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Strengthening the Mother-Child Relationship Following Domestic Abuse: Service Evaluation

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationSpecial issue

Emma Smith, Emma Belton, Matt Barnard, Helen L. Fisher, Julie Taylor

Original languageEnglish
Pages261-273
Number of pages13
Volume24
Issue number4
JournalChild Abuse Review
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

King's Authors

Abstract

Experiencing domestic abuse can have a detrimental effect on the mother-child relationship. Domestic Abuse Recovering Together (DART) is a ten-week programme which focuses on rebuilding the mother-child relationship after the abuse has ended and supporting other aspects of recovery. 'A ten-week programme which focuses on rebuilding the mother-child relationship after the abuse has ended' The evaluation of DART utilises a quasi-experimental, mixed methods design and this article focuses on the pre- and post-DART standardised measures obtained on mothers and children and practitioner interviews. Analyses identified significant positive changes in measures of participants' wellbeing following DART. Results also indicated that mothers were more affectionate to their children and children were experiencing significantly fewer difficulties. Mothers, children and professionals who made referrals to DART rated the service highly and the majority of service users felt that it had helped their recovery. Qualitative interviews with ten DART practitioners identified barriers and facilitators which influenced outcome achievement. For example, joint mother/child sessions helped to improve their relationship, whilst contact with the perpetrator could limit the positive effects of the intervention. Such findings informed the development of a new domestic abuse service.

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