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: 0.88). 02/1988; 18(1):97-118. DOI: 10.2190/3K8F-KDWD-QYXK-2AX5
Source: PubMed


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."

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    • "While this indictment does not apply exclusively to CPS agencies, there can be no denying that their approach to co-occurring problems has been challenged, in particular, by those defending battered women (Landsman & Hartley 2007). CPS agencies are especially criticized for their tendency to hold abused mothers solely accountable for the protection and welfare of their children and to take custody away from them if they cannot manage to shield their children from exposure to domestic violence (Stark & Flitcraft 1988; Magen 1999; Strega 2005). The advocates of battered women argue that it is simply unreasonable to expect them to be able to control the abuser's violent behaviour and prevent their children from being exposed to the abuse (Magen 1999; Strega 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper looks at the response of the child protection services (CPS) system in cases where exposure to domestic violence occurs alone or together with abuse or neglect, focusing on the factors involved in decisions to maintain the case open for ongoing services or remove children from the home. The study is based on an analysis of clinical and administrative data from the files on children reported to a CPS agency in Montreal, Canada. A total of 1 071 substantiated reports were documented, including 337 cases of co-occurrence (32%). Analysis of the data shows that domestic violence does not by itself constitute a factor liable to lead to more intrusive intervention. The CPS response appears to be influenced more by the existence of other forms of maltreatment and risk factors. Additionally, while domestic violence may be associated with more severe individual and family problems, it does not influence the decision to keep the case open because the child still need services. The lack of any connection between domestic violence and this decision is a cause for concern, as results indicate that such families need help. Knowing how to respond to their needs therefore remains a major challenge.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · Child & Family Social Work
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    • "Only a handful of interventions focused on abused women's parenting have been described. Most of these are modules within a broader domestic violence intervention (e.g., Bilinkoff, 1995; Peled & Davis, 1995) and revolve around issues of custody and child protection (e.g., Hester, Pearson, & Harwin, 2000; Mills, 1998; Stark & Flitcraft, 1988). We have not found any documentation or evaluation of intervention directed at abused women's mothering experiences and perceptions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Findings of an outcome evaluation of a mothering group intervention with women abused by their partners are presented, based on measurements of intervention and control groups before, immediately after, and 3 months after the intervention. At Time 1, both groups reported moderate well-being, high parental self-efficacy, and low mothering-related stress. Comparisons within the intervention group revealed an increase in parental self-efficacy and in emotional well-being at Time 2 and a decrease in mothering-related stress between Time 1 and Time 3. Moreover, in comparison with the control group, at Time 2, the parental self-efficacy of women in the intervention group increased, their mothering-related stress decreased, and they reported a greater optimism with regard to their predicted well-being, whereas the control group showed declines in parental self-efficacy and predicted well-being and a greater mothering-related stress. Yet, the improvement on the mothering-related stress was the only one maintained at Time 3.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · Research on Social Work Practice
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    • "In recent years there has been a growing concern about the association between child abuse and spousal violence.43,44 Data indicate that children are at higher risk of physical abuse and/or punishment when their mothers are also abused in the home.34,35,39,40 However, there are limited data on the different facets of abuse that women are exposed to and how these are related to child abuse. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper scrutinizes the association between maternal practices to correct child behavior and the mothers' exposure to and attitudes towards intimate partner violence (IPV). Nationally representative data comprising 14 016 married women were retrieved from the Egyptian Demographic and Health Survey, 2005. Data on practices used to correct child behavior, exposure to IPV, attitudes towards IPV were our primary interest. Data were analyzed using Chi-square test and logistic regression. The majority of the mothers reported use of violent methods, like shouting (90.6%), striking (69.1%) and slapping (39.3%) to correct child behavior. Seven percent of the mothers used only the explanation option. Exposure to physical IPV and tolerant attitudes towards IPV were associated with an augmented risk of using violent methods (shouting, striking or slapping) to correct child behavior. On the other hand non-tolerant attitudes towards IPV were associated with increased likelihood of sole use of the explanation method. We thus recommend the implementation of local parental education programs focusing on communicative skills to reduce IPV and related child abuse. ‎
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2010 · Journal of injury & violence research
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