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Preparing to work with a father who uses violence

Working with fathers who use violence is challenging. Preparation will help you keep focused on building safety for the child and their mother.

How to get ready

Think about when and where to meet with him. Should you speak with him before or after you speak with the child, the mother or other agencies? Weigh up the pros and cons of each. Usually, it is safest to speak with him after you have spoken to the mother.

If there are prior concerns about him hurting a child, get to know what they are, who raised the concerns and how he responded to them.

Think about how the father may react to the worries about the child’s safety and how you might respond to him. Plan how you will respond to his charm or aggression and to any minimisation, mutualisation (trying to share the blame) or denial of the violence.

Talk about your signs of stress with a colleague and plan for how they will step into the conversation if you become upset or angry or they believe the interview is becoming side-tracked.

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