When is the personal professional in public child welfare practice? The influence of intimate partner and child abuse histories on workers in domestic violence cases

Mieko Yoshihama, Linda G. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: The objective of this article is to examine children's services workers' (CSWs') personal histories of abuse and their influence on professional responses to allegations of domestic violence. Method: Using an anonymous questionnaire, data were collected from CSWs in two large urban counties in Southern California who participated in a domestic violence training program (n=303). It was hypothesized that CSWs' responses to domestic violence cases would be affected by personal histories of abuse and the degree to which the CSWs identified with battered women. Results: Approximately one-half of the respondents reported experiencing physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner. One-third of respondents reported physical abuse, and 22%, sexual abuse during childhood. The experience of childhood sexual abuse, especially for female CSWs, was associated with increased support for removal of children whose mother is being abused. Those CSWs with a history of partner violence who identified with battered women were less likely to approve of removing children from the battered mother than were CSWs without partner abuse history or identification with battered women. Conclusions: Our findings provide support for expanded training efforts that recognize the ongoing impact of victimization on CSWs' professional functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-336
Number of pages18
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003

Keywords

  • Abuse history
  • Child abuse
  • Child protective services
  • Child welfare
  • Intimate partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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