This chapter will draw on recent research (a national case reading of child protection files in Australia) to highlight the gaps in understanding the impacts of DV on parenting skills, and the gaps in recognising and documenting mothers’ strengths and efforts to keep their children safe. Sometimes this has involved mothers being deemed as ‘non-compliant’ with child protection instructions. An intersectional lens will be taken to explore a feminist perspective on child protection practice.
The framework developed by Safe & Together™ will be used to inform the chapter and bring a feminist lens which is inclusive of the needs of children for agency, safety and protection. There is evidence that supporting the mother–child relationship is the most effective way of keeping children safe where there is domestic violence. Strategies required at an organisational and a practitioner level will be explored, including the need for a differential response to children exposed to DFV. This response recognises that not all children are significantly affected by DFV and not all mothers find their parenting significantly compromised. While partnering with mothers, it should be recognised that children may have different perspectives on violence and have their own views about what keeps them safe.
Researchers: Humphreys C., Kertesz M., Healey L., Mandel D.
Citation: Humphreys C., Kertesz M., Healey L., Mandel D. (2019) Shifting practice in domestic violence: child protection workers partnering with mothers. In C. Zufferey & F. Buchanan (eds.), Intersections of Mothering: Feminist Accounts (1st ed., pp. 194-205). United Kingdom: Routledge.