Domestic Violence and Child Protection: Directions for Good Practice

By Cathy Humphreys; Nicky Stanley | Go to book overview

Chapter 13
Men's Use of Violence and
Intimidation Against Family
Members and Child
Protection Workers

Brian Littlechild and Caroline Bourke


Introduction

Fear of violence and aggression can affect many of those involved in situations where child protection procedures are being deployed. This fear can be found in abused children themselves (Briere 1992; McGee 2000); in non-abusing family members, usually women, who may also be subject to similar types of violence and/or intimidation (McGee 2000; Smith 1989); and also among child protection workers (Littlechild 2000; Stanley and Goddard 1997, 2002). Interpersonal violence is not only a common feature of service users' personal lives (Social Services Inspectorate 1995), but also characterises the professional lives of social workers, as evidenced by the work of Pahl (1999) and NISW (National Institute for Social Work 1999), among others. This chapter will set out the nature and effects of these fears where domestic violence, child abuse and violence against child protection workers may be involved, the similarities between certain types of male violence towards those in their informal and formal networks, and the implications of avoiding the resulting issues in assessments and interventions.

The chapter focuses on the risks to child-care workers from the power/ control dynamics exhibited by male abusers. Although women are also capable of abusive and violent behaviour towards workers, particularly when children are being taken into care, the aim here is to explore the links between men's violence to women and children and their abusive behaviour towards professionals. The

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