Child Abuse Review
This article begins to build knowledge of how non-violent coercive controlling behaviours can be central to children's experiences of domestic violence. It considers how children can be harmed by, and resist, coercive controlling tactics perpetrated by their father/father-figure against their mother. Already, we know much about how women/mothers experience non-physical forms of domestic violence, including psychological/emotional/verbal and financial abuse, isolation and monitoring of their activities. However, this knowledge has not yet reached most research on children and domestic violence, which tends to focus on children's exposure to physical violence. In this qualitative study, 30 participants from the UK, 15 mothers and 15 of their children (most aged 10–14) who had separated from domestic violence perpetrators, participated in semi-structured interviews. All participants were living in the community. Using the ‘Framework’ approach to thematically analyse the data, findings indicated that perpetrators'/fathers' coercive control often prevented children from spending time with their mothers and grandparents, visiting other children's houses and engaging in extra-curricular activities. These non-violent behaviours from perpetrators/fathers placed children in isolated, disempowering and constrained worlds which could hamper children's resilience and development and contribute to emotional/behavioural problems. Implications for practice and the need to empower children in these circumstances are discussed. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. (Author abstract)
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