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ERIC Number: EJ947061
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1357-5279
Domestic Abuse and Child Contact: Positioning Children in the Decision-Making Process
Holt, Stephanie
Child Care in Practice, v17 n4 p327-346 2011
Drawing on a three-year Irish research study, this paper focuses on the decision-making process in child contact, specifically the assessment and management of risk of continuing abuse to young people previously exposed to domestic abuse. A mixed methodological approach involved the completion of survey questionnaires by 219 mothers and the participation in focus groups and individual interviews by 16 children and young people, nine mothers, six fathers and 30 professionals. Non-participant observation of the Family Law Court was also conducted. This paper highlights particular concerns regarding the neglect, emotional, physical and sexual abuse of children, which was found to continue through the facility of post-separation contact. Critical reflection on the decision-making process regarding contact with domestically abusive fathers highlights the absence of a child-centred assessment process that prioritises ascertaining the child's views and wishes. Underpinning this decision-making process was a presumption that contact was automatically in the child's best interest. Highlighting the increased risk of harm to children from the ongoing and often unmonitored presence of abusive men in their lives, this paper challenges that assumption, arguing that decisions that are made in children's "best interests", but in the absence of their voice, can be detrimental to their welfare. (Contains 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A