Children of violent fathers want their dads to understand the significant impact that the brutality has had on their lives, according to a new study. Source: The Catholic Leader.
The study by a University of Melbourne researcher Katie Lamb has led to children recording their stories, so they can be replayed to their fathers to get the message through.
Dr Lamb, a criminologist and now a human services management consultant, said her study showed it was most important that children’s voices be heard.
She found that children and young people wanted their fathers to make amends by hearing about their past actions – to acknowledge they had done wrong, recognise the harm caused, and to apologise.
“I actually spent time with children and young people aged nine to 19 years asking them ‘what it’s like having a father using violence, what they would like their fathers to learn if they attended a program to address their violence, and whether they would like to be involved in their fathers' change process’,” Dr Lamb said.
“The message I got from my research is that children really want to undergo reparation with their fathers after violence – both from children who wanted to have nothing further with him, as well as those children who did want to maintain a relationship into the future.
“Either way they did want to go through a process of repair where their father apologised and acknowledged the harm he had caused and made a commitment to changing his behaviour and rebuilding their trust.”
Dr Lamb said the feelings of these children were seldom listened to – and through her research, she discovered that when asked, these children had plenty to say, some of it a harrowing insight into what it was like to fear your father.
Following initial research, Dr Lamb set about giving an opportunity for children’s voices to be heard.
“The children made their messages to fathers into digital stories of about three minutes long,” she said. “They wrote the scripts, they recorded the voice-overs and they picked the music. The digital stories are a really great, practical tool that are now freely available for people running programs for fathers who use violence."
Young people want their violent fathers to make amends, new study finds (The Catholic Leader)