By Marianne Hester; et al

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Although research shows that this view tends to be unrealistic, the underlying sentiment is perhaps not surprising considering the public pressures to keep families together and the negative light in which single-parent families are seen. Moreover, Dobash et al. (2000) found that the woman leaving often had a temporarily salutary effect on the perpetrator, and other research on perpetrators indicates that this may be an important point of intervention with the men concerned (Hester et al. 2006).

Overall, however, the research indicates that in order to develop professional understanding of, and practice in relation to, child abuse, we need to recognize that children often experience a mixture of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and that focusing on only one aspect of these different forms of abuse can therefore be false (Saunders 2003). Similarly, where there is both domestic violence and child abuse, we need to examine the whole picture. Child abuse in the context of domestic violence also has to be understood as gendered – that is, not as ‘family violence’ carried out by family members or parents but specifically as violence and abuse primarily carried out by men against their children and female partners.

190). Disclosing domestic violence The ease with which women are able to disclose violence and abuse they are experiencing is subject to the same coping and survival strategies as outlined above in relation to staying and leaving. Women are concerned that if they disclose, then the response they get might be hostile or indifferent or blame them for the violence. Moreover, they have no guarantee that disclosure will make them safe. Women also find sexual abuse and rape especially difficult to talk about.

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