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Talking to parents who have abused: Enhancing the child focus in social child welfare investigations about intimate partner violence and child abuse

Conference contribution
Authors Ole Hultmann
Maria Eriksson
Anders G Broberg
Ulf Axberg
Clara Iversen
Published in European Conference on Domestic Violence
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords child protection, perpetrators of family violence, risk assessment
Subject categories Applied Psychology


The iRiSk project (insatser och risk-/skyddsbedömningar för våldsutsatta barn) aims to develop structured risk and safety interviews in child welfare investigations. This includes using the violent parent as informant. Existing interviews with perpetrators of partner violence focus on the violence itself and the risk of repeated violence, but they lack relevant aspects of parenting, such as feelings of remorse, how the parent understands the child’s and the adult victim’s reactions to the violence, and whether perpetrators can identify problems that affect their relationship with the child. This paper presents a study that focuses on fathers as perpetrators. It examines 1) the feasibility of the interview, as assessed by professionals 2) to what extent violent fathers are able to reflect on their violent behaviour and its effect on parenting during the structured interview 3) to what extent violent fathers can provide relevant information to a child welfare investigation. The goal of the project is to improve the quality of risk and safety assessments and the protection of vulnerable children by enhancing the child focus in child welfare investigations about intimate partner violence and child abuse. Participants in the project are recruited through the iRiSk project funded by the Swedish National board of Health and Welfare, which test risk assessments with children subjected to child abuse and/or exposed to intimate partner violence. The risk interviews with perpetrators will be tested by professionals within child welfare investigations and with fathers who are in contact with a crisis centre. Recorded interviews with the fathers will be analysed. The structured interview and the outline of the project will be presented as well as preliminary feedback from participating units.

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