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Fatherhood and Conjugal Violence: Retrospective and Prospective Outlooks

Michel Labarre, Valérie Roy

This article examines the progression of research in the fields of fatherhood and of conjugal violence in order to better understand how the two intersected at the turn of the 20th century. On one hand, research into fatherhood, along with social policies and programs promoting fatherhood, have contributed to a social climate that values paternal engagement. On the other hand, certain research topics on conjugal violence (e.g., the consequences of violence on children) and certain areas of intervention (e.g., youth protection) have raised concerns about the engagement of fathers who exhibit violent behaviours. These factors have gradually led to the social recognition of the issue of fatherhood in situations where conjugal violence is involved and, subsequently, to practical and scientific initiatives in this area. Our analysis brings to light the need to find a balance between support and monitoring with respect to practices and policies related to fatherhood when conjugal violence is involved. It also suggests several avenues of thought with respect to program evaluation and further research.