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July 15, 2008 | Policy Guidance, Practice Guidance

Fathering After Violence: Working with Abusive Fathers in Supervised Visitation


Juan Carlos Arean


Fernando Mederos


Michael Burke

Publication Date:


This guide is intended to assist the grantees of the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program (Supervised Visitation Program or SVP) that want to enhance the safety and well-being of women and children by working more deliberately with abusive fathers who use the centers to visit their children. Although fathers are not always the visiting parents and, in fact, in some centers mothers make up almost half of the visiting caseload, this document was designed to target in particular visiting fathers who have been violent with their intimate partners.

This publication takes as a point of departure the minimum practice standards outlined in the Guiding Principles of the Supervised Visitation Program (Guiding Principles or GP) and builds upon that document to propose a continuum of more advanced interventions for the engagement of abusive fathers in visitation centers. These interventions are based on the learnings from the Fathering After Violence Initiative, developed by the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) and five current and past SVP grantees with funding from the Offi ce of Violence Against Women (OVW).

Fathering After Violence is a national initiative that aims to help end violence against women by motivating men to renounce their abuse and become better fathers (or father figures) and more supportive parenting partners using fatherhood as a leading approach. The work described in this guide is grounded on two key premises: Men who use violence can be held accountable for their behavior and simultaneously be encouraged to change it; and women and children can benefit from this approach.