Explaining the domestic and family violence

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On this case, Alice recovered sufficiently to give her own account of the incident. She recounted that this was not an isolated incident of battering. Her husband, Robert, progressively worsened with time. She stated that she called the police twice, but they did not do anything. This was despite the fact that she made it clear that she wanted to press charges on their second visit.

Alice related that she was unaware of the sexual assaults against her daughter, Serena, until she inadvertently walked in on them that day. She said she took the knife out of the kitchen drawer with the intention of using it on Robert. She recounted feeling a tremendous amount of rage, was unsure of where that came from, but was determined to protect her daughter from further abuse. Robert wrestled the knife from her but not before she opened up a gash on his arm.

As a result of your report from the previous week, the district attorney was aware of the effects witnessing domestic violence has on children. The district attorney thought Alice should have been aware of the danger she was putting her daughter in by staying in a battering relationship. Now, the CPS is calling and wants to arrange a meeting with the prosecutor's office to discuss further information about Serena.

The case worker stated there was evidence of further abuse and neglect and that Alice may have been involved. X-rays taken of Serena revealed broken bones in varying stages of healing. The breaks in the extremities, arms and legs, showed evidence of being spiral fractures. The child's speech was impaired, and she showed some evidence of malnutrition. She also occasionally wet the bed. In addition, Serena had a habit of acting out sexually with other children at the foster home. She seemed fearful of disclosing any information about her relationship with her parents. Finally, Serena disclosed to her foster mother that she was used to being left alone for extended periods of time.

The prosecutor has not yet decided whether or not to press assault charges against Alice, and it sounds like there may be abuse and neglect charges as well. When questioned, Alice stated that she worked full time, and Robert was a stay-at-home father. She also stated she never mistreated Serena. There were one or two instances when Serena was acting "funny" or had bruises or a swollen wrist, but Alice stated she thought Robert had taken care of things.

Considering these facts, discuss the following:

a) Why would Alice stay in a battering relationship?

b) Given her attack on Robert with the knife, could this have been a mutually abusive relationship?

c) What kind of a man would batter a woman?

d) What kind of a man would sexually assault his own child?

e) Is there a relationship between intimate partner battering and child abuse or child sexual abuse?

f) Is there a relationship between being battered and battering a child?

g) What are the behavioral and caretaker indicators of sexual assault?

h) How do you define neglect?

Reference no: EM1326580

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