APA Model Policy for Domestic Polygraph
Testing Adopted 8-26-17
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: This Model Policy for Domestic Polygraph Testing is provided to assist
field examiners and referring professionals in the use of the polygraph test to investigate the
credibility of persons in domestic relationships. The purpose of this Model Policy is to support
compliance with and adherence to established practice standards and best practices in the
application of the polygraph test in the domestic context. Examiners should know and adhere to all
legal requirements and practice regulations in their local jurisdiction. This Model Policy may serve as
a point of reference for the development of standardized practice requirement for an agency or
local jurisdiction. In case of any conflict between the Model Policy and any local practice
requirements the local regulations should prevail. Examiners who work in jurisdictions and
programs without local regulations may refer to this Model Policy as a guide.
1.1 Domestic polygraph tests are those in which the examinee and examination
target issues involve the credibility of statements regarding interpersonal
behavior between spouses, live-in partners, non-domiciled marital or intimate
partners, children, parents, extended family members and blended family
members. A defining characteristic of these examinationsisthe absence of any
professional referral from involvement of law enforcement, judicial authorities,
protective services, attorney, investigator, or other professional. Examinations
conducted with the involvement of professionals from law enforcement,
judicial officials, and protective services may be subject to other standards and
guidelines and may not be subject to this Model Policy.
2. EXAMINER RESPONSIBILITIES
2.1 Compliance: All polygraph examinationsshould be conducted in compliance
with applicable law, and APA Standards of Practice regarding
instrumentation, sensors, audio/video recording, testing format, use of an
acquaintance test, analysis and reporting.
2.1.1 Informed consent should include an explanation to the examinee
that they are not required to submit to the examination and that
the examination can be terminated at any time, and should be
obtained independently and without the presence of any referring
2.1.2 Examiners should maintain all case materials, including referral
information, interview notes, test data, analysis, results, examination
report and audio/video recordings in a manner that is consistent with
applicable law and APA Standards of practice.
2.2 Professional roles: Polygraph examiners should limit their role to the
investigation of credibility and should refrain from all other attempts to
intervene or assist with the resolution of differences or conflicts between
persons in domestic context. Examiners should remain aware that the
professional provision of advice or counseling to assist with domestic
relationship problems is a regulated professional activity in most jurisdictions,
and can involve potential volatility forsome types of relationship distress.
2.2.1 Examiners should limit their involvement with each examinee to a
single professional relationship, and should avoid engaging in a
dual relationship with the examinee or referring person.
2.3 Referral: Examiners should clearly document the referral source, whether
professional or self-referral. Examinations should be regarded as self-referred
when the test is not initiated at the request of another professional who is
assisting with the domestic problem, including when the examination is
initiated by person with whom the examinee has a domestic relationship.
Examiners should remain aware that working with domestic relationships
under stress (i.e., those experience some form of problem that is in need of
resolution) may be different from relationships under distress (for which the
future viability of the relationship is unknown or questionable). Examiners
should be aware that some relationships in crisis can become volatile and
even dangerous. It isthe role of other helping professionals, not the polygraph
examiner, to work with the individuals in the domestic context to evaluate the
safety and viability of the domestic relationship.
2.3.1 When a domestic polygraph is conducted after referral from
another professional who is assisting with the domestic problem
the examination results, information and examination report
should be provided to the referring professional.
2.3.2 When a domestic polygraph conducted without referral from
another professional the test results, information and examination
report should be provided to the examinee and other domestic
persons involved in the examination referral. Results may also be
provided to others as requested by the client and consistent with
the provisions of the consent form signed by the examinee.
2.3.3 Examiners should refrain from conducting domestic polygraph
when there is evidence of violence or unsafe volatility, unless other
professionals are involved to assist with the evaluation and
maintenance of the safety of all persons involved in the domestic
2.4 Setting: Domestic polygraphs should be conducted in a professional setting,
and should not be conducted in a residence or domicile. Others with personal
non- professional interest in the outcome of the examination should not
witness the examination as it is conducted.
2.5 Examination report: Examiners should provide test result in the form of a
written report that memorializes the details and conclusions of the polygraph
test, including the testing instrumentation, testing format, content of the
pretest interview, test questions, test results and any addition following the
analysis and discussion of the test result.
2.5.1 Where no written report is requested, the examiner should retain a
draft report with the examination file, or should minimally retain
sufficient notes and information that the details of the test,
including the testing instrumentation, testing format, content of
the pretest interview, test questions, test results and any addition
following the analysis and discussion of the test result can be
accurately discussed at a later time, including the completion of a
written report, if necessary.
2.6 Confidentiality and mandatory reporting: Except as provided by law,
information from the polygraph examination and test results (outcomes)
should be kept confidential and provided only to those involved in the
examination and referral.
2.6.1 Examiners should not engage in mandatory reporting activities, for
known or suspected abuse of children or other vulnerable persons,
except where required by law (i.e., whenever polygraph examiners
are named or listed in statutes describing mandatory reporting
2.6.2 Examiners should remain aware that referring professionals will
likely be subject to mandatory reporting or other mandatory
disclosure requirements such as when it is know that an individual
is planning to harm another.