While you’re here… help us stay here.

Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.

Discussion paper

'Bad mothers and invisible fathers': parenting in the context of domestic violence


For a perpetrator of domestic violence, one of the most effective ways to hurt and control his partner is to undermine her mothering. This Discussion Paper reviews the research on mothering and fathering in the context of domestic violence. It finds that women are often held responsible for the effects of their partner’s domestic violence on their children, while the behaviour of the violent man as a father remains invisible.

It considers:

  • What tactics do perpetrators of domestic violence use to undermine women’s mothering?
  • What effects does this have on a woman’s parenting and her relationship with her children?
  • What kind of fathering is provided by men who perpetrate domestic violence?
  • Why do courts and services assume that a perpetrator of domestic violence will still be a good father?
  • How can services develop an understanding that children’s wellbeing is the responsibility of both parents, and hold perpetrators accountable for the effects of their behavior on their children?
Publication Details
Access Rights Type: