Family violence: Walking the tight rope between maternal alienation and child safety

Wilson, Denise, McBride-Henry, Karen and Huntington, Annette (2005) Family violence: Walking the tight rope between maternal alienation and child safety. Contemporary Nurse, 18 1-2: 85-96.

Author Wilson, Denise
McBride-Henry, Karen
Huntington, Annette
Title Family violence: Walking the tight rope between maternal alienation and child safety
Journal name Contemporary Nurse   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1037-6178
Publication date 2005
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 18
Issue 1-2
Start page 85
End page 96
Total pages 12
Place of publication Maleny, QLD, Australia
Publisher eContent Management
Collection year 2005
Language eng
Subject 1110 Nursing
Abstract Mothers are often alienated from their children when child abuse is suspected or confirmed, whether she is the primary abuser of the child or not. An abusive or violent partner often initiates the process of maternal alienation from children as a control mechanism. When the co-occurrence of maternal and child abuse is not recognised, nurses and health professionals risk further alienating a mother from her children, which can have detrimental effects in both the short and long term. Evidence shows that when mothers are supported and have the necessary resources there is a reduction in the violence and abuse she and her children experience; this occurs even in situations where the mother is the primary abuser of her children. The family-centred care philosophy, which is widely accepted as the best approach to nursing care for children and their families, creates tension for nurses caring for children who are the victims of abuse as this care generally occurs away from the context of the family. This fragmented approach to caring for abused children can inadvertently undermine the mother-child relationship and further contribute to maternal alienation. This paper discusses the complexity of family violence for nurses negotiating the 'tight rope' between the prime concern for the safety of children and further contributing to maternal alienation, within a New Zealand context. The premise that restoration of the mother-child relationship is paramount for the long-term wellbeing of both the children and the mother provides the basis for discussing implications for nursing practice.
Keyword Child abuse
Domestic violence
Maternal alienation
Family-centred care
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 07:43:03 EST