Contact with the abusive parent

The big issue for parents who have separated from an abusive person is contact between their child and the child's other parent/step-parent. Before making arrangements, there are some things that should be considered.

Is it safe for the victim or their children to see the other parent? Do the children want to see their other parent? If yes, for how long and how often would be appropriate? Even if it is safe for the child, does the victim feel safe? If the victim doesn't feel safe or doesn't want to see the other parent, the child could see them at the home of someone the victim can trust or at a contact centre.

If the victim and the children feel safe seeing their other parent, where would be a good place to meet? The meeting could be in a place that is neutral and safe (for example, a local park, local outdoor/indoor playground).

If contact stopped but is starting again, how could the victim help the child with this change? Perhaps the victim could take things slowly by having some short visits first.

Is there is a chance that the victim and their child's other parent might argue or fight? Is it likely that the child might feel upset or worried about arguments when they see the two of them together? Having a contact centre or mutual friend to do the handover can sometimes be less confusing and scary for the child.

Very young children will not understand what is going on, but as they get older, the child will probably start to see and talk about the contact visits. It's important to give the child lots of chances to talk about their feelings and to support them and respond to their worries in simple words.

It's important to get further legal advice and/or counselling if there are concerns about the victim or their child's safety.