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When should fathers be engaged in helping children exposed to violence heal and thrive?
Why consider a father-child treatment in families impacted by IPV?
What are the areas of assessment to assist in making determinations about how to proceed with treatment?
A. 1) nature and severity of abusive behavior; 2) dangerousness/lethality; 3) coercion and control; 4) substance abuse; 5) psychological symptoms; 6) personality characteristics and attachment; 6) trauma history; 7) childhood family life; 8) parenting beliefs and behaviors; 9) life stress; 10) symptoms of his children; 11) motivation for change and participation in treatment; 12) co-parenting relationship; 13) symptoms of the mother/partner; and 14) criminal and child protection history via record review/interagency contact.
B. The father’s role is more than that of economic provider and includes nurturing, caregiving, and emotional support in both obvious and subtle ways.
C. There is now substantial literature to show the importance of non-abusive fathers in the lives of children. Research has shown that fathers are important to the psychosocial development of children and adolescents and their absence has differing impact on specific areas of child development such as gender-role development. This general finding regarding the importance of father involvement is much more complicated in violent homes as exposure to IPV has been consistently linked to negative developmental and psychological outcomes for children and youth; and exposure to violence has significant implications for children's beliefs about family roles and men's positions as dominant to women.
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