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Durham University

Department of Sociology

Sociology Department Staff

Publication details for Professor Nicole Westmarland

Alderson, S., Westmarland, N. & Kelly, L. (2012). The Need for Accountability to, and Support for, Children of Men on Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes. Child Abuse Review 22(3): 182-193.

Author(s) from Durham


Many domestic violence perpetrator programmes have incorporated the issue of children's safety and the harmful parenting of domestically violent fathers within their programme content. However, little attention has been paid to the services offered to, and possible outcomes for, the children of men on such programmes. This paper draws on a survey of 44 domestic violence services and 73 interviews with men who were on, or had completed, a programme, ex/partners, programme workers and programme funders/commissioners, to explore how a positive outcome for children might be conceptualised.

Despite a desire to improve the situation of children, very few organisations provided a direct support service to the children of men on programmes. Work with men and support for their ex/partners operated as some form of proxy service to children. Many men had not told their children they were attending a perpetrator programme, and we suggest that more encouragement to do so would improve perpetrator accountability and respect for children. A positive outcome for children from their father's involvement on the programme is identified as having three dimensions: changes in the father that would benefit children; changes in the father-child relationship; and changes in the child's functioning. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.