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"Failure to protect"

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:56 pm
by Jacinta, FRG Adviser
Why do social workers sometimes describe mothers who are victims of domestic violence as failing to protect their children? This is sometimes the reason given when children are removed, in some cases permanently, from their mother's care.

I feel that this shows a lack of understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence. We often underestimate the degree of fear, intimidation and violence that victims live with and the barriers they face if they try to leave or respond. Of course, children must be protected from violence. But maybe we are the ones who are failing to properly support and protect both child and adult victims?

What do others, especially social workers, think about the language and thinking behind the term "failure to protect" as applied to mothers who are victims of domestic violence?