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Policy and Practice Implications: Child Maltreatment, Intimate Partner Violence and Parenting

NCJ Number
Clare Murphy, Ph.D.; Nicola Paton, Ph.D.; Pauline Gulliver, Ph.D.; Janet Fanslow, Ph.D.
Date Published
April 2013
35 pages
This paper examines the system responses needed to support children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV), with a focus on New Zealand's multi-cultural society.
Five key messages are emphasized. First, provide holistic support for children. This involves attention to the child's attitude toward and interaction with the perpetrator of IPV. Holistic support for the child also requires the structuring of a means for the child to participate in the decisionmaking that affects their lives. Second, support the non-abusing parent. This means that interventions should include support for the abused partner, usually the child's mother. Her safety and well-being are essential in any intervention for child protection. Third, support the mother-child relationship. Children's safety and sense of well-being in the context of IPV depends on the quality of the mother-child bond, which is facilitated by mother-child dyadic interventions. Fourth, hold the perpetrator accountable. The most effective form of child protection focuses on holding men who perpetrate IPV accountable for their abuse. This requires referral to behavioral modification treatment that also addresses appropriate parenting behaviors. Fifth, be culturally responsive. Supports provided to children, parents (victim/survivors and perpetrators), and extended family must be appropriate for and responsive to the family's cultural conditioning. In the New Zealand context, Maori academics and practitioners argue that models of analysis and intervention are typically based on Western or mainstream concepts that have proven ineffective for Maori families. For non-Maori practitioners, this requires a perceptive understanding of Maori culture and the development of interventions that take into account the cultural orientations of family members. This paper also describes the "three planet model" of intervention in cases of IPV in homes with children. It involves collaboration among three domains of services: specialist IPV services, child protection services, and family law child contact processes. 133 references