Violence against women often continues after couples separate. Although the involvement of children in intimate partner violence is known, no study has investigated the role of children in postseparation violence in southern Europe. The aim of this study was to analyze male perpetrators’ strategies to maintain control over the woman after couples separate and the involvement of children in this process. We designed a multimethod research with a sample of women attending five anti-violence centers in Italy: In the quantitative part, women were interviewed with a questionnaire (N ¼ 151) at baseline and followed up 18 months later (N ¼ 91); in the qualitative part, in-depth interviews were carried out with women (N ¼ 13) attending the same centers. Results showed that women experienced high levels of violence and that children were deeply involved. When women with children were no longer living with the violence perpetrator, threats, violence, manipulation, and controlling behaviors occurred during father–child contacts: 78.9% of women in the longitudinal survey and all women in the qualitative study reported at least one of these unsettling behaviors. The qualitative study allowed for discovering some specific perpetrator strategies. Making the woman feel guilty, threatening, denigrating, and impoverishing her; preventing her from living a normal life; and trying to destroy the mother–child bond were key elements of a complex design aimed at maintaining coercive control over the ex-partner. Results from this multimethod study provided a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of coercive control and postseparation violence and how perpetrators use children to fulfill their aims.

The Involvement of Children in Postseparation Intimate Partner Violence in Italy: A Strategy to Maintain Coercive Control?

Feresin, Mariachiara
;
Bastiani, Federica;Beltramini, Lucia;Romito, Patrizia
2019-01-01

Abstract

Violence against women often continues after couples separate. Although the involvement of children in intimate partner violence is known, no study has investigated the role of children in postseparation violence in southern Europe. The aim of this study was to analyze male perpetrators’ strategies to maintain control over the woman after couples separate and the involvement of children in this process. We designed a multimethod research with a sample of women attending five anti-violence centers in Italy: In the quantitative part, women were interviewed with a questionnaire (N ¼ 151) at baseline and followed up 18 months later (N ¼ 91); in the qualitative part, in-depth interviews were carried out with women (N ¼ 13) attending the same centers. Results showed that women experienced high levels of violence and that children were deeply involved. When women with children were no longer living with the violence perpetrator, threats, violence, manipulation, and controlling behaviors occurred during father–child contacts: 78.9% of women in the longitudinal survey and all women in the qualitative study reported at least one of these unsettling behaviors. The qualitative study allowed for discovering some specific perpetrator strategies. Making the woman feel guilty, threatening, denigrating, and impoverishing her; preventing her from living a normal life; and trying to destroy the mother–child bond were key elements of a complex design aimed at maintaining coercive control over the ex-partner. Results from this multimethod study provided a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of coercive control and postseparation violence and how perpetrators use children to fulfill their aims.
2019
19-giu-2019
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2945067
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