Presentation on theme: "Professor Marianne Hester"— Presentation transcript:
1 Professor Marianne Hester Domestic ViolenceProfessor Marianne HesterUniversity of Bristol
2 Major problem faced by practitioners working with women and children: Different, separate, & contradictory ideas and practice approaches:Domestic violenceChild protectionChild contact
3 The presentation draws on the following: Hester, M., Pearson, C. & Harwin, N. with Abrahams, H. (2007) Making an Impact - Children and Domestic Violence. A Reader, 2nd Edition. London: Jessica Kingsley.Hester, M. (2004), ‘Future Trends and Developments – Violence Against Women In Europe and East Asia’, Violence Against Women, 10 (12):
4 Separate development of policies & services for domestic violence and child abuse Domestic violence – perceived as gendered, increasingly criminalisedChild abuse – perceived a family dysfunction, welfare approach with de-criminalisation
5 Developing positive practice Supporting mothers to be safeFocusing intervention on violent menMulti-agency working
6 Different contexts – three planets Domestic violence:Child protectionChild contact
7 Domestic violence planet considered a crime(civil and criminal law);range of supportviolent male partner
8 Child protection planet (public law)welfare approach;state interventionin abusive families;mother seen asfailing to protect
10 Life beyond three planets? Child protection:(public law)welfare approach;state interventionin abusive families;mother seen asfailing to protectDomestic violence:considered a crime(civil and criminal law);range of supportviolent male partnerChild contact:(private law);negotiated ormediated outcome;good enoughfatherNew initiative:Safeguarding BoardsFrom April 2006
12 When does it begin? early on in relationship when relationship is made formalduring pregnancywhen the children are smallABOUT POWER & CONTROL
13 Escalation over time The abusive behaviour may escalate over time, …especially when women attempt to leave or in other ways assert their individuality and strength.
14 Continues after separation 33% of domestic violence is reportedafter the couple separate
15 the impact of domestic violence on children - research shows: that the domestic violence perpetrator may also be directly - physically and/ or sexually - abusive to the child;that witnessing violence to their mothers may have an abusive and detrimental impact on the children concerned; andthat the perpetrators may abuse the child as a part of their violence against women.
16 Child abuse in the context of domestic violence domestic violence is the most common context for child abuse;male domestic violence perpetrators are more likely to be abusive to children and more extremely so;the more severe the domestic violence, the more severe the abuse of children in the same context; andchildren may experience multiple forms of abuse.
17 UK study on child maltreatment: Cawson (2002) in prevalence survey of child maltreatment involving 2,869 young people aged 18-24:Domestic violence was reported by 80% of victims of serious physical abuse, by more than half those experiencing intermediate physical abuse, and by 44% of those who were smacked regularly and suffered physical effects lasting a day or longer.Of young people sexually abused by parents, almost two-thirds came from families in which violence was constant or frequent.88% of the young adults neglected in childhood reported violence between their carers.
18 Living with and witnessing violence Children who witness domestic violence are at increased risk for maladaptation. (Kolbo, Blakely and Engleman 1996: 289)A meta-evaluation of 118 (mainly US) quantitative studies (Kitzmann, Gaylord, Holt and Kenny 2003) showed significantly worse outcomes to comparison groups of children who had not witnessed domestic violence. About two-thirds (62%) of child witnesses were not faring as well as the average child.
19 Domestic violence as a context for child deaths Saunders (2004) examined homicides of 29 children from 13 families killed in the context of post-separation contact or residence ( ):Domestic violence was involved in at least 11 of the 13 families.In five of the cases contact had been ordered by the courts.
20 Saunders (2004) concludes: In several cases the children were not viewed as being at risk of significant harm’, even when the mother was facing potentially lethal violence. Some professionals had no understanding of the power and control dynamics of domestic violence, and did not recognise the increased risks following separation or the mother’s starting a new relationship. In several cases professionals did not talk to the children. Sometimes this was because the perpetrator prevented any meaningful contact with the child.
21 DV as context for entry to prostitution Living with domestic violence as a child:running away from homeother vulnerability to enter prostitution
22 Impact of DV on children wide range of effects – physical, psychological, behavioural, socialinfluenced by factors such as age, race, economic status, gender, disability, sexuality and children’s resiliencechildren (even within the same family) may be affected in quite different ways
23 Different ages:Robbie, was obviously affected when his mother was being abused at home. His speech was badly affected, and this was even more apparent at the time of domestic violence incidentsJamie, his younger brother, was not so obviously affected by living in the same circumstances
24 A different family:Nigel, had particular problems relating to and mixing with other children, and often acted violently towards themNigel’s younger sister Susan, was affected less obviously by living with domestic violence
25 Another child:An older school-age child, Albert (described by his teacher as “a very bright boy”).coped with the ‘out of control’ experience of living with violence by being quite controlling in his relations with others. This behaviour would become especially obvious at times of renewed domestic violence against his mother
27 elements especially important in work with children experiencing domestic violence elimination of violencerecovery work, treatment, or ‘talking to someone’supporting mothers to be safe as a positive approach in child protectionsupporting the mother to be a well-functioning residential parentbuilding on coping and resilience strategies
28 this recognises: the existence of violence, the impact of the violence,the need for a significant other,other protective factors
29 for children the barriers to talking about violence are: Fear of the violent man finding outFear of not being believedFear of being stigmatisedDifficulty in talking to adultsNot having anyone to tellServices not being available
33 Coping strategies:Diverting attention - Albert tried hard to minimise and thus contain his experiences of seeing his mother abused. His involvement in activities outside home, in particular football, played a central role in his ability to do soSwitching off -A couple of the younger children had a very different coping strategy, which appeared to be to switch off completely, and to go completely blank
34 Teacher’s solution:The oldest one goes to school and reports to the teacher. Most mornings he has a little diary that he fills in himself, that's just for him. And if he wants to show it to the teacher he can. And it's often around 'I want to kill myself. My father beat my mom up last night.' Or, 'He went to see his girlfriend and he hit his girlfriend. He shouts at me. He plays rough with me. He hurts me.' So yes you do. (Health Visitor)
35 Effective interventions with children should include: empowering (rather than punitive) work with the mothervalidate and acknowledge children’s difficult experiences, and reassure them that they are not alone and not to blamelong-term ‘therapeutic’ or other 'talking/ playing' interventions to help children make sense of their experiencessupport which takes account of children’s particular circumstances (cultural/ ethnic, age, disability needs etc)
36 difficulties, pitfalls and gaps in practice faced by practitioners working with children
37 Lack of understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence Lack of co-ordinated practice between agenciesLack of safe practiceReferral CircuitBlaming mothers while ignoring violent menAvoiding violent men, and violent men as fathers
38 Conclusion – key issues the need to understand how domestic violence works,the specific experiences and needs of children,supporting the non-abusive (usually mother) carerand focussing on the violent perpetrator.