This article examines the possible impact of separated fathers’ coercive control on their former partners’ mental health, and the apparent differential treatment of mothers’ and fathers’ allegations by family law courts. A small select population of judgments for the period 2013–20 published in the Australasian Legal Information Institute were identified. Each matter contained allegations of both maternal mental health issues and allegations of family violence against the father. The analysis of this sample has shown that the psychological impact of coercive control on mothers tends to be minimised. The courts do appear to acknowledge the potential nexus between controlling behaviour and mental health but give primacy to the impact of coercive control on the mother’s parenting capacity rather than on her mental health. This approach can adversely impact mothers because it can result in a child being placed in a violent father’s care.
|Number of pages||34|
|Journal||Australian Journal of Family Law|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|