The legal establishment in India has take an important step towards preventing abuse of children by parents and caretakers. As someone who endured physical abuse as a child, I feel very strongly against child abuse and will, from time to time, feature articles and resources on prevention and management of this social disease.
In India, it is still considered acceptable to use corporal punishment as a means of disciplining children. But this is an attitude that needs to change, especially in view of the fact that victims of violence and abuse are more likely to become abusers themselves.
To stop this vicious cycle of violence requires legal intervention that prevents parents from abusing their own children. Mothers, as the primary caretakers, play a pivotal role in preventing abuse. If they, themselves are being abused by their spouse, it makes the situation even more delicate.
Women must learn, first and foremost, that abuse in any form, is totally unacceptable, and that they have the support of Indian society and the law, in reporting cases of abuse and domestic violence.
In future issues, we will be featuring interviews by women’s activists and organisations on the laws that support them, and actions they can take to protect themselves and their children.
In the meantime, this 76-page document, by Linda Baker and Alison Cunningham, written for service providers assisting women who have survived woman abuse is an excellent resource towards helping women stem the cycle of violence within their own families.
These services may be offered in the violence against women sector, or through children’s mental health centres, in child protection settings, or any other place where women seek assistance for their children.
The material here addresses the needs of abused women as mothers, how abusive men parent, how abusive men affect family dynamics, effects of power and control tactics on mothers, the potential impact of woman abuse on children of different ages, and strategies used by young people to cope with violence in their homes.
Guidance on parenting children exposed to violence is also offered. Forty-two pages are designed as handouts for women, to be distribued as an adjunct to individual or group interventions on woman abuse or on parenting.
Check out this document titled, Helping Children Thrive. Supporting Woman Abuse Survivors as Mothers: A Resource to Support Parenting.
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