Barns upplevelser av sin situation och sitt mående när mamma varit utsatt för våld av sin partner
Sammanfattning: The aim of the present thesis is to describe the consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV) from the perspective of children. Being exposed IPV is a frightening experience that affects children’s development and wellbeing. Not all children, however, display symptoms, and differences connected to gender and age has been demonstrated. In this thesis three empirical studies that deal with children’s experiences of IPV are presented. Study I examines experiences of IPV from the perspective of children. Interviews with 14 children between 8 and 12 years old were analyzed using a thematic method. Three main themes were identified: how children talked about abuse of their mother, described their own actions, and related to or handled memories of violence. Most children confirmed that their mother had been the victim of abuse, but had difficulties describing these experiences. Narratives were often incoherent and difficult to fully understand. In contrast, most of the children seemed to find it easier to describe their own actions during violence and conflicts. Not thinking about IPV was a strategy aimed at reducing unwanted memories; a strategy that also might obstruct creating a narrative. Study II is an exploratory quantitative study, where children’s own reports of symptoms were used. The 41 recruited children, between 7 and 19 years old, were entered into a group program specially directed toward children with experiences of IPV. The children reported experiencing more symptoms overall compared with non-exposed children. The relationship to the abuser and children’s symptoms related differently for boys and for girls. Girls, who had continued contact with the abusive father, described more mental health problems than did other girls and more than did boys with continued contact. Among children with experiences of custody disputes or other judicial processes, age rather than gender was connected to differences in self-reported symptoms. Younger children with experiences of judicial processes reported more mental health problems than did those with no experience. Study III is a follow-up study, describing how children’s symptoms changed after participating in a support program for children with experiences of IPV. Of the 41 children in study II 32 also participated in the follow-up, an 21 children in one year follow-up. The children were positive to the program, but although symptoms had been reduced children still had emotional and behavioral problems in the one-year follow–up.
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