Gendering Risk and Responsibility: Mothering in Violence

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
JaneMaree MAHER, School of Social Sciences, Monash University, Australia
Kate FITZ-GIBBON, School of Social Sciences, Monash University, Australia
Sandra WALKLATE, Professor, United Kingdom
Jude MCCULLOCH, School of Social Sciences, Monash University, Australia
Family violence is globally recognised as a gendered issue with women the primary and predominant victims. There is increasing attention to the impacts on children as victims of such gendered violence and increasing knowledge about the undermining of mothering as key aspect of gendered family violence. In this paper, using data from a recent Australian project exploring adolescent to parent violence and child protection death reviews, we examine how concepts of gendered risk and responsibility intersect when mothers are caring through and in violence. We argue that such punitive responsibilisation should be understood as an extension of the gendered harms of family violence and of the risks that women may face when they disclose family violence. Mothers are more often blamed than supported to take up or carry out their caring when they themselves are experiencing violence. This paper seeks to contribute to contemporary challenges to pre-existing accounts of risk as unitary, by emphasising the centrality of gender in understanding risk.