Children’s exposure to intimate partner abuse

Clare Murphy PhD SpeakOutLoud.net children_2I recently co-wrote two issues papers that address children’s exposure to intimate partner abuse. They’re available here.

The first paper is titled Understanding connections and relationships: Child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and parenting and it explores:

  • The links between child maltreatment and intimate partner violence
  • The detrimental effects of children’s exposure to intimate partner violence
  • The disruption to mother-child relationships due to intimate partner violence
  • The poor fathering that can accompany perpetration of intimate partner violence

The second paper is titled Policy and practice implications: Child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and parenting and it explores:

The responses required by systems such as the family court, child protection services, to support children. Five of the guiding principles for protecting children and adults who are exposed to child maltreatment and intimate partner violence include:

  • Provide holistic support for children
  • Support the non-abusing parent
  • Support the mother-child relationship
  • Hold the perpetrator accountable
  • Be culturally responsive

Other key messages in the second paper include:

Children’s safety and wellbeing is highly dependent on the quality of their bond with their non-abusive parent (most often the mother). Programmes to support mothers and children need to include a focus on supporting them to strengthen or re-establish their relationship, which may have been damaged by exposure to violence.

Parenting programmes for fathers who have used violence need to emphasise the need to end violence against their children’s mothers (they cannot be “a lousy partner but a good dad”).

There needs to be adequately resourced services to support children, adult victim/survivors and perpetrators. These services need to work in co-ordinated and collaborative ways, as part of multi-agency response systems, and work from a sophisticated understanding of intimate partner violence.

The United States Centers for Disease Control have identified safe, stable, and nurturing relationships as fundamental in supporting children to thrive. Exposure to intimate partner violence and the impact of violence on the parenting children receive need to become key areas of work in responding to ‘vulnerable children’.

You can download both papers at the following links:

Murphy, Clare., Paton, Nicola., Gulliver, Pauline., Fanslow, Janet. (2013). Understanding connections and relationships: Child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and parenting. Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse, The University of Auckland.

Murphy, Clare., Paton, Nicola., Gulliver, Pauline., Fanslow, Janet. (2013). Policy and practice implications: Child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and parenting. Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse, The University of Auckland.

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Meet the Author

Clare Murphy PhD is the founder of SpeakOutLoud. Her website is dedicated to providing in-depth research about coercive control and psychological abuse. Clare mentors, supervises and trains professionals to recognise and work safely with domestic violence. She offers one-on-one counselling and consultation to those who are ready to make sense of coercive control and abuse, and to Grow and Flourish Beyond Trauma.