The ambivalent visit: Children's experiences of relating with their fathers during staying in shelters for women survivors of domestic violence

Anat Vass*, Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children's exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious problem that has been increasingly examined during the last four decades. In the case of severe IPV, children are placed with their mothers in shelters for women survivors of domestic violence (SDV). The current study aimed to understand young children's descriptions of relating with their fathers during their stay in SDVs. Interviews were conducted with 32 Israeli children, aged 7 to 12 years. Two main themes and five subthemes were identified through thematic analysis: (1) Atypical visiting arrangements (subthemes: a lack of understanding about the meaning of supervised visitations, inconsistent and unstable visitations); (2) ambivalent attitudes towards the visiting arrangements (subthemes: enjoying fathers' attention and shared family time, worry and guilt following the visitations, controversial messages from fathers). The findings demonstrate the children's subjective views and emphasize the benefit of gathering qualitative data from young children in the context of exposure to IPV. Findings are discussed in light of the cognitive dissonance reduction theory. Limitations of the study are discussed, along with implications for practice, theory and future research.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)535-544
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • children's exposure to IPV
  • domestic violence shelters
  • experiences of children
  • father–child relations
  • intimate partner violence

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