|dc.description.abstract||In recent years the issue of children’s contact with non-resident parents has been
increasingly debated. The policy gaze has focused on contested contact when there
are allegations of domestic abuse. Some commentators argue that in circumstances of
domestic abuse, contact with an abusive father may not be in the ‘best interests’ of
the child. To support these claims they point to evidence that domestic abuse
adversely affects children, and domestic abuse often continues following separation.
Children’s views of contact in circumstances of domestic abuse remain underresearched,
as such their views on this issue have been missing from policy debates.
The research aims to uncover how children view and experience contact with nonresident
fathers when in the context of domestic abuse. A qualitative methodology
was developed for the research. In-depth interviews were carried out with both
children and their mothers.
The findings confirm that conceptualisations of domestic abuse that focus on discrete
acts or incidents of violence do not correspond with children’s and mother’s accounts
of abuse. Domestic abuse was a constant in the lives of children and mothers.
Children were exposed to domestic abuse before and following parental separation.
The research uncovers the complex negotiations children make when family
relationships are characterised by abuse. Children identified domestic abuse as a
core issue when forming views about contact with their fathers. They tried to make
sense of and developed their own analysis of their fathers’ abuse and strategies to
cope with it. Children also highlighted a range of issues beyond domestic abuse that
influenced their views about contact.
The role children should have in disputes about contact in is contested. Children may
be considered incompetent to form a view or their views are constructed as a product
of parental manipulation. The research provides insights into children’s experiences
of participating in contact disputes. It points to limitations in current Scottish legal
mechanisms that are designed to take children’s views into account and questions the
respect afforded to children’s participation in disputes. The thesis concludes by
highlighting the theoretical, policy and practice implications that result from this
|dc.contributor.sponsor||Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)||en
|dc.publisher||The University of Edinburgh||en
|dc.relation.hasversion||MORRISON, F., TISDALL, E. K. M., JONES, F. & REID, A. 2013. Child Contact Proceedings for Children Affected by Domestic Abuse A report to Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People. Edinburgh.||en
|dc.relation.hasversion||MORRISON, F. and WASOFF, F. (2012) 'Child contact centres and domestic abuse - victim safety and the challenge to neutrality'. Violence Against Women, Special Issue on Transdisciplinarity. 18(6): 711:720||en
|dc.relation.hasversion||TISDALL, E. K. M. & MORRISON, F. 2012. Children's participation in court proceedings when parents divorce or separate : legal constructions and lived experiences In: FREEMAN, M. D. A. (ed.) Law and childhood studies : current legal issues 2011. Oxford: Oxford University Press.||en
|dc.title||Children, contact and domestic abuse||en
|dc.type||Thesis or Dissertation||en
|dc.type.qualificationname||PhD Doctor of Philosophy||en