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Partnering with mothers

Partnering with mothers; protecting children

Alongside holding a male perpetrator accountable for his actions, one of the best ways to protect a child hurt by domestic violence is to support and protect their mother. The safety of a child is directly linked to the safety of their mother.

‘Life was continuous hell, fear and horror and he always blamed the children or me for his violence.’

Katherine recounts her husband’s violence, Domestic Violence Resource Centre

Start with keeping mothers safe

Domestic and family violence is a gendered issue. Statistics show domestic violence is most likely to be committed by men against women (see Overview). A small number of women use violence against men, but far more women suffer from violence. They also suffer more severity of physical injury and greater levels of coercion and control than men.

The impact of domestic violence on mothers is devastating and far reaching. In this part, we outline some main points about this violence. Our overall purpose is to explore how the violence of a father against a mother relates to the safety and wellbeing of a child.

To work effectively to keep a child safe, we need to support mothers. When we work with a mother, develop a holistic understanding of who she is as not just a mother, but as a person.  Her strengths, vulnerabilities and aspirations go beyond her parenting role.  Reducing a woman’s identity to her role as a mother plays into gender stereotyping that oppresses women and contributes to violence against women. 

Practice prompt

Reflect on your own values and expectations of mothers—why do you think it’s important to understand a mother beyond her parenting role in order to support the safety and wellbeing of her child?

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