Domestic violence marginalised & children’s needs

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Transcript Domestic violence marginalised & children’s needs

Domestic violence marginalised &
children’s needs compromised in
the construction of children’s ‘best
Dr Amanda Shea Hart
Adverse effects on children from
exposure to DV
Possible long & short consequences:
 Serious physical, psychological,
cognitive, behavioral,
developmental, emotional &
relational problems
 Poor life satisfaction, self esteem &
future relationships
 Disrupted tasks of childhood
Adverse effects on children from
exposure to DV
Cumulative developmental effects
Predisposition to becoming violent
later in life
Elevated physiological states
ongoing hyperarousal & hypervigilance
Development of Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder PTSD
Child victims of violence
For children, living with domestic violence
requires negotiating, making sense of,
and managing a number of complex and
overlapping issues: the behavior of the
abuser; the responses of, and impacts on,
their mother and siblings; danger and risk
to themselves; their emotions; and kin
and friendship relations.
Mullender, Hague, Imam, Kelly, Malos and Regan
(2002, p.91)
Research on DV in family law
Alleged violence in 79% of adjudicated
cases in FCA (AIFS 2007)
Violence an issue in 58% of 40 randomly
selected child-related judgments (Kaspiew
Violence an issue at final hearing in 128
contact cases at Adelaide registry
between 1996-2001 (Shea Hart 2004)
Physical violence an issue in 67% of 91
child related judgments. At least one
allegation accepted by FCA in over 50%
of these cases (FCA 2003)
Examples of types of violence found to
have occurred
‘foul language’
‘threat to kill’
‘head- butted’
‘pulled from the car’
‘broke [wife’s] ribs’
‘poured lighter fluid on the wife and threatened to set it on
‘threatening and aggressive demeanor’
‘convicted of assault’
‘ruled the household with an iron fist’
‘punching a hole through the door’
‘threatening and intimidatory manner’
‘obsessive about the wife and the children mixing with other
‘wife was required to be extremely frugal with the
housekeeping money’
Violence mutualised
‘extreme conflict’ ‘bitter conflict’
‘bitter feud’
‘fiery marriage’
‘turbulent relationship’
‘state of war between the parties’
‘animosity between the parties’
‘enmity between the parties’
‘active denigration by both parents’
‘hostility between the parties’
‘Alienating’ mothers
Mothers’ ‘hostile’ & ‘irresponsible’ attitudes
‘relentlessly undermining’
‘slur the father’
‘pernicious influence’
‘quest for revenge’
‘severely overprotective’
‘grossly alienating’
‘actively denigrated the husband’
‘poisoned the child’s mind against his father’
‘destroying [father’s] relationship with his children’
‘deliberate…alienating conduct and strategies’
‘callous disregard for [children’s] wellbeing’
‘blinded’ to the ‘essential issues’ [for children’s
Children’s problems
‘emotionally fragile’
‘extremely upset’
‘anger and hostility’
‘poohing her pants’
‘disturbed sleep’
‘impulsive moods‘
‘depressive condition’
‘hated life and wished to die’
‘withdraws from unpleasant feelings’
‘learning difficulties’
‘difficulties concentrating’
‘obsessed with [masturbation]’
‘regular detentions at school’
‘kicking, hitting, teasing and showing no remorse’
Normalising discourse
Children immature, incompetent beings
not able to reliably express their own
experiences & wishes
Children adversely affected by:
exposure to conflict
deprivation of relationships with their ‘loving’,
‘caring’ fathers
irresponsible ‘alienating’ mothers
Child problematising discourse
Non-compliant behaviour
‘enormous power and control’
‘bad behaviour’
Acting out behaviour
‘bad tempered’
‘putting on a show’
Children’s improved wellbeing
Social & academic development
‘more able to state feelings’
‘fairly self assured’
‘friendly ’
‘excellent social interaction’
‘outstanding school work’
‘improved functioning’
‘no longer receiving regular detentions at school’
 Emotional, psychological & behavioural
‘functioning normally’
‘peace of mind’
‘more secure’
‘managing life’
‘markedly less anxious’
‘no longer requiring medication’
‘feeling safe’
‘progression into a normal state’
‘less angry’
‘improvement of depressive condition’
‘nightmares have now settled’
Children’s best interests: Prioritize
protection from violence
Centralize children’s exposure to domestic
Legislative reform - rebuttable
presumption of no contact where violence
is alleged
Ongoing education & training for social
science and legal professionals on
domestic violence and child abuse
Children’s best interests: Priorities
protection from violence
4. Differentiated case management pathway
Early intervention & report to Court
Comprehensive individual child-focused assessment
provided by experts in violence, abuse and childhood
Risk/benefit analysis
Identify trauma symptoms, coping strategies,
attachment patterns, special needs & views of the
Identify patterns of coercive control & parenting
practices of perpetrator of violence
Recommendations for Court case management, case
coordination between jurisdictions & referral to
therapeutic/support services
Conduct research to evaluate outcomes for the child
and develop evidence based model of practice