Developing a Theoretical Framework to Discuss Mothers Experiencing Domestic Violence and Being Subject to Interventions: A Cross-National Perspective
The discourse about domestic violence has developed in patriarchal societies, and so we position our understanding of ‘mother’ within a patriarchal framework. We explore the ways in which ‘mothering’ and ‘mother blame’ have been constructed within that framework and how this becomes relevant in the context of domestic violence and child welfare social work. We review literature from Australia, Canada, England and Wales, and the United States of America that has focused on child welfare responses to mothers experiencing domestic violence and abuse. On the basis of that review, we argue that mothers are responsibilised for violence and abuse they do not perpetrate. We show that the way legislation operates in some jurisdictions facilitates hegemonic, patriarchal constructions. We call for a review of current child welfare social work policy and practice in which domestic violence is present.
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