While mediation is commonly used in custody negotiation, there is no consensus regarding its applicability in domestic violence cases. The aim of this qualitative study in Italy was to explore the role of family mediation in the management of child custody in cases involving domestic violence. Semistructured interviews were conducted with lawyers (N ¼ 5), social workers (N ¼ 15), and abused women who had separated from their children’s fathers (N ¼ 13). Legal documents were also analyzed. The results showed that violence against women and children had often been concealed during mediation, as the professionals involved had failed to detect domestic violence or had labeled it as conflicts. Moreover, the “parental couple” had been dissociated from the “marital couple,” and the responsibility for the abuse had been attributed to both parents. As a result, women and children had been blamed and had experienced secondary victimization, while the perpetrators’ patterns of power and control had continued. The results also revealed that those professionals had not known about and had not applied the Istanbul Convention, which provides guidelines to ensure women’s and children’s safety. Recommendations highlight the need to account for the complexity of domestic violence cases, to hold perpetrators responsible for the abuse, and to support the victims.

Family Mediation in Child Custody Cases and the Concealment of Domestic Violence

Mariachiara Feresin;Natalina Folla;Patrizia Romito
2018-01-01

Abstract

While mediation is commonly used in custody negotiation, there is no consensus regarding its applicability in domestic violence cases. The aim of this qualitative study in Italy was to explore the role of family mediation in the management of child custody in cases involving domestic violence. Semistructured interviews were conducted with lawyers (N ¼ 5), social workers (N ¼ 15), and abused women who had separated from their children’s fathers (N ¼ 13). Legal documents were also analyzed. The results showed that violence against women and children had often been concealed during mediation, as the professionals involved had failed to detect domestic violence or had labeled it as conflicts. Moreover, the “parental couple” had been dissociated from the “marital couple,” and the responsibility for the abuse had been attributed to both parents. As a result, women and children had been blamed and had experienced secondary victimization, while the perpetrators’ patterns of power and control had continued. The results also revealed that those professionals had not known about and had not applied the Istanbul Convention, which provides guidelines to ensure women’s and children’s safety. Recommendations highlight the need to account for the complexity of domestic violence cases, to hold perpetrators responsible for the abuse, and to support the victims.
18-apr-2018
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http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0886109918766659
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2924743
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