Issues Paper 4, April 2013
Authors: Clare Murphy, PhD, Nicola Paton, Pauline Gulliver, PhD, and Janet Fanslow, PhD
This paper explores the system responses required to support children exposed to intimate partner violence. Guiding principles for protecting children and adults 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
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’.
Note: The Clearinghouse co-hosted a one-day conference, Children, Child maltreatment and intimate partner violence: Research, policy and practice on 5 June 2013. Speakers include Professor Jeff Edleson, one of the world's leading authorities on children exposed to domestic violence. Presentations are available.
Murphy, C., Paton, N., Gulliver, P., & Fanslow, J. (2013). Policy and practice implications: Child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and parenting Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse, The University of Auckland.
ISSN: 2253-3222, published online only
Understanding connections and relationships: Child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and parenting