Journal Article

The Three Planet Model: Towards an Understanding of Contradictions in Approaches to Women and Children's Safety in Contexts of Domestic Violence

Marianne Hester

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 41, issue 5, pages 837-853
Published in print July 2011 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online July 2011 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcr095
The Three Planet Model: Towards an Understanding of Contradictions in Approaches to Women and Children's Safety in Contexts of Domestic Violence

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Despite the development of much positive work by to tackle domestic violence, frustrations are often voiced by social care and other professionals - and echoed in women's and children's experiences - that it can be difficult to ensure and sustain safe outcomes for women and children in circumstances of domestic violence. The article takes as its starting point these frustrations and difficulties, and provides an attempt at understanding some of the systemic problems practitioners may be facing that undermine the effectiveness of their practice. The article explores in particular some of the tensions and contradictions that are evident in professional discourses and practices across work with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence; child protection and safeguarding; and child contact. These three areas of work are especially difficult to bring together into a cohesive and co-ordinated approach because they are effectively on separate ‘planets’ - with their own separate histories, culture, laws, and populations (sets of professionals). The notion of separate ‘planets’ can also be understood in light of what Bourdieu (1989) would call the ‘habitus’ of groups, where the particular structures, orientations and approaches in the work of a professional group may create divides between their own everyday and common place professional assumptions and practices and those of other professional groups. Tackling the ‘three planet problem’, and dealing more effectively with domestic violence as it impacts on adults and children, requires both a unified approach across the separate ‘planet’ areas and acknowledgement of the processes of gendering that are situating women as culpable victims. It requires much closer and coherent practices across the three areas of work, with acknowledgement and understanding of professional assumptions and practices of different professional groups.

Keywords: domestic violence; child protection and safeguarding; child contact

Journal Article.  6673 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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