For 15 years, the Safe & Together Model has trained professionals in the importance of centering coercive controlling patterns of behaviors if you want to understand the harm domestic abuse perpetrators create for their children & how that is parenting choice. Failures to link coercive control to child abuse & neglect make it easier to blame adult survivors, who are being protective, with failure-to-protect & parental alienation.
The Safe & Together Model’s perpetrator pattern-based approach links coercive control in a number of different ways, creating a foundation for a domestic violence-informed practice that helps professionals to partner with survivors and intervene with perpetrators as parents while also mapping the adult survivors attempts to protect children which may not have access to formal services such as police, child protection or counseling because these interventions may not be safe & can create more danger for adult & child survivors.
New research is backing up this approach by exploring how coercive control impacts children directly via multiple pathways to harm. In this episode, Ruth and David talk with Dr Emma Katz, a leading research specialist in the harms caused by perpetrators to mothers and children in the context of domestic abuse. The topics of conversation include:
Dr. Emma Katz Bio
She is a Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Youth at Liverpool Hope University and has won multiple awards for her research, including the Corinna Seith Prize, awarded by Women Against Violence Europe in 2016. Emma has also written for the academic journal Child Abuse Review. Her most recent article, ‘When Coercive Control Continues to Harm Children: Post‐Separation Fathering, Stalking and Domestic Violence’, is now available to read and download, as is her 2016 article ‘Beyond the Physical Incident Model: How Children Living with Domestic Violence are Harmed by and Resist Regimes of Coercive Control’, which is one of the journal’s most viewed articles to date. Alongside these, Emma is releasing a book titled Coercive Control in Children’s and Mothers’ Lives which will be published in early 2022 by Oxford University Press.
You asked, we answered. Amidst our current, global political and social upheavals, during movements, activism and testimonies, legal cases, fear and victim-blaming – we’ve heard your voice asking for clarity, insight and thoughts about how all of this is reflected in the Safe & Together Model. Many of the stories and news pieces we hear about from our partners all over the world involve complex questions, yet the beginnings of change and hope are based on the sound, simple principles of the Model.
To that end, in our new podcast, “Partnered with a Survivor,” S&T’s Executive Director and Founder, David Mandel and Ruth Stearns Mandel offer a raw and intimate glimpse into their personal and professional partnership and what it means to truly partner with a survivor, raise a family based on S&T principles and engage in social change at every level. This is a podcast for practitioners and parents, partners and employers, coworkers and friends – and anyone else who may want clarity, understanding, hope and healing.
What does it mean to give consistent consent? What is coercive control? How do you probably see it or feel it every day? This is a podcast you’ll wish you had heard when you were a teenager. In unsure, confusing times, it’s our goal to widen the audience for the Safe & Together Model-associated material to survivors, their family members, and even perpetrators. For professionals familiar with the Model, it will offer another angle on the issues addressed by the Model. For those who don’t know Safe & Together, it offers a connection to the themes and ideas behind the work.
These podcasts are a reflection of Ruth & David’s on-going conversations which are both intimate and professional and touch on complex topics like how systems fail victims and children, how victims experience those systems, and how children are impacted by those failures. Their discussions delve into how society views masculinity and violence, and how intersectionalities such as cultural beliefs, religious beliefs and unique vulnerabilities impact how we respond to abuse and violence. These far-ranging discussions offer an insider look into how we navigate the world as professionals, as parents and as partners. During these podcasts, David & Ruth challenge the notions which keep all us from moving forward collectively as systems, as cultures and as families into safety, nurturance and healing.
Note: Some of the topics discussed in the podcast are deeply personal and sensitive, which may be difficult for some people. We also use mature language to describe some feelings. Finally, we use gender pronouns like “he” when discussing perpetrators and “she” for victims for two reasons: 1.) statistically, more men are perpetrators than are women when it comes to domestic violence, abuse and coercive control; and 2. For clarity’s sake, sticking with one pronoun causes less confusion for the listener. We know there are many men who are in abusive relationships and we are not invalidating their situations.
About the podcasters: David and Ruth are committed to creating systems and cultures of nurturance and safety. David Mandel founded the Safe & Together Institute which trains systems in domestic violence aware practices from a child safety lens. Ruth Stearns Mandel is a survivor of complex abuse, child abuse and domestic abuse growing up in a cult. She is a former teacher and trainer using her experience to clarify messages and complexities around abuse and survivors.