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Addressing Fatherhood with Men Who Batter

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Presentation on theme: "Addressing Fatherhood with Men Who Batter"— Presentation transcript:

1 Addressing Fatherhood with Men Who Batter
Melissa Scaia, John Downing, and Laura Connelly – Advocates for Family Peace Scott Miller – Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs

2 History of working with men who batter and addressing fatherhood

3 Fatherhood Goals Goal for the curriculum: Add curricula and sessions to BIP programming that focuses on men as fathers and parenting partners Community / Systemic Goal: Every man who uses supervised visitation and exchange for battering will also participate in the IPMF

4 Goal for the development of this curriculum:
To help end violence against women and children by motivating men to become better fathers (or father figures) and more supportive parenting partners.

5 Introduction to the beliefs about men who batter and fatherhood
Most men who batter are fathers Most of the men have developed belief systems similar to their own fathers Last 30 years, BIPs have developed around the country to address men’s violence against women Very little time has been spent on men as fathers and as co-parents/parallel-parents Greater empathy by men toward their children’s experiences of the violence than toward their partners’ experiences

6 Why Should We Focus on Fathers?
Most men who batter have some level of contact with their children Many battered mothers report that their abusers purposefully involve children in violent events (Edelson, 2006).

7 Men who batter systematically undermine and interfere with battered mothers’ parenting in multiple ways (Bancroft, 2002). The violence perpetrated in the home is used to control the behavior of the other members in the family. Battered women want their children to have “safe” contact with the father.

8 On average, children exposed to adult domestic violence exhibit more difficulties than those not exposed. The difficulties can vary in range and extremity in behavioral and emotional functioning and cognitive functioning and attitudes (Edleson, 2006). Most men in a batterers intervention program (BIP) are fathers. Many men who batter are visiting parents in a supervised visitation center.

9 History of the Fathering After Violence (FAV) Project
AFFP was chosen as a pilot site by the Family Violence Prevention Fund as part of the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange grant program of OVW Facilitators’ experiences in groups with men who have been abusive Blandin Foundation, Northland Foundation, Minneapolis Foundation and Bush Foundation Funding Research, Focus Groups, and Interviews

10 A Shared Understanding of Domestic Violence Theory and Fatherhood

11 A Shared Understanding: The Blueprint for Safety
Adhere to an interagency approach and collective intervention goals Build attention to the context and severity of abuse into each intervention Recognize that most domestic violence is a patterned crime requiring continuing engagement with victims and offenders Ensure sure and swift consequences for continued abuse Use the power of the criminal justice system to send messages of help and accountability Act in ways that reduce unintended consequences and the disparity of impact on victims and offenders

12 A Shared Understanding (cont’d)
Men's use of violence towards their current/ex- partner should be considered when determining access to their children. All intervention practices must reflect an understanding of the interdependence of mother's and children's safety.

13 Theoretical Framework for understanding fathering by men who batter
Men who batter parent differently than other fathers and systematically undermine and interfere with battered mothers’ parenting in multiple ways (Bancroft, 2002). Most battered women want the children to have contact with the father – as long as it is safe for the children. Our culture closely ties fatherhood to dominance and strength Men who batter often believe that the children’s mother and children should provide unquestioning compliance. Most men who batter to do not believe that if they have harmed the mother that they have harmed the children

14 Why Does Domestic Violence Happen?
Diagnosable pathologies It’s the relationship isn’t it? Lenora Walker’s Cycle of Violence Maintaining a system of dominance

15 Diagnosable Pathology
The offender’s violence is explained through the diagnosis The focus is the individual rather than social construction Therapy, chemical dependency treatment or parenting evaluations and treatment

16 It’s the Relationship Isn’t It?
The violence is a product of each person’s choices Interventions could be couple’s therapy, family therapy, and/or parent/child therapy.

17 The Cycle of Violence Psychological explanation for domestic violence
tension-building explosion honeymoon Since anger is the driving force, managing it becomes the intervention. Child management techniques to address anger with children.

18 System of Dominance System of power and control tactics Includes:
Physical violence Sexual violence Other tactics on Power and Control Wheel Men battering their family is socially constructed Need to balance power differential by using power of the state Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs

19 Men’s vs. Women’s Use of Violence
Types of violence used Intent of violence Impact of the violence Addressing parenting

20 Entitlement

21 Oppression and Resistance
Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs Oppression Resistance

22 Oppression and Resistance
Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs Healthy Relationship Violence

23 Critical Dialogue

24 Learning Critical Dialogue: The Impact of My Parents on Me
Triad groups – learn from each other; ask questions to have a deeper understanding; practice dialogue

25 Not a “parenting” curriculum and addressing fatherhood work with men who batter

26 Not a parenting curriculum
Traditional parenting curriculum seeks to provide parents with skills to parent children as circumstances arise (child management techniques) and to increase men’s knowledge of stages of “normal” child development Knowing child development stages + entitlement WILL STILL EQUAL = battering This curriculum focuses on the entitlement that men have in relationships to their children and the children’s mother as a parenting partner Intended to be incorporated into and/or with a BIP

27 Example of Missy and Scott
If Randy’s beliefs aren’t non-violent, then any skill taught will be used with entitlement and violent beliefs behind it

28 Coordinating a Response to Fathers Who Batter
When are parenting skills classes appropriate? What are the risks? What beliefs does a father need to implement skills? Who should skills programs be connected to?

29 The Four Themes of the Fatherhood Work with Men Who Batter from curriculum “Addressing Fatherhood with Men Who Batter” Theme One: Examining Men’s Own Childhood Experiences with their Father Theme Two: The Impact and Effects of Men’s Abusive Behaviors on their Children Theme Three: Becoming a Child-Centered Father Theme Four: Examining How Men Can Be Respectful and Non-abusive of Their Children’s Mother and of the Mother-Child Relationship

30 Fatherhood Log Addresses each theme
1) Childhood experiences with your own father 2) Impact of your children and your children’s mother 3) Becoming a more nurturing, child-centered father 4) Respecting and supporting the woman as a parenting partner

31 Implementing practice, philosophy, and principles with men who batter as fathers

32 Written Curriculum, DVD, and future Trainings
Written curriculum, “Addressing Fatherhood with Men Who Batter” = $100 Written by Melissa Scaia, MPA, Laura Connelly, and John Downing Forward by: Ellen Pence, PhD Edited by: John Connelly, Scott Miller, and Jane Sadusky DVD = $125 Four vignettes 911 call Purchase Curriculum and DVD at: or

33 Contact information Advocates for Family Peace 1611 NW 4th Street Grand Rapids, MN 55744 Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs 202 East Superior Street Duluth, MN 55802

34 Resources Mending the Sacred Hoop Battered Women’s Justice Project Domestic Abuse Intervention Project Praxis International Advocates for Family Peace

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