Abstract: An earlier article referred to the “absent presence” of the perpetrator in the lives of children and their mothers who have lived with domestic violence. It identified the ways in which the shadow of the perpetrator continued and was evidenced in the “symptoms of abuse” that both women and children experienced in spite of his absence. The current article argues that fathers who use violence are actually more present than absent in the lives of children (and women), even following separation. A mixed method approach surveyed men in Men’s Behaviour Change Programs (N = 101), and interviewed women who had experienced violence (N = 50). The studies reported that the majority of men in both the quantitative men’s study (80%) and the qualitative women’s study (77%) had substantial contact with children. The women’s interviews highlight the problematic fathering that many of their children experienced, both before and after separation. They reported very high levels of child abuse and poor attitudes to both women and children.
The article concludes that the family violence and child welfare systems are poorly configured to address fathers who use violence and continue to hold substantial parenting roles, including following separation.
Researchers: Humphreys, C., Diemer, K., Bornemisza, A., Spiteri-Staines, A., Kaspiew, R. & Horsfall, B.