Financial Oppression in the Context of Parental Separation

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:30 PM
Room: Booth 64
Oral Presentation
Linnea BRUNO , Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Financial oppression in the context of parental separation is a well-known phenomenon among professionals who work in the violence against women domain and among women’s shelter organizations. In research, however, the issue is to a large extent unexplored.  Concepts such as ‘financial abuse’, ‘economic violence’ and ‘economic coercion’ are used to describe actions that are abusive towards partner and children. These actions are nevertheless seldom in forefront of the analysis. How do victimized mothers and children cope with financially (and often in other ways) abusive fathers? Which parts of the separation process seems to open up for financial oppression from one parent towards the other and children? Further, how is this kind of abuse interpreted and handled by the court in disputed family law cases? In this paper, I present and comment on empirical examples from my ongoing dissertation project. The dissertation deals with professional and ideological discourses and practices around children who are exposed and/or subjected to violence in the context of parental separation and family law proceedings in the Swedish welfare state. The empirical base for the preliminary analysis consists of interviews with ten mothers who have experienced financial oppression in the context of separation and of a review of all court orders in disputes on contact, custody, residence and maintenance, from three districts courts in Sweden during 2010 and 2011. Theoretically, I draw foremost from feminist and intersectional perspectives on domestic violence and from childhood studies.