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 Forensic Psychology in Family Law!

The International Symposium 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.

Portrait Corine de Ruiter

Next Online Meeting

Risk factors for child maltreatment: The value of structured risk assessment for prevention of future abuse

Prof. Dr. Corine de Ruiter
Maastricht University, Netherlands

February 17th, 2021  | 18:00-19:30h (UTC+1, Berlin)


What are research-based practices that can assist in the investigation of the risk of re-abuse in cases when family members have maltreated their children? In her talk, Prof. Dr. de Ruiter will focus on the issue of secondary prevention of child abuse. In two separate studies, Prof. Dr. de Ruiter and her colleagues have shown that child protection workers do not automatically focus on the most important risk factors for child abuse when investigating a case. Structured guidelines for risk assessment, such as the Child Abuse Risk Evaluation (de Ruiter et al., 2020) are superior to unstructured clinical judgment of child abuse risk, because they mitigate bias and require thorough scrutiny of all the relevant information sources.

In addition to that, the Risk-Need-Responsivity model, developed for effective offender rehabilitation, can also serve as a model for implementing child abuse risk assessment and risk management interventions. Prof. Dr. de Ruiter will end the talk with suggestions for the improvement of risk assessment practice in family law.

Speaker’s short bio

Corine de Ruiter, PhD is full professor of Forensic Psychology and head of the Forensic Psychology section, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University. She is a licensed clinical psychologist (BIG) in The Netherlands

In 1995, she accepted a position as head of the research department at the Van der Hoeven Kliniek, a forensic psychiatric center in Utrecht, the Netherlands. In 1999, she became endowed professor of Forensic Psychology at the University of Amsterdam and in 2006, she started her professorship at Maastricht University.

Her research interests include the relationship between mental disorder and violence, violence risk prevention (including intimate partner violence, child abuse, sexual violence), psychopathy, and forensic psychological assessment. She published her research in over 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and served as an editor for several journals. Lastly, Prof. Dr. de Ruiter regularly serves as an expert witness in court, on issues such as criminal responsibility, risk of future violence, and required level of supervision and treatment.

Previous Keynotes

Child Abuse Allegations in Custody Evaluations

Dr. Taina Laajasalo
Adjunct Professor in Forensic Psychology
University of Helsinki, Finland

Download: References

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