Relevant Evidence for Practice
The complexity of the evidence base is a striking feature of work in this area. While the impact of domestic violence on children is the most obvious body of knowledge for practitioners to access, assessing the child's vulnerabilities as well as their ability to survive adversity requires a broader lens which explores a range of other issues. These include: the compounding effects of direct physical and sexual abuse; the heightened vulnerability of women during pregnancy; the particular problems of child abduction and forced marriage; risks associated with post-separation violence; the complexities which occur when domestic violence impacts on women's mental health; the links with substance use; and the ways in which these problems together undermine the mother–child relationship and the father–child relationship. A range of other issues are also relevant, particularly the assessment of perpetrators of domestic violence. However, this area will be explored in depth in later chapters, while other issues such as child contact and the effects on children living with domestic violence will be touched on here but developed in more detail by other authors in this volume (see Chapter 9, for example). Separate bodies of knowledge and practice have developed around different issues. This chapter aims to bring that evidence together to inform the development of a more holistic approach to practice.
Children have their own perspectives on what living with domestic violence is like for them and Chapter 3 explores their views in depth. However, some information is needed here to provide the backdrop against which work with children living with domestic violence occurs.