Quality of maternal parenting among intimate-partner violence victims involved with the child welfare system
Children are overrepresented in households with intimate-partner violence (IPV), and many suffer the double burden of being the subject of maltreatment and bearing the consequences of abuse to their mothers. Despite this situation, little information exists concerning parenting by women who have been abused by an intimate partner. We examine the relationship between women’s experiences with IPV and the quality of maternal parenting using data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being. The sample consisted of 1,943 female caregivers of children younger than 10 years investigated for child maltreatment. Women who had experienced IPV in the past but were no longer victims of IPV had significantly better parenting scores than women who were currently experiencing IPV, when other risk factors were controlled. This study adds to the evidence that IPV does not necessarily impair maternal parenting. Women abused by an intimate partner deserve a thorough assessment of what services they need: parenting services should be offered as warranted on a case-by-case evaluation of the particular woman’s parenting skills.