronouns (e.g., he/she/them) as appropriate.

RECOMMENDED BUT OPTIONAL: Some questions and explanations are marked as RECOMMENDED BUT OPTIONAL. These are not required. Most RECOMMENDED BUT OPTIONAL questions involve providing follow-up details. Some mediators may not have time to ask for detail; other mediators (time permitting) may prefer to ask for detail. This decision is discretionary with the mediator or mediation program.

REQUIRED: Questions that are required are so indicated. Also, if an explanation or the answer to a follow up question is necessary, it will be marked as REQUIRED.

DO NOT OFFER “DON’T KNOW” AS AN OPTION: Do not offer the party you are interviewing “don’t know” as a response option to questions. Only mark “don’t know” as a response if the party truly is unable to respond to a question. (Note that these will be scored as Yes answers.)

HOW TO RESPOND TO PARTY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MASIC-S QUESTIONS ASKED OF AND ANSWERED BY THE OTHER PARTY: See the Comprehensive Guidance for Using the MASIC-S, available as a separate document on this site.

Identifying and referring to the parties and others:

“OTHER PARTY”: The questions refer to “The other party” or “The other party in this case,” which may be the other parent, other spouse, or significant other. The questions are only intended to ask about intimate partner violence and abuse (“IPV/A or “DV”) committed by a current or past intimate partner.

USE OTHER PARTY’S NAME WHEN ASKING QUESTIONS IF POSSIBLE: “The other party” or “The other party in this case” are shown in [brackets] to prompt you to use the other party’s name verbally during the assessment, if this is possible. This is to help build rapport. For gender neutrality, we are using “[he/she/they]” and “[him/her/them]”. Please choose the appropriate pronoun.

DO NOT RECORD ANY IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ON THE FORMS: When typing in details to questions, do not type in any names or initials. Before finalizing the form, please check to make sure that you did not include any names or initials. Instead:

  • When referring to “Mother,” use “Mo” in the follow-up notes section. Mother’s relatives or new partners should be, e.g., “Mo’s mother,” “Mo’s significant other,” etc. Stepmother should be “StepMo.”
  • When referring to “Father,” use “Fa” in the follow-up notes section. Father’s relatives or new partners should be, e.g., “Fa’s mother,” “Fa’s significant other,” etc. Stepfather should be “StepFa.”
  • With same sex couples, use Male/Female/Nonbinary “Party 1” and Party 2” and comparable derivatives listed above.
  • When referring to child/ren: If one child, use “child” in the follow-up notes section. Otherwise describe as “younger” or “youngest,” “older” or “oldest,” “middle,” or another appropriate adjective before “child.”

USE “SURVIVOR” RATHER THAN “VICTIM”: When the screener refers an interviewee for services based on intimate partner violence or abuse (“IPV/A” or “DV”), do not describe the interviewee as a “victim.” If a label is necessary for some reason, it is preferable to describe a party who reports victimization by the other party as a “survivor.”

Questions that are not included:

CASE BACKGROUND: The MASIC-S does not ask background questions. Users of the MASIC-S may ask background questions separately from this tool. One of the authors (Applegate) asks all parties to separately complete and submit a confidential intake form, with detailed case and demographic information. To request a copy of this confidential intake form, email aga@indiana.edu.

Disclaimer of Liability:

DISCLAIMER: The MASIC-S (including the current version and any and all prior, future, and derivative versions) is intended for screening purposes only and does not provide any formal diagnosis of anyone screened or discussed in screening. The MASIC-S authors have no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy and/or completeness of information obtained though screening done with the MASIC-S, or for evaluations and/or recommendations made based upon information obtained through MASIC-S screening. Users of the MASIC-S, or information obtained through MASIC-S screening, are deemed to have accepted the conditions set forth in this disclaimer.

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