Date: Thursday 5th December 2019
Time: 1-2pm Room: C135, College Building
Mia Scally (Middlesex University)
Background & Aims – Child contact is often used by fathers to continue intimate partner violence and abuse. This presentation aims to discuss women’s experiences of this, including the emotional labour required from survivors attempting to navigate this.
Method – This presentation incorporates findings from three studies: online accounts from 68 women across two forums (publicly available data), case studies from in-depth interviews with four survivors, and a training workshop with professionals working within the field of child contact & IPVA.
Findings – Formal and informal child contact come with their own differing challenges. Both are difficult for survivors to manage safely as a result of the behaviour of their ex-partners. Informal contact often came before formal contact, and usually involved navigating a range of different services, all of which had differing aims, in order to try and ensure the safety of their children. However formal contact arrangements didn’t always result in safer arrangements, with professionals working within the system being perceived to hold gendered beliefs that impacted on the processes and created further trauma for survivors and the children.
Conclusions – Survivor voices and experiences must be taken into account and carefully considered in light of these (and other) findings. The culture within the family court system is having a clear impact on women and children, leading to unsafe contact for all involved.
Mia Scally is a lecturer in Forensic Criminology-Forensic Psychology within the department of Criminology and Sociology at Middlesex University. Mia has previous experience working within Her Majesty’s Prison Service, and supporting survivors of domestic abuse in her role with Victim Support, and has been research active since undertaking her MSc in Forensic Psychology in 2011/12. Mia is passionate about undertaking applied research that contributes to practice and policy, and most recently was part of the academic panel that contributed to the Victim Strategy. Mia is currently undertaking a PhD in Forensic Psychology, supervised by Prof. Joanna Adler and Dr. Miranda Horvath. The presentation will be based on findings from the PhD.