International Symposium „Forensic Psychology in Family Law“ (FPFL)

Logo International Symposium „Forensic Psychology in Family Law“ (FPFL)

We are pleased to introduce the first International Symposium on Forensic Psychology in Family Law!

The International Symposium on Forensic Psychology in Family Law (FPFL) is initiated and hosted by Prof. Dr. Jelena Zumbach, Assistant Professor of Family Law Psychology at Psychologische Hochschule Berlin (PHB). It addresses practitioners conducting child custody or child protection evaluations for family courts, researchers in the field, and anyone who is generally interested to learn more about the subject.

If children are in danger due to child abuse or neglect, or if parties cannot resolve issues like custody and visitation, child protection and child custody disputes are often the top issue in family law proceedings. In those cases, a forensic psychologist may be appointed by the court to perform a child protection or child custody evaluation.

Our aim is to connect practitioners and researchers in the field around the world. We aim to discuss problems of practical relevance with you. Sharing case-related experience is encouraged. We want to learn how practitioners from different countries address challenges and how research can contribute to create solutions.

For each session, we will invite an international speaker on a specific topic. All speakers are internationally renowned researchers with a practical background. The forum takes place via two to three online sessions a year.


Next Online Meeting

„Child Abuse Allegations in Custody Evaluations“

Dr. Taina Laajasalo
University of Helsinki, Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare

October 28th, 2020  | 18:00-19:30h (UTC+1, Berlin)


If allegations of child abuse and neglect are included in child custody disputes, family law professionals face particular challenges. Accurately identifying child maltreatment requires assessing the background, the history and the context of the allegations in order to differentiate confirmed, unfounded, and fabricated allegations. The presentation provides a review of child abuse allegations within the context of child custody disputes. It describes the relevant recent academic research, including studies on substantiation rates, alienation and child interviewing. Furthermore, it emphasizes on how to build research-based practices for dealing with these highly complex and challenging cases.

Speaker’s short bio

Taina Laajasalo, PhD, adjunct professor (title of docent) in Forensic Psychology, has research expertise in issues related to child abuse, child abuse investigations and child behavioural disorders. Her other interests are evidence based mental health promotion and prevention, early intervention and psychological wellbeing of children and families. Currently she works as a chief specialist at the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare, aiming to develop child-friendly, evidence-based justice procedures as well as interventions and services for children who have experienced violence. Previously she has worked several years ​as part of a multidisciplinary team, assisting the police and the judicial system in investigations of child sexual and physical abuse as well as consulting and teaching professionals on these matters.

Previous Keynotes

A Critical Review of the Research that Guides Parenting Plan Evaluations: An Evidenced-Informed Approach for Virtual and Face-to-Face Methods

Dr. Michael Saini, Associate Professor
Factor-Inwentash Chair in Law and Social Work
University of Toronto, Canada