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Contact with fathers and domestic abuse

The children interviewed in this study held diverse views about contact with non-resident fathers in the context of domestic abuse. The children were all aware that domestic abuse had taken place in their families. The nature of the domestic abuse or the extent of the children’s exposure did not necessarily affect children’s views on contact in uniform ways.

Some children referred to their fathers’ both current and historical behaviour to explain why contact with them was problematic.

“I just think with all the bad stuff he has done, I don’t want to see him at all.”

In other cases domestic abuse did not necessarily prevent children desiring contact with their father. John explained that he wanted contact if he could be reassured that his father

“wasn’t in one of his moods”

In a few cases, how children understood domestic abuse and the reasons for their parents’ separation appeared influential in their views in favour of contact.

“Yeah but em it wasn’t all my dad’s fault do you know what I mean?”