Women and children at risk: a feminist perspective on child abuse.

Domestic Violence Training Project, New Haven, CT 06511.
International Journal of Health Services (Impact Factor: 1.24). 02/1988; 18(1):97-118. DOI: 10.2190/3K8F-KDWD-QYXK-2AX5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Viewing child abuse through the prism of woman battering reveals that both problems originate in conflicts over gender identity and male authority. Data indicate that men, not women, typically commit serious child abuse. A study of the mothers of child abuse victims shows that battering is the most common context for child abuse, that the battering male is the typical child abuser, that the battered mothers have no distinctive pathology in their backgrounds, and that clinicians respond punitively to the battered mothers. The child abuse establishment assigns responsibility for abuse to mothers regardless of who assaults the child, and responds punitively to women, withholding vital resources and often removing the child to foster care, if women are battered or otherwise fail to meet expectations of "good mothering." The combination of male control, misleading psychological knowledge about women's propensity for "bonding," and sanctions used to enforce gender stereotypes of motherhood combine to increase the entrapment and inequality from which battering and child abuse originate, a process termed "patriarchal mothering." The best way to prevent child abuse is through "female empowerment."

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We examined the incidence, characteristics, and predictors of separations of children from mothers in 543 poor families receiving public assistance, 251 of whom had experienced homelessness during the previous 5 years. Forty-four percent of the homeless mothers and 8% of housed mothers were separated from one or more children. A total of 249 children were separated from 110 homeless families and 34 children from 23 housed families. Children were placed with relatives and in foster care but were rarely returned to their mothers. Maternal drug dependence, domestic violence, and institutionalization predicted separations, but homelessness was the most important predictor, equivalent in size to 1.9 other risk factors. We infer that policies regarding child welfare and substance abuse treatment should be changed to reduce unnecessary placements. Studies of homeless children who remain with families may be biased if separated children are excluded.
    American Journal of Community Psychology 11/2002; 30(5):711-30. · 1.74 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Community coordination refers to a formalized system of collaboration between various social service agencies to help meet the needs of specific populations. In cases of intimate partner violence (IPV), community coordination includes a system of policies, information sharing, and referrals between the criminal justice system and counseling centers and shelters for survivors. The life model of social work practice suggests that social workers utilize both formal and informal groups as environmental resources for clients. In an effort to address the failures of community coordinated responses to IPV, community needs to be reconceptualized to include these additional groups, especially employers.
    Journal of Family Violence 24(8):539-545. · 1.17 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Homeless women experience extensive health risks including physical and sexual victimization. Few studies that have gathered information on homeless persons have reported results separately for women or have compared them directly with men. Research that both investigates antecedents of victimization among homeless women and compares them to those for men is necessary to determine whether prevention efforts must be different for each group. We investigated potential antecedents of recent (past 30 days) physical and sexual victimization in a probability sample of 394 homeless women and compared findings to those for 1159 homeless men. As hypothesized, mental disorder, substance dependence, and engaging in economic survival strategies significantly predicted victimization among homeless women. With few dissimilarities, these characteristics also predicted victimization among homeless men. Although differences in the needs and experiences of homeless women and men must be recognized, both women and men require assistance to establish and maintain safe residences, treatment of any substance use and mental disorder, and alternatives to economic survival strategies that place them at risk for victimization.
    American Journal of Community Psychology 01/2000; 28(3):367-390. · 1.74 Impact Factor