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Violent fathering and the risks to children

Violent fathering and the risks to children: The need for change

Lynne Harne
Copyright Date: 2011
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  • Book Info
    Violent fathering and the risks to children
    Book Description:

    Current family policy approaches emphasise the significance of paternal involvement in children's lives, yet there has been a silence on violent and abusive fathering in these discourses. This is the first UK book to specifically focus on violent fathering discussing original research in the context of domestic violence and emerging practice literature to address this problem. The book examines fathers' perceptions of their domestic violence and its impact on children, their relationships with children and their parenting practices. It will be of interest to academics and professionals in family and child welfare policy, socio-legal studies, social work, criminology and other disciplines with an interest in domestic violence and child protection.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-212-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    In recent years there has been considerable policy emphasis on the benefits of increased father involvement with children. However, these discourses have assumed that all father engagement is good for children, rather than acknowledging differences between fathers and recognising that, as with some mothers, there are those who pose considerable risks to children’s safety and their long-term development and welfare. Despite legislation that recognises that child maltreatment includes observing harm towards others, there has been a strange silence in government policies in identifying and naming such fathers as abusers or in questioning their parenting. Rather, in policies to safeguard children...

  4. ONE Fathers’ violence and children’s perspectives
    (pp. 11-42)

    This chapter looks at the extent and impact of fathers’ violence on children and children’s own perspectives on their violent fathers. The first section summarises some of the key findings from the research on the varying ways children are harmed through this violence and its interconnections with abusive parental practice. The second section focuses on research on children’s own views of living with paternal domestic violence and their feelings towards these fathers. The importance of children’s perspectives on their own lives has been highlighted in sociological studies of childhood and indicates that they are active participants in socialisation processes rather...

  5. TWO Changing discourses of fatherhood in family policies
    (pp. 43-80)

    This chapter looks at the way fatherhood has been constructed through social policy and law and how this relates to discourses of domestic violence. Domestic violence and related child abuse are frequently regarded as minor issues, if they are mentioned at all, in the context of how fatherhood is viewed, but in this chapter, I argue that they should be regarded as central to family policy formulation if children’s safety and wellbeing are to be taken seriously and dealt with effectively in safeguarding children from harm. Collier (1995) has indicated that there are continuities as well as changes to the...

  6. THREE Violent fathering: perspectives, research and practice
    (pp. 81-116)

    This chapter begins by critically examining different theoretical approaches that aim to explain fathers’ violence towards women. These are significant, since they inform different policy and professional approaches towards addressing this violence as a significant social problem and developing appropriate strategies for change. Second, the chapter looks at the research undertaken with violent perpetrators that informs some of these perspectives. It also examines the limited amount of research that specifically addresses violent fathers as carers of children, including studies where violent fathers have killed their children. These studies contrast with other research on violent fathers that has often been undertaken...

  7. FOUR Abusive fathering
    (pp. 117-152)

    This chapter discusses the author’s own exploratory, qualitative UK research with 20 domestically violent fathers. Overall the study aimed to look at fathers’ own perspectives on their violence, its impact on their relationships with children and their parenting practices. The need for such research was highlighted by the fact that there were no other UK studies that specifically interrogated violent perpetrators’ views of themselves as fathers. The policy context also demonstrated a lack of questioning of violent fathers’ parenting and the impact it could have on children. One object of this research was therefore to provide an insight into violent...

  8. FIVE Rehabilitating violent fathers
    (pp. 153-168)

    As seen in Chapter Three, perpetrator programmes for domestically violent men in the UK have regarded increasing children’s safety as one of the aims of their work (Respect, 2004) and this was the case in relation to the programmes the fathers were attending in this study. This chapter therefore discusses the approaches of these projects in addressing children’s safety in their interventions with violent fathers. It also looks at how far these informed fathers’ views of change in their parenting practices in the context of their violence and abuse.

    This is not, however, an evaluation of how effective the different...

  9. SIX The need for change
    (pp. 169-180)

    Although there is beginning to be some policy recognition of the problem of violent fathering, it is frequently in conflict with policies that promote the involvement of fathers in children’s lives. Too often such policies are focused on fathers’ needs rather than those of children. There is therefore an urgent requirement for change more broadly and at a number of different levels. This includes primary preventative measures, which in an era of social welfare cutbacks are likely to be more effective than those that aim to deal with harm to children after it has happened.

    First, at a very basic...

  10. References
    (pp. 181-199)
  11. APPENDIX 1: Brief methodological note on the empirical research
    (pp. 200-202)
  12. APPENDIX 2: Men’s abuse checklist
    (pp. 203-206)
  13. Index
    (pp. 207-212)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 213-213)