There is also frequently a lack of structured risk assessments for identifying children who are at continued risk of exposure to violence, reveal researchers from the universities of Gothenburg, Karlstad, Uppsala and Örebro.
At the request of the National Board of Health and Welfare, an interdisciplinary group of researchers from the four universities – headed by professor Anders Broberg from the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Psychology – has evaluated various support interventions in Sweden for children who have been exposed to violence against their mother. The report, Support to Children Who Have Experienced Violence Against Their Mother – Preliminary Results From A National Evaluation Study, looks at mothers and children who have participated in various support interventions in terms of their experiences of violence, mental health and perceived quality of life.
“Children who have experienced violence against their mother are a group of children with a high level of mental health problems compared to children in general,” says Broberg.
“The research group’s preliminary results indicate that agencies which offer support interventions adapted to the group of children who have experienced violence against their mothers constitute a valuable complement to agencies which offer standard interventions for children and families,” says Broberg. “The adapted support interventions are appreciated and they also seem to contribute in a positive way to children’s mental health.”
In its report, the group emphasises that children who have experienced violence against their mother run the risk of continued exposure without this being detected, as the risks facing these children are not assessed in a systematic way.
“In many cases, systematic risk assessments of the mother and child’s situation are lacking. This is in spite of the fact that, in most cases, children continue to have regular contact with the father who has previously been violent to the mother and sometimes also the child. There is a need for improved knowledge amongst the social services and child and youth psychiatry services who deal with the vast majority of these children about different models for systematic risk assessment, and how they can be used when children have experienced violence against their mothers.”
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Helena Aaberg | idw
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