7In this chapter, we expand the argument about gender entrapment by
showing how the law and court processes reinforce domestic violence perpetrators' efforts to regain power and control in contact cases. In family law, separated fathers are put into the position of the aggrieved, seen as deprived of
their children. Although courts have started to take domestic violence into
account when contact decisions are made, fear of hostile mothers alienating
children from fathers has been the greater concern. This has reinforced
violent men's tendency towards legal persistence and litigation abuse. The
law's response to domestic violence and contact for children is a victim- and
woman-blaming response. The primary concern in the family courts is in
getting women to overcome their fears for the apparent sake of their children
rather than challenging the violence of men. Courts may order supervised
contact or attach conditions to an order to keep parents apart, but the purpose
and value of contact for the child is rarely considered. Keeping in contact with
fathers is almost always viewed as being in a child's best interests (Hester and
Harne 1999; Mason 1999). We conclude this chapter by arguing that the
value of setting up visits between a child and a violent man needs to be more
thoroughly examined. More attention should be given to the needs, wishes
and safety of children, the quality of the relationship with the violent parent
and the well-being of the parent responsible for their everyday care.
Mother Blaming in the Courts
Responsible parenting and battery by the lawThe following five key assumptions about 'responsible parenting' have been
especially influential in the family courts in the UK and the US:
|1. ||Most parents are 'reasonable parents' who can be encouraged to make
decisions that are the best decisions for their children.|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Mothering through Domestic Violence.
Contributors: Lorraine Radford - Author, Marianne Hester - Author.
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley.
Place of publication: London.
Publication year: 2006.
Page number: 103.
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